Ki Tetzeh Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Psalm 32 is the believer’s life and walk in a nutshell. It begins with David’s declaration: "How blessed are those whose offense is forgiven, those whose sin is covered! How blessed those to whom [ADONAI] imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit!" The Psalm further elaborates on the experience each and every one of us has had as we went through the process of being born again. Sins were realized and we felt miserable as the Ruach HaKodesh and the enemy fought for our souls (Psalm 32:3-4). Then, like David, when we finally surrendered, confessing our transgressions, we found forgiveness, love, mercy, grace, and joy unspeakable and full of glory (verses 5-7, 9-11). Since it is a Maskil, or Psalm of instruction, we learn what to expect in this walk with our Messiah Yeshua. We are also forewarned of pitfalls, and given wise counsel on how to avoid them. One such obstacle is elucidated in verses 8-9.
Psalm 32:8-9 admonishes: ""I will instruct and teach you in this way that you are to go; I will give you counsel; my eyes will be watching you." Don't be like a horse or mule that has no understanding, that has to be curbed with bit and bridle, or else it won't come near you." It is unfortunate that the CJB puts only verse 8 in quotes, when both verses seem to be in the same imperative, or command language, fitting together like hand in glove. That being said, we may infer from the context that verses 8-9 are HaShem speaking, not king David. Verse 8 is comforting in HaShem’s promise to teach us, show us how to walk, and keep vigilant watch over us. In verse 9, though, He issues an admonition not to be stubborn like a horse or mule, which need to be controlled by bit and bridle. Why is this caveat given, and how can we guard our hearts from becoming hardened?
When we first become believers, we are eager to learn how to walk with our Messiah Yeshua, and we are very tender to the touch of the Ruach as He convicts of sin. However, after we’ve been walking for a while, becoming more seasoned, it is all too easy to begin ignoring those nudges from the Ruach, to make excuses for those "little foxes that spoil the vine" (Song of Songs 2:15), and to fall for the lie that we’re more sophisticated than we used to be, no longer needing to worry about whether our hearts are pliable in His Hands. According to Psalm 32:9, we must be ever vigilant in keeping our hearts tender toward HaShem. If we aren’t, we will become hardened like the horse or mule, and it will take more drastic measures to get our attention. As we continue in this season of introspection and repentance during the month of Elul, let us ask the Ruach HaKodesh to soften our hearts. When He does, let us be quick to respond to Him as He brings us to Messiah Yeshua anew. As it is written: "For G-d is not so unfair as to forget your work and the love you showed for him in your past service to his people- and in your present service too. However, we want each one of you to keep showing the same diligence right up to the end, when your hope will be realized; so that you will not become sluggish, but will be imitators of those who by their trust and patience are receiving what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:10-12) Let us rediscover the joy of our salvation and our First Love (Psalm 51:14; Revelation 2:4-5).