Today's passage:II Samuel 8
"And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots."
I had no idea what it meant to hough a horse. Fortunately, my study Bible provided a definition, and then using the handy-dandy internet, I was able to look up some more information. Houghing meant to cut the hamstrings. In a horse, this would hamper its ability to run at full speed. Most articles I read claimed that houghing would cripple the horse, but obviously that wasn't so since David used them to drive chariots. I also read that you never want to approach a horse from behind. Instinctually, a horse will kick anyone who comes at him from behind. This is because animals who would prey on a horse will get him by the neck and by the hamstring to disable him.
David used some of these horses for battle. Some of them he used for his own personal pleasure. I'm not sure how he determined which horse would do what, but I know that it was necessary to "hamstring" them (as we call it today) to be certain they could properly perform their duties. How does that apply in my life? Lately, I've felt a little hamstrung. This is because God has been teaching me a new way to think. I've already written about how God has been dealing with me on family issues. I had been putting everyone else first, thinking I was serving God, and putting my family and particularly my husband last. My housework was never getting done, my husband (who never complains or gripes at me) was silently bearing my gripes and complaints because of my frustrations at never getting everything done. My children were used to walking on crummy floors, waiting for wet underwear to finish in the dryer because Mommy was behind on laundry, searching for any school supplies buried under bills and papers. This has been my life. And I've hated it. It is not that I'm not organized. It is just that I had neglected my duties at home for so long that everything kept piling up. I wasn't trying to neglect them, I just was running around doing everything else that I left little time to do things here. I just kept thinking, well, the housework will always be there. And will always be there. And will always be there. And it still is here. But the problem is now I am playing catch up. Now I'm having to train my children to do better. Now they are bewildered by my orders to put the shoes away or hang up their coats or clear the table. They just left all that before and Mommy didn't seem to mind. Actually, Mommy always minded but when there was so much to be done, it didn't seem like those little things would make much difference. I'm making new habits. But it has meant not running around doing everything for everyone else. It doesn't mean that I will not help out with other things. But it means that I must make time to keep my family in order. It has been difficult for me. Whenever I see a need, I want to fill it. But my family needs me too.
This is why I say I have felt that God has cut my hamstrings. But this isn't a bad thing. I mean, He really could have slowed me down in a physical way if He had wanted to. He has shown me the error of my ways, and I am learning to slow down myself instead of God putting some kind of physical impairment in my path to force me. He could hamstring me, or He could let an enemy do that. Since an enemy would only do this to harm or destroy me, I think I would prefer to let God do it. Also, David used some of those houghed horses to drive his own chariots. If they were still running wild, hamstrings intact, it would have been difficult for them to serve him. This is how I have to view my limited mobility in serving others. It is not that I can't still do that, but I need to stop being the wild stallion who gallops off in every direction, unwilling to be tamed. I have had to be domesticated. It is the tamed horses that David chose to drive his chariot. Instead of bemoaning this process, I am trying to embrace it, realizing that God is still working with and in me. He may have me going at a slower pace, but I am still moving in the right direction. Some of those hamstrung horses were warriors. Some of them were David's escorts. Right now, I feel like the escort horse instead of the warrior horse. But when I'm ready, when my family is ready, I can go out onto the battlefield again. For now, I'm content to stay bridled to God's chariot and let Him take the reins.