I know the title is a terrible sort of pun, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I was listening to the audio from El Shaddai ministries tonight from their Sabbath service this past Saturday and I heard something that absolutely hit home with me. It has to do with Jesus statement about taking His yoke upon us in Matthew 11. Let me give the verses here for easy reference:
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This image is an interesting one that has some very simple applications to some of the discussions I have been involved in lately regarding the Law and what it is for and how it applies to us as believers. If we are to be yoked with Christ; it makes perfect sense that we are going to go where He goes in the process. This promise is made in the context of giving us rest however, so it seems to be a conundrum, since a yoke is an implement of work. The way to understand this is interesting and involves seeing another verse in connection to this.
If we examine these verses for a minute, we find that Jesus is quoting from another Scripture when he uses the phrase, “ you will find rest for your souls.” It is from Jeremiah 6:16:
Thus says the LORD:”Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Jesus says that when we take His yoke upon us, we will learn from Him. What do you suppose we will learn? Let me give you a hint from Micah 4:1-5(emphasis mine):
1It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
2and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;
4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
5For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
If we are yoked to Jesus, we will walk in the same direction that He walks, and Jesus walks in the path of God’s Law. He hasn’t changed it (Matthew 5:18) and He won’t deviate from it. What we will find when we are yoked to Him is that He carries the load and we just walk alongside.
As an added note, I think the term “stiff-necked” for rebellion has become a whole lot more meaningful to me as well. It makes lots of sense that I would get a “stiff-neck” when I am trying to deviate from the path my Master is walking in our yoke.
What do you think? Are you willing to be yoked up and rest from trying to do it yourself?