Signs sometimes create more questions than they answer.  Were I to ask you which driving regulations were most important for the interstate/highway, you might list:

  • Obey the speed limit and keep up with the traffic
  • Slow down in road construction
  • Don’t drive under the influence
  • Look out for motorcyclists
  • Use your blinker when changing lanes
  • Respect police cars, both those pulled over and in traffic
  • Give disabled vehicles wide berth

The one rule I can almost guarantee you wouldn’t mention is this: Animals are prohibited whether ridden, driven or led.  And yet numerous times I have seen this very rule posted on a sign on a US highway. 

Isn’t it stating the obvious?  Interstates are designed for getting from Point A to Point B quickly. Apparently those riding a horse, driving cattle or leading a flock also want to get from Point A to Point B in a streamlined fashion, necessitating a sign to prohibit them.

Signs sometimes create more questions than they the interstate sign announcing "North 95 to South 295" located close to where I grew up.  It calls for a context, doesn’t it? It calls for an understanding of where on the map you actually are. 

This is a lot like life. 

Sometimes we find ourselves having no inkling of how we wound up in a particular predicament. We feel stymied, stalemated, squelched or squeamish.  And somehow our conscience whispers, “Your choices led you here.”

“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you,” says the Psalmist David.  

This strongly worded admonition is surprisingly hidden among the amazing Psalm 32 - a psalm about the willingness of God to forgive.  Two sides are contrasted vibrantly. Those “wasting away”, “sapped of strength” and “groaning all day long” are the ones who do not understand how willing God is to pardon.  They say with David, “I kept silent.” Silent about what? 

The whole tenor of the psalm changes the minute David says, “I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.”   Now are mentioned “songs of deliverance”, “a loving eye” and “a hiding place.” We are furthermore told, “The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.”

But what did we trust Him with?  The truth that we screwed up?!?  Is that what we were silent about that kept us in such turmoil?

Yes!!!  You can trust your admission of wrong-doing to God. He’s God, so He knows it anyway.  Why run the opposite direction at full gallop hiding your shame and carrying your weighted-down spirit?  Why be like that horse that has no understanding of God's loving character?

Don’t be like a mule.  Have it out with God!  Don’t keep silent anymore…and leave with a lighter heart. Here; take this. Read the promises of Psalm 32 for yourself.


Psalm 32


Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.


Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.


When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.


For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.


Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.


Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.


You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.


I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.


Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.


Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.


Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!