Yokes, Thoughts, and Burdens
Many people think the trials and burdens of life are ordained of God. But the truth is God wants His Word to undo the heavy burdens.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The way some people talk, you would think this Scripture reads, “Come unto Me, all ye that have no problems and I will burden you down with all the problems and cares of life.”
There are many religious people who believe they must be burdened in life in order to please God. The words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28 give us a very different perspective. His message is good news, but the religious tradition of men will often turn it into bad news.
The message of Jesus in Matthew 11:29 reveals that His yoke will bring rest to your soul, “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.”
In those days, two or more oxen were connected together with a wooden yoke that fit over their necks so they could all pull the load. If there was a knot on that wooden yoke, it would rub the oxen raw in a certain place.
When Jesus was saying this to His disciples, they were probably standing under an olive tree, watching a man work on a yoke that wasn’t fitting properly.
Jesus said that if you’ll come to Me and get yoked up with Me, My yoke is custom-made to fit. When you are yoked together with Me, I’ll bear the load and make the burden light. (Paraphrased)
Burdens Are Not From God
Those who are always weighed down with a heavy burden have not learned to take His yoke. Many believe God gave them that heavy burden. But Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
Many Christians take on burdens that God never intended for them to have. Some who are in the ministry take upon themselves all the burdens of others, instead of casting them on the Lord. Peter tells us how to lighten the load, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)
Too often it is our words, not His, that have become our burden. The words of Jesus should comfort every heart.
Too often it is our words, not His, that have become our burden.
While we are on this subject, let’s look at what God said about burdens…“And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.” (Jeremiah 23:33-34)
People say, “I have this heavy burden from the Lord.” But Jesus said, “Come unto me…I will give you rest…my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” God said: Every man’s words shall be his burden. “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.” (Jeremiah 23:36)
The truth is God wants to un-laden you of your heavy burdens, not put them on you. So much of the time it is a person’s attitude about what God’s Word said to do that becomes a burden. If you are not properly yoked with Jesus, life’s circumstances will rub you raw. Religion will burden you if you don’t rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Don’t Say Burden of the Lord
“But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD; Therefore, behold I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you…” (Jeremiah 23:38-39)
It seems that Israel had considered the prophetic Word delivered to them through the prophets to be a burden. If they had been obedient to that Word, their burdens would have been lifted off them.
The truth is God wants to un-laden you of your heavy burdens,
not put them on you.
The Prophet Isaiah shows the difference between Israel’s religious fasts and the fast God had chosen: “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:5-6)
We have all had the wrong idea about burdens. God meant His Word to be good news, not bad news. Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day that the traditions of men make “…the word of God of none effect…” (Mark 7:13)
God is on your side, and He wants to undo your burdens and break every religious yoke.
God is on your side, and He wants to undo your burdens and break every religious yoke.
One of the problems today is that many Christians, especially ministers, take the problems of others upon themselves. They are self-imposed burdens. Some even leave the ministry because they took the burdens of their congregations on themselves. God doesn’t want you to play God – you can’t handle it.
Cast Your Cares upon Him
Peter tells us one of the ways to undo the heavy burdens: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) We must learn to cast all our cares upon Jesus. God never intended for you to take the problems of others on yourself.
Are you burdened because you have taken the cares of everyone who came to you with a prayer request? You prayed with them, but never released it to the Lord. If you will, in faith, cast it over on the Lord, you won’t be burdened with it, but you will be thanking and praising God for meeting that need.
People say, “Would you pray and agree with me about a certain situation?” I would pray and be in agreement. The Bible said, “…if two of you shall agree…it shall be done…” (Matthew 18:19) But when I am through praying, they will say, “Brother Capps, just keep praying.” It’s obvious they didn’t understand the prayer of faith.
After I prayed in faith about that situation and I have released my faith, it’s finished. I cast that care on the Lord. (I John 5:14)
If you take all these cares on yourself, eventually you won’t be able to help anyone. You will have more burdens than you know how to handle. Don’t forget the words of Jesus, “Come unto me…take my yoke…my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” His yoke is custom-made, and it won’t rub you raw.
When you have taken His yoke upon yourself and lightened the load, there always seems to be someone who will try to put a knot in your yoke by quoting a Scripture out of context.
For instance, have you ever heard someone quote Isaiah 55:8-9? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
These verses have become sacred cows (so to speak) to some people, and they are held in bondage by them. They say, “Yes, God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. God’s ways are higher than our ways.” They are implying that we should never expect to be able to have God’s thoughts or operate in His ways. They missed the whole point by not keeping it in the context.
That’s what I call a false truth. By that I mean, it is in the Bible, but we must keep it in the context of which it was written, or it can be very misleading.
The Wicked Man’s Thoughts
When we read verses 6-8 together, we get God’s perspective. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:6-8)
When God says, “…my thoughts are not your thoughts...” He is referring to the wicked.
We who are in Christ can have His thoughts and know His ways. The Apostle Paul said, “Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1)
Truth Is Revealed In Context
If we study God’s Word in the context which it was written and other related Scriptures, the truth is revealed as we see in the following verses: “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
God’s Ways Can Be Your Ways
In Isaiah 55, God said the exact opposite of what most people thought He said. “The Word I sent is like rain which comes down from heaven, and it causes the earth to bud, and causes it to bring forth fruit, and furnishes seed to the sower so that you can operate in My ways. I’ve sent you the seed of My Word. Put it in your mouth and sow it. My ways will work for you.” (Paraphrased) (Mark 4:14-20; Mark 11:23-24; Romans 10:6-10)
This is good news, but the religious ideas of man make the Word unfruitful. If you hold fast to the truth, God will teach you His ways. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Paul said, “Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1) To imitate God, we must operate in His ways. Yes, God’s ways are higher than the ways of the wicked, but the righteous can learn to walk in God’s ways. And if we have the custom-made yoke of Jesus, the task at hand becomes easy, and the burdens become light.
Bring your burdens, cares and concerns to the Lord. Release your heaviness. Rejoice! He watches over His Word to perform it.
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