Don’t Be Like A Donkey – Psalm 32:9a
By Dennis Love
David instructs us in Psalm 32:9a; “To not be as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding.” It’s interesting to study the Bible to see how often God uses animals to teach us spiritual truths. He says in Proverbs 6:6; “Go to the ant and consider her ways.” An ant is an example of hard work. Did you know that ants can lift fifty times their own weight? If I could do that I could lift 9,000 pounds. WOW, The Bible also instructs us to learn from the rabbit. Even though the rabbit is feeble, it will build his home in the rocks or the ground. The rabbit, being weak and defenseless against larger animals, must use wisdom in building his home in safe places. God holds up the rabbit in His Word for us as an example of wisdom. Jesus said; “Behold the fowls of the air.” Why? Because they teach us to trust God for our daily provisions. Jesus also advises us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in Matthew 10:16.
But here in Psalm 32:9, we are told NOT to be like the mule. The one trait that we commonly connect with a mule or a donkey is one of stubbornness. David is simply warning us against stubbornly refusing to obey the Lord.
One of my heroes is the late Amos Alonzo Stagg. He coached football at the University of Chicago until he was 70 years old. Then he moved to The College of the Pacific where he coached for another 14 years. He was then 84 years old. A guy named Eddie LeBaron, the first quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, was the last All-American athlete to play under Coach Stagg. When Coach Stagg retired from The College of the Pacific, he joined his son’s coaching staff for another six years, until he was 90 years old. Then he coached one more year, as a junior college assistant, finally retiring at the age of 91.
Early in his life, Coach Stagg, a devout Presbyterian, felt called into the ministry, but feeling that he was unsuited for the pulpit, he went into coaching. He said, “My ministry is to the young men of America.” As a Christian, Coach Stagg never used profanity. The worst word he ever used was jackass. If a player messed up he would call him a jackass. If he really messed up he would call him a “double jackass.” If he did really, really badly, he called him a “triple jackass.” When there was extreme provocation he would call the unfortunate player “the king of all jackasses.” His players said he never left the practice field with humans on it. He always left the entire squad grazing.
Sarah Churchill told in her book Keep on Dancing that her father Winston once commented to her that we had, to a large extent, succeeded in the civilized world in erasing the lion and the tiger from the human soul. But we had not succeeded in removing the donkey.
What about you? All of us are occasionally accused of acting like a donkey. Sometimes the charges are justified. I know I’m guilty. How are we to respond to those charges? Someone put it like this: Solitary shots should be ignored, but when they come from several directions, it’s time to pay attention. If one person calls you a donkey, ignore them. If two call you a donkey, check for hoof-prints. If three call you a donkey, find a saddle! David’s warning to us is clear. “Don’t have a stubborn and rebellious spirit. Don’t force God to drive you and chasten you into doing what is right. In other words, it’s better to be an ant, a rabbit, a bird, a serpent, or a dove than to be a donkey! To me, that’s something for us all to think about!
Dr. Dennis Love is the Senior Pastor at Glenwood Baptist Church in Marion, NC. He and his wife Vicki have been married for 39 years. They have been in Marion for 5 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren. You can visit the Glenwood Baptist Church Facebook page or The Glenwood Baptist Church Website
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