HAVING THE HOOFS OF A CALF
The third aspect, the calf’s hoofs, concerns our Christian walk. We all must walk like a calf, having straight hoofs. To walk with a lion’s paws is terrible. No Christian should walk on lion’s paws. While we can apply the boldness of a lion to our Christian character, we should not apply the lion’s paws to the Christian walk. Neither should we walk with the claws of an eagle. If one is walking with the claws of an eagle, we always must be careful because sooner or later he may hurt us. Neither should we walk with the feet of a man. Man’s feet are good, but they are a little crooked; they are not so straight. Paul said that in the world he had his conversation, his conduct with simplicity, not with man’s cleverness (2 Cor. 1:12).
Our Christian walk must be straight; it must be frank and never crooked. This is why Paul told us not to lie one to another (Col. 3:9). Never lie to a brother. To lie is to be crooked. If you are able to speak something, speak it honestly. If you are unable to speak honestly, simply do not speak.
During the last six days before the Lord Jesus was crucified, He went to Jerusalem and was surrounded by the leaders of religion and politics. Some of the leaders came to Him and asked Him who gave Him the authority to do these things. The Lord Jesus in turn asked them whether the baptism of John the Baptist was from men or from heaven. They knew that if they said the baptism of John came from the heavens, He would ask them why they did not believe him. If on the other hand, they said that it was not from the heavens, the people would stone them because they considered John to be a prophet. In this kind of dilemma they considered that the best answer was a crooked one. They turned to the Lord Jesus and said, "We do not know." Really they did know. They knew, but they would not tell. This means that they were crooked. Because the Lord Jesus knew their crookedness, He said that He would not tell them either (Matt. 21:23-27). He meant that since they would not tell Him, neither would He tell them. The Lord Jesus was really straight and strict, but the Pharisees were crooked. The Lord Jesus’ feet were the calf’s hoofs; with Him there was no crookedness. By reading the four Gospels, we can see that while the Lord Jesus was on earth, He walked very straight. Step by step His walk was straight. He was walking on this earth with calf’s hoofs.
We also should be walking in this way today. If we are walking in a crooked way, we should not expect the church to be built up. We all must learn to be frank, honest, faithful, and sincere. Be simple and be single. If we mean yes, we should say yes; if we mean no, we should say no. Anything more than that is from the Devil (Matt. 5:37).
The Devil is the father of all lies (John 8:44). Even if you lie with a good intention that is still of the Devil. We should not walk according to our crooked man’s feet. Our feet are not straight; they have a turn. But the calf’s hoofs have no turn; they are straight.
Not only was the Lord Jesus so straight, but also the Apostle Paul was very straight, frank, faithful, and honest. By reading the two Epistles to the Corinthians, we realize that Paul was such a strict and frank person. He asked, "Shall I come unto you with a rod?" (1 Cor. 4:21). What if one of the Lord’s servants should write a letter asking such a question to a church today? The whole congregation would be shocked. If we would be a faithful servant of the Lord we must be straight in such a way.
The calf’s hoofs are not only straight, but also cloven or divided. Each hoof of the calf is divided. According to Leviticus 11:4-6, an animal that does not have the cloven hoofs is not clean. All the clean animals have their hoofs divided. The clean cattle such as the cow and the sheep have two characteristics: the chewing of the cud and the dividing of the hoof. The divided hoof signifies that in our walk with the Lord we need a proper discernment to divide the right things from the wrong and the clean things from the unclean. The calf’s hoofs are not like those of a camel. A camel’s hoof is not cloven, not divided. This means it has a walk without discernment. But we must have such a walk that we can discern what is right and what is wrong in the eyes of God. In our daily Christian walk we need such discernment. Even concerning the church, we need such discernment. In this country the term "local church" has become popular merchandise. Many groups loosely call themselves the local church. We must be able to discern whether a group is in fact a normal, proper, genuine local church. We must discern. We need the cloven hoofs. Do not be loose, thinking that because they say they are a local church, they must indeed be a local church. Some are genuine and some are not. Some are right and some are wrong; some are real and some are not real. We need the discernment. In our daily walk as well as in the church life, we need to have the cloven hoofs of the calf.
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)