Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Donkey and the Ox

January 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Today's Devotion

“The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:3)

As I was reading this verse, I burst into tears. “Am I less than an ox, Lord, when I fail to recognize You as my Master or lower than a donkey when I reject your Word as my life-sustainer? Lord, help me – Lord, forgive me!”

I was driven to look at some commentaries on this scripture and what I learned wasn’t easy to swallow. Let me paraphrase some of it for you.

The comparison in this verse is to show the gross ingratitude of God’s people. The ox, a well-known domestic animal, is remarkable for patient willingness to work—it’s also known for submission to its owner. This is how the “ox knows his master” … it is not the brightest animal in God’s creation, but it’s smart enough to be submissive to its owner. Isaiah compared the ox to Israel—even the ox knows to obey. Israel does not know how to submit.

As “dumb” as a donkey is (KJV translates it as “ass”), it knows where to find food, where to grow fat. The donkey, as dumb as it is, has sufficient knowledge to understand that his provision comes from his master, that his master also offers protection and comfort. The donkey knows enough not to wander away.

Isaac Watts wrote:

The brutes obey their God,
And bow their necks to men;
But we more base, more brutish things,
Reject His easy reign

Read today’s verse again … “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”

How long will we continue to be rebellious against our “Owner”, unwilling to work, resisting change, refusing His nourishment, etc? How long will we continue to struggle with obedience? We say we love the Lord and yet we forget that to know Him is to love Him; to love Him is to obey Him. How can we claim to know our Master if we cannot obey His Word? Obedience is the key to knowing God, to living in the flow of His blessings, and to fulfilling our destiny.

Let’s learn our lesson from the donkey and the ox. Let’s submit to our Master, follow His lead, and no longer resist His instruction which leads to provision, protection, and comfort. Amen!

Lord, I choose to learn from the ox and the donkey. I choose to recognize You as my Master and to accept Your Word as my life-sustainer. Lord, feed me at Your table and nourish me through Your Word. Your Word tells me that You have already provided everything that pertains to life and Godliness … help me to run to Your Word to find what I need. Help me to remember this verse, Lord, every time I choose to rebel against Your Word. Transform me, Lord, change my heart, O God, and renew me through Your Word. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen and amen!

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

© Jan Ross
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