The AMI QT Devotionals for August 5-11 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston), while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Yoked Part 4 – His Yoke is Easy and Light”
“For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, 20 which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take away, when he took into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— 21 thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: 22 They shall be carried to Babylon and remain there until the day when I visit them, declares the Lord. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.”
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
None of us is a fan of adversity. For me, I absolutely hate having conversations with Comcast’s customer service. Or try airlines—I remember getting into a very lengthy conversation with airline personnel after a flight cancelation. It’s painful to deal with a company that really seems to wish the worst on you, and I’m sure I’m not alone in dealing with them. Then again, my taste of adversity can’t hold a candle to that which God’s people once faced.
In our passage in Jeremiah, God tells the Israelites to allow Babylon to carry them into exile. What a command—Babylon was an enemy, yet God was allowing the Israelites to be conquered by them! Israel faced its greatest struggle since Egypt, yet ultimately it was what was best for them. Though there would be adversity, God promised peace. He said He would restore His people. They would not be in exile forever –their struggle was only a temporary, though necessary, step.
The yoke of the Lord is of great comfort to His children, as we have talked about the past few days; but it does not mean we will never experience adversity. Throughout the Gospels, we read of Jesus telling His disciples that they would face persecution, they would face opposition. This is the cost of discipleship to Jesus. But this adversity is only temporary. God will come, and He will restore His people for eternity. This is the hope we have. Other yokes may promise temporary peace or ease, but they only result in eternal pain. The yoke of the Lord, while sometimes challenging in our life, will lead to eternal peace and eternal joy.
Jesus told His disciples that there would be trouble in this world, but He also told them to come to Him for rest. He gives us a yoke that is easy to bear–in the sense that we need not worry. It’s light because we do not need to be in control. We can trust Jesus, even in the midst of all occasions of adversity. So as we wrap up this topic of being yoked, let’s continue to come to Jesus and be yoked to Him. Though there will be adversity, we know His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is the one in control, so let us come to Him!
Prayer: Lord, thank You for offering Your yoke to us, a burden that is easy and light. Help us to continually choose to come to You, knowing that You are the one in control. Help us to continue to release control of our futures, to let go of control of our lives, and to trust You. We come to You, Jesus! May we be forever yoked to You! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 16:24-26: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
Questions to Consider
- How do we “come after” Jesus?
- What happens when we, by ourselves, try to save our lives?
- In what ways is Jesus calling you to follow Him today? Is there something you need to deny?
- Jesus says that to come after Him, we need to first deny ourselves. This means we choose to find our value in Him; we let go of our attempts to create an identity for ourselves in the things of this world. We instead find our identity in Him. Then, we take up our cross—meaning, we accept that there will be adversity in our walk with Jesus.
- If we try to save our lives, we will lose them. Death is chasing after us all. As Ecclesiastes teaches us, it’s vanity to chase after the various pleasures of this passing life. Yet, when we let go of this life, recognizing there is a better hope to dwell upon, we instead find a life that is eternal. This is a life spent with Jesus.
- Take some time to reflect on this question. Perhaps there is something we are holding onto tightly, unwilling to surrender to Jesus. Ask for Jesus’ help to continually surrender and follow Him.
Jesus says to us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We are burdened and tired because we continue to try to be in control. Tonight, come to Jesus and ask for His rest, a rest that is deeper than anything this world could give, a rest that refreshes our souls. Enjoy this rest tonight!