Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Matthew Chapter 11 part 2

In Chapter 11:28-30, Jesus says; " come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, My burden is light."

Last year when Kirk, Hannah and I went to the fair, I was walking around by myself while Kirk and Hannah were on one of their hour long carousel riding sessions. I came across a crowd of people sitting on a set of bleachers set up in a half circle. In the center was a small elderly woman with a small switch that looked like she had taken it from a young tree and pulled all the leaves off. Standing calmly next to her, in the middle of the half circle, was an enormous team of yoked oxen. The oxen were less that 6 feet from the crowd of people watching her demonstration . She had no ropes on them. No apparent way to stop them if they decided to run away or charge. I am used to horses. There is no way in the setting like the fair, that you could take a horse anywhere without a halter and a lead line. As I walked by I was shocked at the sight of these huge animals standing so near the crowd of people . The scene seemed surreal. I stopped to look and hear what the woman was saying. She was teaching the crowd about oxen. She was explaining her team and how her large ox on the right was her "old soul". She said that when she put a team together, she would look for an "old soul" to be her lead ox. This ox would be large, steady and even tempered even from it's youth. The oxen teams were usually put together when they were calves.  The woman was showing us, as part of her demonstration, how she controlled them with the small stick she held in her hand. I was absolutely amazed. What was amazing to me was the size and temperament of her animals.She was the master of this oxen team. They followed her calmly to and from the demonstration.

I've since done some research on oxen. They are quiet animals, which means, they do not excite easily.
They are intelligent, patient, consistent and able to bear heavy burdens for long periods of time .
If they have a master, and they are equally yoked, they are very willing to work for 10 to 12 hours a day. 

The yokes for oxen are still made by hand. They are carved from wood and shaped to fit each individual oxen  within the team. The yokes are carefully crafted, shaped, carved and sanded, repeatedly as the oxen grow and  mature.  The master doesn't want the oxen to be sore or chaffed from his work.  
After becoming aware of all of this information about oxen I find verses 28-30 in Chapter 11 to be amazing and incredible. Jesus is likening himself to the "old Soul" in an oxen team. He is saying that He is strong, steady, and patient. He is saying that the master will shape the yokes of our lives perfectly to fit us. Jesus is saying that He will shoulder the load of our lives. He will take us the way we should go if we will get in the yoke with Him. 
The old soul in an oxen team is the leader, he keeps his team member on the straight path, he gives the confidence to keep going, to keep working. 

One account I read was written by a man and a woman who train oxen teams. They had a team who had been together for a number of years. The lead ox was injured in one of his hind legs and had to be put down. The remaining ox wandered aimlessly, and hopelessly ran at anything that moved. They had to put down the remaining team member because he couldn't function without his "old soul".

One of the most important things that the Lord has shown me in these verses, is that not one word in the bible is  by chance. It wasn't by chance that He uses the example of oxen and a yoke in these verses. He could not have used other words here and given us the same meaning. The Lord's word is so purposeful. So amazing. 
One more thing about the oxen and their yokes. When they are yoked together they have to stay very close . Sometimes their massive bodies are actually touching as they work. They are always within inches of each other.
God bless you girls, read more, get closer. 


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