About a year ago when the Lord revealed to me the truth about the meaning of the ‘donkey’ in His Word He also spoke about the ‘ox’. Those are two animals that are key in the Word of God and mentioned many times. As we continue to receive His constant showering of grace (unmerited favor) our veil is completely removed so that we can see the fullness of Jesus and His finished work in the Word (2 Corinthians 3). This is specially true in reading the Old Testament under the new covenant of grace. The Lord opens our eyes to the truth that He hid in His word. Truth that can only be revealed by the Spirit as His Word is spirit and life. As we read in Faith Part 2: Redeem Your Donkey With A Lamb the donkey is your measure of faith that Jesus Christ redeemed. For the ox all the Lord said was to look to His Word as a meaning to what the ox represents. I couldn’t quite understand, so I didn’t speak or write about it. If the meaning of the ox was His Word then not all passages that mentioned the ox made sense. I simply left it alone knowing that God had some awesome truths that revealed more of Jesus hidden in these passages. A year past and just last week Ryan a brother in Christ wrote what the Lord had shown Him about the ox. He has a blog called Revelation of Grace Ministries where he unveils Jesus and the fullness of His grace in the word. His post on this topic can be found at http://revograce.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/deuteronomy22-10/. He mentioned that the ox is self effort/self righteousness. And just like that the answer to the full meaning of the ox. What the Lord spoke to me about and what the Lord spoke to Ryan about put together represents the full meaning of the ox. The ox is reading/speaking/praying/meditating/preaching the Word of God.
And that is why Deuteronomy 22:10 says 10 “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. God doesn’t want us living in self righteousness. He doesn’t want our effort in reading and praying the Word to be linked to our measure of faith. Because under this mentality we make Christ of no effect (Galatians 5:4) living as though our faith is because of our self effort. Not knowing that we are given our measure of faith because Jesus redeemed it and not because of our self effort. Like Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. The church has taught ‘read your Bible and pray every day and you’ll grow in faith’, putting the emphasis on your efforts. This puts the free gift of God under the law and of no effect. Believers live either boasting in their self efforts in reading the Word and praying or under condemnation because of their lack of effort to read the Word and pray. They equate their effort in reading the Word and praying to having great faith or little faith. But faith is not something that can be merited or grown. Every person that believes in Jesus Christ has received the perfect faith that Jesus redeemed for us, it is not based on our efforts. Jesus addressed this in Luke 17:5-10 when the disciples asked Him to increase their faith. Jesus responded by telling them all they need is the faith of a mustard seed and then telling them the story of the servant plowing the field. He told them that this servant was not rewarded or even thanked for doing the work that he was commanded to do. Then He says in verse 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” Jesus tells them two main things about faith. Faith cannot be increased, mustard seed faith is enough because whatever He redeems is perfectly redeemed, you cannot add anything to it. And also to not think that the things/efforts that they do will warrant them more from God. To be just like the servant in the story, to do the things which they are commanded and call themselves unprofitable servants. He is pointing them to His grace, in the new covenant everything from God is covered by His grace (unmerited favor). Everything must point to Jesus and His finished work and none to us and our efforts. We cannot tie our donkey (faith) with the ox (reading/praying the Word). We cannot put His blood aside and try to merit what His finished work accomplished.
In the story of Job we see the effects of self righteousness. In the first verse of Job he is called “blameless and upright”. God had a hedge around Job protecting him, his family and all of his possessions and God had blessed the work of his hands. But Job believed incorrectly, he believed more in self righteousness than in God’s goodness and gift of righteousness. Job 1:5 5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. He did this regularly thinking that it was his sacrifices (self righteousness) that kept him in right standing with God. When in fact it was the goodness of God that kept him blameless and upright. The biggest deception from the enemy is to have us move from His grace and come under the law. To live a life being self righteous and trying to be justified by the law. To believe that we receive from God based on our efforts (how much we pray, read the Bible, tithe…) instead of receiving based on Jesus’ perfect finished work. Because falling from grace and coming under the law (trying to be justified by the law and receive based on our works) makes Jesus of no effect in our lives (Galatians 5:4). Many believers struggle with this type of believing, trying to receive based on merit. But all this does is make the finished work of Jesus of no effect in their lives. We see evidence of Job’s self righteousness in Job 1:14. The Holy Spirit starts the account of all of the terrible things that happen to Job with the following 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, The next verses talk about how Job lost everything, his property, his wealth, his children and his health. Young’s Literal Translation says 14And a messenger hath come in unto Job and saith, ‘The oxen have been plowing, and the she-asses feeding by their sides, Job was living trying to be justified by his self efforts in the things of God, trying to earn His own righteousness. In other words fallen from grace and made the Lord become of no effect in His life. The Holy Spirit shows us this by saying that Job had the ox and the donkey beside each other, his faith was based on his effort. Living in self righteousness opened the door to the enemy stealing everything from him. It was only after Elihu spoke to Job condemning self righteousness that Job’s life turned around. And the Lord restored and blessed his latter days more than his beginning – Job 42:12
In Deuteronomy 22:4 it says 4 “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them up again.” On the surface this verse seems like it’s just a good thing to do, to help your neighbor. But the deeper spiritual meaning of this is; if you see your fellow believer in Christ no longer believing in Jesus and living by His measure of faith (represented by the fallen donkey) help him lift it back up. Help him point His believing back to Jesus and live by His measure of faith that Christ redeemed for him. And if you see your fellow believer in Christ no longer speaking/praying/reading the Word (represented by the fallen ox) help him lift it back up. Help him get back into the Word. You can tell when a believer is no longer in the Word of God by the way they speak. So when a fellow believer speaks negative about a situation (they speak the knowledge of the world rather than the truth of the Word) and is without hope point them back to the Word of God that is spirit and life. The gospel of grace is all about pointing people to Jesus.
In Isaiah 32:20 it says 20 Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey. This is a wonderful verse that gives us a clear picture of sowing. We know that what is sown is the Word of God. Jesus explains this in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18-23. And God has revealed that water represents knowledge (Water in the world is simply knowledge without power and only leads to sin and death. But water from Jesus Christ is truth and full of spirit and life.) And we know that as per Revelations 17:15 this worldly knowledge is in peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. This verse in Isaiah is talking about all waters, all peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. This verse is saying blessed are you who sow the Word of God, His Word of righteousness and truth beside all knowledge (all peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues). And that sowing of the Word is sending out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey. In other words sowing the word is sending out your reading/speaking/praying/meditating/preaching the Word of God and your measure of faith besides all peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues. To reach the world with His gospel of grace, the fullness of His Son Jesus Christ.