“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand.” Lamentations 1:14
During the time of the Babylonian takeover of Jerusalem, the people were under much suffering. The Babylonians did not treat them well, though they did allow them to live. The city had been destroyed and the people were in great misery. As Jeremiah sees this, he is weeping, lamenting, because he feels the weight of all the sin that brought on this destruction.
Sin is something that looks and sounds like fun, but it carries a heavy weight to it. People often think that they can handle their own sin, especially those ‘little’ sins.
It is commonly thought that what does it matter if one tells a little lie? Or if one cheats his neighbor a little bit? Or if one just breaks a little rule once in a while? It really does not affect anyone is what most think. And besides, God will understand.
The truth is that any sin, big or small, has a weight that no one can really bear up under. That weight is the weight of death. It will take away all strength from a person, pulling their head down to the grave as though a millstone was hung on his neck. It is bound tight to the person’s neck as a yoke is placed on an animal, that only the master can remove.
Jeremiah had faithfully followed God, but was feeling the weight of the sins of the people. All those sins took a toll on his body and zapped all of his strength.
Even today, if you live in sin, it will take your strength away from you. You will be constantly looking over your back to see if you will be caught in that sin. Fear will keep you awake through the night because death will be knocking on your door. The weight will be more than you can handle.
The good news is that you do not have to bear that weight any more. You can hand it over to Jesus. Turn from the sin and He will get rid of it. He paid the price of death for your sin.
As you turn from your own sin, weep for the sins of others. Lead others to Jesus to get rid of that enormous weight.
I pray today that God will help you turn from all sin; that you will know the freedom Jesus can give you from your sin; and that you will tell others about Jesus.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
Yokes are not something that people talk about today. Today, farmers use tractors to plow their fields rather than a pair of oxen.
Yokes were used to keep two oxen together. When a farmer was training a younger ox, he would pair it up with an experienced ox using the yoke. This forced the younger to follow the other and learn how to pull the plow correctly.
Jesus asks you to take up His yoke if you want to learn from Him. He will take you alongside of Him and guide you in how to live life and do the will of God.
Notice that Jesus stated He is gentle and humble. He will not be a hard task-master. He will not beat you every time you make a mistake.
You may have had a boss at one time in your life that was a task-master. He would drive you very hard and insist on only perfection and beat you when you did not do right.
Jesus does demand perfection, but He will work with you to get there. He realizes that you are not perfect and need to be built up little by little.
It is easy to follow Jesus when you set your mind and heart to it. His burden is also light. You do not have to save the world or even a city. All you have to do is what God places before you, and none of that is taking away sins like Jesus did.
Notice, however, that Jesus said this would give you rest for your souls, not necessarily for your physical body. In this life you will get tired and the work may be long and hard, but your soul can rest in the fact that you are following God correctly. Jesus was tired many times when He walked on the earth, yet, it did not stop Him or slow Him down.
Trust Jesus and follow Him. Let Him train you to do God’s will. It will be worth it in the end. Compared to doing things on your own, it will be easy and light work.
I pray today that you will take up the yoke of Jesus; that you will allow Jesus to train you to walk with God; that you will do the work God has for you; and that you will plow the fields for God in order to build His kingdom.