An ox and a donkey were 2 modes of transportation in ancient civilizations. An ox could pull more weight and endure longer distances. A donkey carried you to your destination more quickly. They were both needed for different purposes. But they couldn’t work together.
Deuteronomy 22:10, “Don’t plow with an ox and a donkey together.” The Message
In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul instructed believers to marry believers. Marriage is like being yoked together.
2 Corinthians 6:14, “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark?” The Message
An ox and a donkey yoked together is a good picture of being unequally yoked in marriage. The donkey has to go wherever the ox wants because it is weaker. The ox has to carry more of the load than necessary and works himself to death.
Life is hard. Every marriage will go through the fire.
“Steel is the product of iron plus fire. …In the same way, the development of human character requires the plus attached to it, for great character is made not through luxurious living but with suffering. …the very things they now rebel against are the instruments He has used to perfect their character…” Courtland Myers, “Streams in the Desert,” December 2
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“Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer for the roots of character. The great objective of this life of character, for it is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity.” Austin Phelps, “Streams in the Desert,” December 2
Some of the strongest marriages come from the deepest trials: the loss of a child, catastrophic events, debilitating sickness, bankruptcy. Other marriages implode at the first one. “I didn’t sign up for this,” they say.
Yes, you did.
You vowed: “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death parts us.”
“To cherish” is loving and nurturing someone who can’t love you back. We all have times where our spouse carries everything because we physically cannot. But those times are temporary. We can’t let our spouse do everything permanently.
I’m guilty. We all are.
But then we are like the ox and the donkey. The Bible had another name for donkeys. When we don’t share the load equally, that is what we become.
God designed marriages to be rich. An intimacy that we share with no other. The only one who “gets me.” The one who knows my deepest faults and failures and cherishes me in spite of them.
“When you think about it, you can be rich in one of two ways: either in how much you have, or in how little you want. …Many financial experts say credit is the motivating factor for perhaps 80 percent of all divorces….” The Word for You Today, 12-2-18
The most important thing is that we pull together. We must go in the same direction.
“…hopeless debt is like a deep pit into which one may descend quickly and where one may struggle vainly for many days. It is a pit of sorrow and regrets where the brightness of the sun is overcast and night is made unhappy by restless sleeping.” “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason
Marriage is a 3-strand rope. The third partner is God. He guides us through difficult paths. Sometimes coaxing and sometimes prodding. When we follow God’s leading, we are unstoppable.
I have to ask David – am I an ox, sharing the load in our marriage? Or, am I donkey?
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