In Jeremiah 27 the Lord provides us some precious insight into the nature of our ministry in Christ. In verses 1-2 the Lord says…
In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. Thus the Lord said to me: “Make yourself straps and yoke-bars, and put them on your neck.
He continues in verses 6-7…
Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.
And concludes in verses 8-11…
But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand. So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish. But any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, to work it and dwell there, declares the Lord.
In this chapter Jeremiah himself is an object lesson to his nation. His example is to model what Judah herself was to do. Jeremiah was to become a daily reminder to his countrymen that they too must submit to the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar if they were to survive.
Matthew 11:28-30 provides us an insightful and challenging New Testament comparison to the exhortation of Jeremiah 27. Our Lord Himself teaches…
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- Jeremiah’s yoke is a heavy wooden implement made of straps and crossbars (vs. 2); Jesus’ yoke is easy and light (vs. 30).
- Jeremiah’s yoke represents the harsh domination of Babylon; Jesus’ yoke symbolizes a fellowship of joy and rest.
- Jeremiah’s yoke is a heavy, lonely burden; Jesus promised to share the burden (Psalm 68:19).
- Jeremiah’s yoke stands for submission to a foreign conqueror; Jesus’ yoke stands for submission to a Savior’s love.
- Jeremiah’s yoke speaks of the need to yield to an enemy in order to escape death; Jesus’ yoke speaks of yielding, not to an enemy but to a friend, and not to escape death but to find life.
As you and I go about our routine today, let’s consider ourselves as being yoked to the Lord. What would you do differently if you knew He was, infact, yoked beside you? Are there problems you would finally turn over to Him? Would you resolve to forsake the worries you’re clinging to? Are there attitudes (thought life issues) that you would finally surrender? Would you talk to Him more if He were yoked to you?
Wait a minute! Do we really need to “picture” the Lord yoked to us? The Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 2:12, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” We read also in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” And in Galatians 2:20 the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” We are literally yoked to our Lord! And, my brethren, it is a joyous truth.
So…let’s allow His literal presence to REALLY make a difference in our lives today. I’m challenged to do that! What do you say? Someone once wrote, “The man who lives by himself and for himself is liable to be corrupted by the company he keeps.”
Is your yoke on straight?