What do oxen, Roman prisoners, and milkmaids have to do with Revival?
40 Days of Increase | Day 34
–by Pastor Don Weeks, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
There is one item with which oxen, Roman prisoners and milkmaids are intimately acquainted. It is this item that is a vital component of true revival. In the case of the oxen, this item represents domestication. In the case of the Roman prisoner, this item means complete subjugation. In the example of the milkmaid, it represents hard work, since the milkmaid carries milk, a precious and delicious substance. And, in the case of the milkmaid, this item probably gave rise to a term of derision and sneering. Have you ever heard the term, country yokel? Even Wikipedia defines the term as, “one of several derogatory terms referring to the stereotype of unsophisticated country people.”
Have you guessed the item and theme of today’s devotion? The item employed by the milkmaid, the Roman prisoner and the oxen, is a yoke, and the yoke has everything to do with revival. Jesus speaks to us through His word and says:
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
To be revived, we must be yoked together with Christ – like oxen, like the Roman prisoner, and just like the milkmaid.
- Oxen. In this case Jesus is the strong one. He domesticates us. He takes our base and wild will and directs it for His glory. As believers, we are yoked up with Christ, ready to go into the world and plow a straight line for His glory. It makes me think of this Bible verse: Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” When we yoke up with Christ, we can get a lot of work done. He is stronger, wiser, and extremely skilled at working the ground. He is also the Seed for the freshly plowed field. When we are yoked with Christ, He gives us increase, He brings us revival. Stay in the yoke with Christ! As far as my personal relationship with Jesus Christ goes, “I woke up when I yoked up.”
- Roman prisoners. Criminals in Bible times would be yoked together and led about like livestock. They were yoked together in a state of submission. Since we are all sinners, it is fitting that we also be yoked up as prisoners. The crazy thing is that when we put our neck into the powerful yoke of Christ, we become the most amazing prisoners. Putting one’s neck in Christ’s yoke makes us truly free! How wonderful to be a prisoner of Christ. How fantastic to be locked up forever in His luxurious prison of light and love and life. Listen to this fellow prisoner: Ephesians 4:1 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” O God, I thank You for allowing me to wear your yoke of blessing, yoke of increase, and yoke of grace. If we as God’s people might consciously consider ourselves the prisoners of Christ that we really are, there would be a revival in the prison-house of the Lord that this world has not yet seen. There would be people lining up begging to permitted to stick their necks in the blessed yoke of Christ that they too, might be prisoners of the Lord, locked up in His watchcare to be finally free of the sin and the pride of this world.
- Milkmaids. If you’re like me, especially if you’re a man, you might feel a little silly learning from a milkmaid. It even sounds embarrassing. But it is the yoke of a milkmaid that allows her to carry the milk. It is the responsibility of the milkmaid to do the lowly work of bending down, fastening the heavy buckets to the yoke, and carrying them directly to the ones needing the nutrients. Isn’t that our responsibility, too? When we take on the yoke of Christ, isn’t it loaded with His teaching, His words, His spiritual nutrients? Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” Did people sneer at the lowly milkmaid? Did they laugh at her menial occupation and label her a local yokel, because she bore her master’s yoke? Wow. Would to God we would bear the name of Christ unashamedly and carry His yoke. Jesus said He was meek and lowly in heart. Are we too proud to bend low to take up His yoke? God places the handle of revival way-down low. Christ offer each one us His yoke and lays it down on the ground before us. You and I will have to kneel down way-low to pick it up and put it on. But don’t worry, Jesus reminds us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Your daily practical task
Pray. Work on the memory verse, Colossians 3:16-17. Think about this today: Oxen, prisoners and milkmaids. Domesticated, subjugated, and lowly. Christ offers us His yoke.
Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Have a great day in the yoke of Christ.
HE MUST INCREASE