2nd February 2012

Honouring The World Of God

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine.  For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’ and ‘The labourer is worthy of his wages.’”
1 Timothy 5:17-18 

The principle of fair play written into ancient Israel’s social code is illustrated by the command not to muzzle the oxen when they work hard treading the grain.  The above scripture was quoted from Deuteronomy 25:4.  First Corinthians 9:9 shows us that these principles apply to people as well when he says, “Is it oxen God is concerned about?” 

Timothy continues the emphasis of Deuteronomy 24:15 by including the relevance of fair play to the well being of each other.  Concerning paying labourers fairly and in good time, you could say this includes us as a very part of the nature around us.  We and nature are created as a seamless whole. 

Think for a moment about those labourers who work for us and are “worthy of their hire”. Don’t they bear up under the load like a trusting ox? Since God cares enough about his creation to register our cruel treatment of animals, dare we ignore the honest needs and wants of those people we are responsible for? 

This modest command is a timely reminder that none of us gets something for nothing. This life of ours is so fragile and needy we simply must put something back without delay even as the work process continues. 

The splendid isolation of this altruistic command, among all the heavy regulation of Deuteronomy 25, exposes at its core, the Creator’s redemptive work with men. Not only does he want us to be at peace with him but also at one with the rest of creation. We acheive this not by sentimental yearning for better times long gone though; rather by diligent searching for good in others, and  by doing good to them. In this, God is always an active partner with us. 

The command also pictures our right standing with God in that if we will follow his method, he will take care of us. As we slip the halter over the ox, careful not to exploit the animal unduly, so God slips his bridle over our stormy pride, greed and ambition. 

In Psalm 23 we read how David was led by God to truly honour him (verse 3). To take on his kindly yoke and work thankfully with him is regarded as high praise by God. 

Creator of all, we honour you as you teach us the principle of fair play through your love expressed to all of your creation.  Help us to honour the work of your hand and emulate your love through your spirit in us.


Study by Dick Miller

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