Free Indeed, Give Your Past To God
Nahum 1: 13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away."
A yoke is used to connect two animals, usually oxen. The yoke fits around the head and neck of the oxen so that they will have to work together. It allows no free movement and restricts the range of vision as well because they cannot move their heads. God often used the term yoke to describe what we have been tied to in our past, before we came to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Often we are tied to a past that was restrictive as well, allowing no free movement and restricting out vision. Even if the past was not so restrictive, often times the guilt we carry around floods our field of vision as we remain yoked to our past.
This is not how God intended us to live of our lives. He has
a work for us to do, as the farmer has a work for the oxen to do. We see this
truth in Paul's letter to the church at
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
What a powerful verse! We are the work of God Himself! We are His workmanship, created to do good works, which God has already prepared for us to do in advance! There is a work that God has for you to do but sometimes we can delay or prevent that work because we remain yoked to a past that restricts our vision of the future God has in store for us. God realizes of course that letting go of our past is sometimes the hardest thing we face. It is what we are familiar with and often it is how we identify ourselves. Jesus Himself recognized the immense burden we carry around in this life and in the Gospel of Matthew He instructs us:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30
When we come to the Lord we are usually quite weary and burdened. We are weary of a merciless world. We are burdened with our past failures and weary from the pain that life can inflict upon us. We have learned from this yoke. We have learned to be distrustful. We have learned to not have faith. We have learned to be closed off and unwilling to share our pain and disappointments. We have learned the ways of the world, because we were yoked to it. We were yoked to how the world defines love, faith, and goodness. This was an unforgiving yoke. It was a yoke that hardened our lives and allowed doubt and fear to seep into who we are. It wearied us and the burden often is what led us to Christ in the first place!
And what does Jesus tell us? He will give you rest! Take His yoke and learn from Him for He is gentle where the world was harsh to you. He is humble in heart where the world was proud and remorseless. Jesus promises if you exchange your worldly yoke with His that you will find rest for your souls. The world may make promises of peace but only God can provide you with the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)! Jesus promises that His yoke is easy where the world was harsh. He promises that His burden is light where the world weighed so heavily on your soul. He wants you to learn from Him now. What a promise from our Lord and Savior!