Deuteronomy 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn.
The grain was heaped on the threshing floor, and oxen were used to trample the grain until the stalks were broken up and the husks about the grain were torn off. Sometimes the oxen would pull a drag, the bottom being studded with stones, over the grain until it was threshed. After this, the mixture of chaff and grain was winnowed by tossing it up in the air so that the wind would blow away the chaff.
During the process of threshing, the ox was not muzzled. He was allowed to reach down and eat some of the grain while he worked. As usual there are hidden truths here for us. The apostle Paul refers to this passage of Scripture and reveals the mystery of it in his epistle to the Corinthians.
I Corinthians 9:9-10 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not
muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn. Does God take care for
10 Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plows should plow in hope; and that he that threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
It was not the ox that God was so concerned about, but those who are plowing and threshing for the Lord. Those who are laboring for God are allowed to be partakers of the fruit of their labors. Paul refers again to Deuteronomy 25:4 in his epistle to Timothy.
I Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the Word and doctrine.
18 For the scripture says, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.
While Moses was speaking of the ox, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn, the Lord was speaking of the ministers of the Word. Those who labor in the Word are Godís oxen. The apostolic company in Ephesians 4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) is an oxen company. They are threshing the wheat, ministering a living Word that divides between soul and spirit. For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is
plenteous, but the laborers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.
What was true then is even truer now. The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. We need oxen who know how to thresh the wheat, ministries that are able to break away the chaff from the corn in the ear. Pray for the oxen that are needed; pray for God to send forth laborers into His harvest. There is a pure corn of wheat in the church, but the religious husks surrounding it need to be broken away. Godís people need to be set free from the soul-realm of religiosity that they may worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). The circumcision are those who have had their soul-flesh cut away so that they can worship in the Spirit. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3.
It is not enough to carry the title of apostle or prophet or evangelist or pastor or teacher. We must be true oxen, laborers together with God. For we are laborers together with God: you are Godís husbandry, you are Godís building. I Corinthians 3:9. We have true apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in todayís church. The most important, or course, are the apostles and prophets. And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophetsÖ I Corinthians 12:28. There are also false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There are true oxen and false oxen. The Shepherd (the Lord Jesus Christ) and His flock (oxen) will minister the judgments of God upon the false oxen; Babylon will be exposed and destroyed. I will also break in pieces with you (the true oxen) the shepherd and his flock (the false); and with you I will break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen (false oxen); and with you will I break in pieces captains and rulers. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 51:23-24. Letís take a look at one more scripture.
Proverbs 14:4 Where no oxen are the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
Recently I was speaking to a pastor in one of the local churches of this area, and I was telling him that God was raising up apostles and prophets to bring the church into maturity. His response was, ďNo! I donít believe that. There are no apostles or prophets today. They were for the Early Church and are not needed today.Ē Regardless of his opinion, they are very much needed. Where no oxen are, the crib is clean. Where there are no oxen, there is no spiritual food. There will be no wheat in Godís barn without the ministry of oxen.
Let both grow together (the wheat and the tares) until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn. Matthew 13:30. The oxen have a two-fold ministry. They will minister the judgments of God upon the tares, the oxen of Babylon, binding them in bundles to be burned, and they will gather the wheat into Godís barn. The oxen will deliver Godís people from this present age into His Kingdom, according to the will of God and our Father (Galatians 1:4).
Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose