New Life

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Got Yokes?

I had only seen them in pictures.  To see a yoke between two oxen close-up really stirred me.
They were stuck and they accepted it, I think.  At least they didn't struggle.  I feel that way sometimes.  But I still struggle.  I mean, a yoke, even self imposed, doesn't feel natural.  We need to be careful of what we accept.

Sometimes, you can get used to carrying 'it' all by yourself.  I started carrying yokes burdens when I was 12 years old.   I had to grow up quick.  Although unintentional, people let me down.

This translated later in my life to " I 'have' to do it all on my own because everyone disappoints. " (My big brother pointed this out to me the last time I saw him.)  Many times I won't even give anyone the chance.  I still do that.  I don't mean to.  At least not consciously.

A yoke figuratively

is a symbol of slavery;

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves.  And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect." Leviticus 26:13 (ESV)

or a burden;

"For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian."  Isaiah 9:4 (ESV)

or bondage to sin

"My transgressions were bound into a yoke;
   by his hand they were fastened together;
they were set upon my neck;...."  Lamentations 1:14 (ESV)

When you see that the oxen cannot turn away from each other and are bound together, it is a great illustration of this.  They want to turn away but they can't.  They are immobilized.  I sometimes feel like that under my worries, overwhelming 'to-do' lists, family members health problems, and on and on....

 "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)

In experiencing my friends separation from her husband and seeing the stress, sorrow, and strain of being unequally yoked with someone, the pictures make this scripture clearer.

It IS a burden.  These yokes we choose, craft and create.

"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 (ESV)

Yoke here means service.  It would seem that Jesus is the master and we are the servants with the lighter yoke.  But I recently read that farmers would put a trained older oxen with a younger inexperienced oxen so that the younger one would learn from the older wiser one just by walking with him.

Visualizing Jesus being the wise farmer and being right by our side taking the brunt and majority of the burden makes me see this in a new light.  He tells us to 'learn from Him'.   He is walking with us! 

What a beautiful visual for weary me.

yoke  defined n.
1. A crossbar with two U-shaped pieces that encircle the necks of a pair of oxen or other draft animals working together.
2. A frame designed to be carried across a person's shoulders with equal loads suspended from each end.
3. Something that connects or joins together; a bond or tie.

When things are overwhelming and I cannot possibly do it on my own, (and even when I think I can),  I must remember what Jesus said...

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  
Matthew 11:30 (ESV)

What are you carrying by yourself?


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Shelly said...

Hey there! I love your post! Very thought provoking!! :) I am following you from MBC! I hope you will follow me back!

MissMOE said...

Thank you for this post. Sometimes we just need our eyes opened. New follower from MBC.

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