Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.  For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah  I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah  Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.  You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.  Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32 ESV)
Instructions in Repentance: Don’t Be a Donkey
David gives clear, pointed instructions to all who will pay attention in this section of verses (6-9). He first calls on people to pray to God (6), then to rest in his protection of them, in answer to their prayers (7). The language of rushing waters suggests enemies or judgement, much like Jesus in Matthew 7. He then speaks as if speaking for God, who is sovereignly, lovingly watching over his people (8), and warns them not to be stubborn in their lack of repentance.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
John Piper is a Great Story Teller
Piper’s illustration about this point is perfect, and so I wanted to share it with you.
“Maybe we should try to picture God’s people as a farmyard of all sorts of animals. God cares for his animals, he shows them where they need to go, and supplies a barn for their protection. But there is one beast on this animal farm that gives God an awful time, namely, the mule. He’s stupid and he’s stubborn and you can’t tell which comes first—stubbornness or stupidity.
Now the way God likes to get his animals into the barn for their food and shelter is by teaching them all a personal name and then calling them by name. “I will instruct you and teach you the way that you should go.” But the mule will not respond to that sort of direction. He is without understanding. So God gets in his pick-up truck and goes out in the field, puts the bit and bridle in the mule’s mouth, hitches it to the truck, and drags him stiff-legged and snorting all the way into the barn.
That is not the way God wants his animals to come to him for blessing. One of these days it is going to be too late for that mule. He’s going to get clobbered with hail and struck by lightening and when he comes running the barn door is going to be shut. Therefore, don’t be like the mule, but instead let everyone who is godly come to God in prayer at a time when he may be found.”