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  • Writer's pictureBrian Eaton

Will You Be Instructed? (Psalm 32:8 [9])

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. [⁹Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.] —Psalm 32:8 [9]

I had the privilege of coaching girls and boys basketball for many years. I’ve coached first-time players all the way through high school, and even my son’s wheelchair basketball team (pictured above). As a coach I wore many hats, but my central job was instructing my players. I wanted them to learn and apply new skills, from basketball fundamentals to more complex offensive plays and defensive schemes. The goal was not to win every game, but to help them progress in their abilities and, even more importantly, to grow in godly character.

Early on I learned that the players’ reactions to my instruction varied greatly, from the ones who couldn’t get enough instruction and tapped out my coaching abilities, to those who had no interest in any of my instruction. That experience helps me to see something bigger and more beautiful in this passage.

The Instructors

I was a small-time basketball player who became a dad and, with limited knowledge, began coaching. Compare that to the Creator who spoke the world into existence, whose knowledge is unmeasurable. The perfect God knows everything about us: our weaknesses and strengths, and what motivates and discourages us. This God is our instructor, our teacher, our counselor. God, through His Word, is teaching us how to live and who we are to be.

The Way

I love basketball and love to see a player growing in the sport, but it pales in comparison to growing in God’s way–to being transformed and living a life that is joyful, fruitful, and pleasing to the Lord. This applies broadly to all areas of our life, but the focus of Psalm 32 is how we respond to our sin. The psalmist tells us how he confessed and did not cover his sins (v. 5). His two-fold counsel warns us what will happen if we keep our sins hidden and unconfessed: we will groan and waste away (vv. 3-4). This psalm shows that if you acknowledge your sins and confess them to God, He will forgive you (v. 5) and bless you (vv. 1-2).

Verse 9 likens those who reject God’s instruction and counsel to beasts who cannot reason. We who are made in God's image can read this psalm, take it to heart, and obey. We are not animals, but apart from God's grace we are doomed by sin to act like them. May we heed the call to the blessed life of eager confession and willing obedience.


For Reflection

  1. Is God using this passage to give you the courage to confess a hidden sin?

  2. What is the right response to God for His personal instruction and loving counsel?

  3. The Bible is God’s instruction book–it contains His commands for us and others. Who can you encourage to embrace God’s instruction?


Brian Eaton is director of operations for Truth78. He enjoys teaching children and youth in the classroom and he seeks to encourage Bible memorization through the Fighter Verses Program.


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