I have been pondering Isaiah 1:3 for a couple of days. The verse reads: The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel down not know, my people do not understand.

The ox and the donkey are not exactly known in the Bible to be the most impressive of animals. In fact, they seemed to have a reputation for dullness. And yet according to the comparison Isaiah is making, they seem to know more than the chosen people of God. The animals know who is responsible for their lives – their master. And they know who provides for them – the master’s crib is a reference to where food would be provided. The idea of “know” in verse 3 includes a sense of relationship beyond head knowledge. But Israel seems to be missing those critical and basic facts. They are unable to discern or see the crux of the matter. Perhaps the question to ask is: why is that the case, why does Israel not know or understand?

Though it might be tempting to say they are uninformed, verses 2 and 4 make it clear they have a knowledge of God but rebelled or forsook God. And with that, they brought much grief to their lives. When we turn from God, we never create a pretty picture. Isaiah’s words challenge me to ask: how can I be more like an ox or a donkey? How can I know my Master who provides for me? Maybe it starts with little things like praying before every meal or even a snack to thank God that we have food to eat. Or pausing throughout the day to review truths of God’s Word – you could call it preaching the gospel to ourselves every day.

Folks, there are too many things that want to distract and distort what we know and understand. We need to engage in practices that help us hold fast to our Master. Please pray for me as I pray for you to know our Master every day.