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You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, such as wool and linen mixed together. (Deuteronomy 22:10-11)

Once again we have instructions that, on the surface, might leave us wondering why Moses felt it necessary to address this particular issue. However, as we have seen many times before, there is nothing superfluous in the Scripture — everything has a purpose and a lesson to convey. For instance, in the command not to yoke an ox with a donkey there is an important principle that has application to our lives today.

Not only do the two animals differ in nature, but they also differ in size and, consequently, strength. If they were yoked together, the stronger of the two, the ox, would consistently cause the donkey, the weaker of the two, to stumble. Therefore, it is never a good idea for believers to be yoked to someone who is an unbeliever, especially with the notion that, somehow, we can pull them up to where we are. It almost always turns out the other way.

There is a similar lesson to be gleaned from the prohibition against wearing a blended garment of wool and linen. Wool, obviously, comes from sheep which connects to spiritual themes; for instance, righteous Abel was a “keeper of sheep.” On the other hand, linen comes from a plant that grows from the earth which, in turn, connect earthy or carnal themes — Cain was a tiller of the ground. To wear something that is mixed in this way alludes to mingling the spiritual with the carnal — something God tells us to avoid.

The point of both commands is to remind us, yet again, that we are not to be unequally yoked with corruptive influences, whether it be a worldly mindset or a worldly person. In either scenario, the believer risks being polluted with carnality and dragged into behavior that is unbecoming as a follower of Messiah. Therefore, let us remember the admonition given to us by Paul:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Messiah with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

Blessings and Shalom,  




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