Thou shall not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn - Deuteronomy 25:4
"God taketh care of oxen," is Paul's comment on this text; and so God did. These pages are filled with tokens of His thought - for the ass that might not be overtaxed by being set to plough with an ox; for the ass or ox which were to be helped up if they had sunk on the road overpowered with their burdens; or for the bird sitting on her nest. Here the ox, as it went around the monotonous tread of the mill, was to be allowed to take a chance mouthful of corn.
The care for dumb creatures is part of our religious duty. It is one of the elements of religion to think for the dumb creatures, who are not able to speak for themselves, but suffer so patiently the accumulated wrongs heaped on them by man. "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." Oh, when will the travail of creation cease! Man's sin has indeed worked woe for the lower orders of creation.
The Apostle used this injunction to remind his converts of the necessity of caring for their spiritual teachers. Some are called to plough, others to thresh; but "he that plougheth should plough in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope" (1Co 9:10). They that serve the altar should live by the altar; and those who proclaim the Gospel should live of the Gospel.
But there is sweet encouragement here for those who are anxious about their daily bread. God takes care for oxen; will He not for you? Shall the oxen browse on the wolds and pasture-lands, and be nourished to fatness, and will He leave to starve the soul that really trusts and serves Him?
Thou shall rejoice in all the good the Lord thy God hath given unto thee. Deu 26:11(R. V.).