Dr. Dave Burnette
Deuteronomy 25 - Don't Muzzle the Ox
1If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. 2And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. 3Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee. 4Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. 5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. 6And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. 8Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; 9Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. 10And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed. 11When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: 12Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. 13Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. 14Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. 15But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 16For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. 17Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; 18How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. 19Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.
Today's Scripture Meaning
Extent of punishment. (1-3) The ox that treadeth the corn. (4) Marriage of a brother's wife. (5-12) Of unjust weights. (13-16) War against Amalek. (17-19) Verses 1-3: Every punishment should be with solemnity, that those who see it may be filled with dread, and be warned not to offend in like manner. And though the criminals must be shamed as well as put to pain, for their warning and disgrace, yet care should be taken that they do not appear totally vile. Happy those who are chastened of the Lord to humble them, that they should not be condemned with the world to destruction. Verse 4: This is a charge to husbandmen. It teaches us to make much of the animals that serve us. But we must learn, not only to be just, but kind to all who are employed for the good of our better part, our souls, (1Co 9:9). Verses 5-12: The custom here regulated seems to have been in the Jewish law in order to keep inheritances distinct; now it is unlawful. Verses 13-16: Dishonest gain always brings a curse on men's property, families, and souls. Happy those who judge themselves, repent of and forsake their sins, and put away evil things, that they may not be condemned of the Lord. Verses 17-19: Let every persecutor and injurer of God's people take warning from the case of the Amalekites. The longer it is before judgement comes, the more dreadful will it be at last. Amalek may remind us of the foes of our souls. May we be enabled to slay all our lusts, all the corruptions both within and without, all the powers of darkness and of the world, which oppose our way to the blessed Saviour.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 25 and we see the important principles for discipline, the carrying on of a family name, and what catches my attention verse 4 that explains the to not muzzle the ox when he treadith out the Corn. This principle describes the ox that grids the corn and grinds the flower but is muzzled and cannot feed himself even though he is doing the labor. In making application we see some that are serving the Lord today are facing this challenge of being muzzled. I see many Pastors of small Churches are denied a wage as are many workers that labor hard for their employer. These labors are not make a wage to support their family. Many approach the area of usury of others which the Lord describes as a sin. It reminds me of a Pastor I knew whose Church refused to pay him a wage while having plenty in the treasury. He had a small family and worked a full time job during the week then was expected to perform all the duties of the Pastorate. The Church ended up voting him out due to him not visiting the all the sick but what they did is muzzle the ox that God gave them to meet their spiritual needs. If they had followed this principle in our text they would have had the Pastor they needed. In making application we need to pay our Pastors and Ministers a decent wage. Many think that Preachers work only one day but I can testify that Ministers work more than lay people. With all the study, prayer, visits, and contacts I average 48 hours a week on this Ministry. Add to that a family and a business and you can see it that it is truly a calling but to Me and other Ministers who serve the Lord it is a labor of love. Many would and do work for free because it is a labor of love but it is the Churches responsibility to take care of Pastor. How about you and your Pastor or Minister? Make sure you meet their financial needs. Let us learn from today's text and not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.