Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Easy Yoke

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

I was born and raised a city-boy. Farming and agriculture were not on any “Things I Want to be When I Grow Up” lists. Jesus, on the other hand, was raised in an agrarian culture, and although not a farmer, He knew a lot about the subject. Many of the illustrations for His sermons came right from the fields, so to speak. Since Jesus talked about it, now I’m interested. 

One of the first verses I memorized in the Bible was about yokes. If you’re a city-slicker like me, you may think I’m talking about eggs here, but that is not the case. I’m referring to a harness that connected two animals to accomplish a task for a farmer. On one of my trips to Israel, we passed a field where a farmer, following two yoked horses, was actually plowing a small patch of land by hand. Our guide immediately pulled out his Bible and read from Matthew 11.

He went on to tell us that in ancient times, farmers trained an inexperienced animal by yoking it to an experienced animal with such a wooden harness. The straps on the experienced animal were synched tightly making it carry most of the load. The straps on the inexperienced animal were only lightly synched, so its “burden was light.”

In Jesus’ illustration in Matthew’s gospel, He talked about yoking with Him. He pulls the weight, making our burden light. Why is His burden heavier than ours, you ask? He carries our sin and shame, and many other things; our guilt, our confusion, our doubts, our failures, our fears, and all the other stuff that we “cast upon Him because He cares for us” [1 Peter 5:7].

The old hymn-writer had it right; “ A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord!” [From, “He Hideth My Soul” - Fanny J. Crosby, 1890]

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

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