To my dear grandchildren,
The Hardy Musk-Ox
"I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by My great power."
The 4- to 5-foot high, 900-pound musk-ox is not really an ox. It looks more like a water buffalo or a big ram. The Eskimos have their own name for it "oomingmak," which means "the bearded one."
Not many creatures could survive in the musk-oxen's harsh North American Arctic homeland, but when it pleased the Creator to place them there He gave them special features to survive. One feature is their long, shaggy dark-brown coat that covers their entire bodies, right down to their hooves. During winter months an additional covering of soft, downy wool grows under the heavy outer coat, but when warmer weather returns, this drops off, leaving just the coarse outer covering to keep them comfortable.
An important feature to protect them from wolves and polar bears is a pair of massive horns that curve down the side of their heads and then turn upward with sharp points. As they follow their God-given instinct to stay together in herds of a dozen or more, they can make a united resistance when attacked. They do this by forming a circle, faces turned outward and horns lowered in warning. It would be a foolish enemy that would tackle such a determined group.
The Creator also gave them sharp, curved hooves with soft pads for traveling across the tundra and over rocky mountain slopes. With these hooves and the help of their strong horns, they dig in the tundra for hidden plants and in winter paw and toss the snow away to expose this food. Musk-oxen swallow their food without chewing.
Many of the herds prefer to spend the winter among the high peaks of the cold Arctic area (where temperatures often reach more than 50 degrees below zero), because the strong winds of the mountains expose the lichens and moss they eat. In warmer weather they return to lower areas where grass, willows, flowers and water are again plentiful.
Incidentally, calves stand on their feet immediately after birth and can keep up with the herd just a few hours later. They grow quickly and reach full size in five or six years.
As we notice the special features the musk-ox has been given, we remember the Bible verse that says, "God that made the world and all things therein . . . giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:24-25). May each of us respond to the care and love our Creator shows us in even greater measure than He does to animals and trust in Him as the prophet Isaiah did when he wrote, "O Lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things" (Isaiah 25:1) The Lord God loves to hear the praise and thanks of those who trust Him. Do you thank Him daily?
Love you all,