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Bible verses about Yoke
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 28:48

God warns the Israelites that, if they failed to serve Him properly, He would allow their enemies to fit them with a "yoke of iron." Clearly, the yoke of iron—a heavy, uncomfortable, unyielding, confining restraint—is an implement of destruction used by God to punish His people for their sins.

As this passage indicates, people bring this yoke upon themselves through disobedience to God's law. If we are feeling that our yoke is too heavy, maybe we are wearing the wrong yoke. If so, we need to examine ourselves (II Corinthians 13:5). Have we brought the yoke of iron upon ourselves? If we do not repent, a heavy yoke of sin will destroy us!

How many times do we blame God for our trials, when in fact, by our ingratitude and worldliness, we have fitted ourselves with an iron yoke! When we refuse to recognize our sins or to evaluate our spiritual condition soberly, we are returning to the bondage from which we have been so graciously freed. Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 1:14: "The yoke of my transgressions was bound . . ., and thrust upon my neck. He made my strength fail; the Lord delivered me into the hands of those whom I am not able to withstand."

I Corinthians 10:13 is a familiar scripture where God tells us that He will never give us a trial that is more than we can handle. He will never allow us to be tempted without providing a way out. In other words, we do not have to sin! We do not have to bring the curse of the iron yoke upon our necks! The apostle John tells us that keeping God's commandments is not burdensome (I John 5:3). Our "burden" is not as burdensome as we may think; we can always lighten it by doing what God says is right.

Even so, it is not easy. The discipline required to be a disciple of Christ is hard work. Anyone who thinks that the Christian life does not involve work is wrong. Contrary to popular belief, God never said that we would not have to work. He never said we would not have to endure. He never said that the Christian life would be without pain or weariness—but He did say that He would supply our needs and that He would finish what He started in us.

Ronny H. Graham
Take My Yoke Upon You


 

1 Kings 12:4

Though Solomon may have been the wisest man who ever lived, his many extensive building projects placed a heavy burden of servitude on the people, and they had had enough. Notice that the people did not ask Rehoboam to remove the load, just lighten it a bit so that they could handle it. It was not an unreasonable request.

When the people had first asked for a king more than a century before this, God had warned them that this would happen. That story is told in I Samuel 8, and in verses 11-18, Samuel tells them that the king would take all the good things for himself and make them his servants. Nevertheless, the people wanted a king "like all the nations" (verse 19-20), so God gave them one. We should always be careful what we ask for; we might just get it.

Ronny H. Graham
Take My Yoke Upon You


 

Matthew 5:3

Arthur W. Pink, in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, writes, "Poverty of spirit may be termed the negative side of faith" (p. 17). Similarly, Charles H. Spurgeon, a Protestant preacher of the nineteenth century, comments, "The way to rise in the kingdom is to sink in ourselves" (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 21). It is this realization of our utter unworthiness, a sense of spiritual need and destitution, that drives us to seek Christ to lift it. The economically poor gravitate to where they can have their needs met. Recognizing one's spiritual poverty parallels this, motivating us to seek to have that need supplied through a relationship with God. Poor in spirit, therefore, describes a fundamental trait found in every son of God who earnestly seeks Him.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:29, "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." This is how to cultivate this God-honoring attitude. We must do this because, while merely feeling lowly before God is insufficient, it nevertheless opens the doors to the awesome beneficence only God can give and indeed yearns to give. He says in Isaiah 66:2: "'For all these things [in creation] My hand has made, and all those things exist,' says the LORD. 'But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.'"

Poor in spirit is one thing, contrition is another, and humility is yet a third quality. They are all related, but they are not specifically the same attitude. To be contrite is to be sorry or remorseful because of guilt, equating to "Blessed are those who mourn" in Matthew 5:4. Humility is more active than either of the other two, involving consciously choosing submission in obedience. It equates more with "Blessed are the meek" in Matthew 5:5. Poverty of spirit, then, precedes contrition, remorse, humility, and meekness because it is a major factor involved in producing them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part Two: Poor in Spirit


 

Matthew 11:27-30

Our Savior Jesus Christ understands perfectly the burdens of this world. He understands perfectly the burden of sin and the devastation it causes. Sin has the power to destroy what God is creating, His Family, but Christ has already defeated sin. We do not have to carry that burden. He did it fully and completely, for when God does something, we do not have to redo it!

When we think of a yoke, we often think of bondage, servitude, or grueling work that will drive us into the ground. Some may recall the movie in which Samson, blind and bald, struggles to push a huge grindstone, and every step of the way is painful. In reality, however, a yoke is nothing more than a tool to do a job, and a well-designed yoke allows the user to work at maximum capacity and efficiency. Most importantly, our Savior has offered us His yoke. Would any other yoke fit us more perfectly?

Just as two oxen may work together in the yoke, Jesus is also closely working with each of us. We need to picture ourselves sharing the same yoke as Jesus, like a couple of oxen with a load to pull. We should also add to this scene God the Father as the teamster, just as we saw in verse 27 that He has given Christ "all things" needed to get the job done. Jesus is right beside us in the yoke, working diligently to guide us and pull His share of the load to ensure that we finish the job.

What is our reward? Verse 28 says that He will give us rest, "rest for your souls," as verse 29 adds. Jesus' yoke is one of rest, the same rest that is discussed in Hebrews 3-4—the rest of God in His Kingdom!

Then, in verse 30 appears Jesus' heartening proclamation, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Jesus has already cut the road, so all we have to do is to follow His lead, and we will find rest from all of our burdens.

Ronny H. Graham
Take My Yoke Upon You


 

2 Corinthians 6:14

This verse means, drawing on Deuteronomy 22:10, do not get doubly harnessed with unbelievers. A farmer is in trouble if he yokes an ox and an ass together. These animals pull differently; they do not work well together. Here, the illustration is a believer with an unbeliever, and they also will not pull together because their minds do not work in the same way.

The advice is do not rush into just any relationship because one's faith is weak or self-esteem is low - maybe so low that one would be willing to marry just about anybody. If one does, he will very likely do what the Israelites did in Numbers 25: make a compromise that lowers his Christian standards.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover and I Corinthians 10


 

Galatians 5:1

The yoke of bondage is an approach to justification and salvation, or righteousness, that relies on a syncretism of Jewish ritualistic legalism and pagan practices (usually rites of purification), while at the same time avoiding the sacrifice of Christ. This means that what we believe and who we believe in will determine whether we will be justified. Why is this approach a yoke of bondage? It cannot free a person from the penalty of sin or from Satan. It does not provide forgiveness. It will not put one into a position to receive God's Holy Spirit.

Paul is not writing to do away with the law! He is writing to clarify lawkeeping's relationship to justification and what a person believes through justification. If Paul were writing to do away with law, much of what he wrote later on in chapter 5 would not be there.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)


 

Revelation 6:5-6

"Pair of scales" translates the Greek word zugón, which literally means "yoke," as in a yoke of oxen or the yoke of bondage. The beam of a balance, which resembles a yoke's crossbeam, joins or couples the two pans just as a yoke joins the oxen. Just as it is better if the yoked oxen are evenly matched, so the purpose of the balance is to determine that the contents of the two pans are equal.

Today, we have little experience with pairs of scales or balances, yet until recently, they were the commonly used means of weighing substances. Perhaps we are familiar with a pair of scales from its use in a Western movie to determine the weight of a gold nugget. In addition, most of us are aware that a balance is an international symbol of justice, depicting the supposed equality of all before the law. Elements of both of these common uses appear in the third horseman.

In ancient times, the value or quantity of a thing was determined by weighing it on scales. In fact, people bought and sold items by weight or measure rather than by our currency-based system. For instance, the shekel was not originally a unit of money but of weight according to which the price and quantity of things were determined. As such, scales were common marketplace items, and God demanded they be used justly (Leviticus 19:36; Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; Amos 8:4-10; Matthew 7:2).

Interestingly, because scales are easily manipulated, they can also be a symbol of fraudulent exaction and oppression, as Hosea 12:7 illustrates: "A cunning Canaanite [or merchant, referring to Ephraim, which stands for all Israel]! Deceitful scales are in his hand; he loves to oppress." Micah concurs: "Shall I count pure those with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For her rich men are full of violence, her inhabitants have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth" (Micah 6:11-12).

When mentioned in terms of foodstuffs, particularly bread, scales become a symbol of scarcity because, normally, bread would be sold by the loaf without much concern for exact weight. However, during a famine when each ounce of flour was valuable, flour would be rationed by weight or measure, and neither buyer nor seller would want to be cheated. Notice God's prophetic warning in Leviticus 26:26: "When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back to you your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied." The prophet Ezekiel also mentions rationing by weight as a judgment from God:

And your food which you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time you shall eat it. . . . Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread. (Ezekiel 4:10, 16)

God is often depicted in the Old Testament as holding scales. For example, Hannah prays, "For the Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed" (I Samuel 2:3). Solomon declares, "The Lord weighs the spirits," or the motives and attitudes of people (Proverbs 16:2). Job cries, "Let me be weighed [margin, Let Him weigh me] in a just balance, that God may know my integrity" (Job 31:6). Perhaps the best known use of the scales in this sense appears in Daniel 5:25, where God tells Belshazzar through Daniel's interpretation, "You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting."

It is certainly possible that God wants us to understand all these seemingly disparate meanings in the third horseman. His lethal power is a terrible, divine judgment on mankind for its violent oppression and greed, and it takes the form of famine and wasting through malnutrition.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Four Horsemen (Part Four): The Black Horse


 

Find more Bible verses about Yoke:
Yoke {Nave's}
 




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