Devotional on Jeremiah

A broken yoke (and I’m not talking about eggs here)
Jeremiah 28: You’ve talked the whole country into believing a pack of lies.
The Lord instructs Jeremiah to make a wooden yoke for himself. We don’t see many yokes in our part of the world but they’re still common in many places. A yoke is a device used to harness an animal for the work of pulling something. Jeremiah follows the Lord’s direction and makes a yoke for himself. It’s used as an illustration for his sermons, calling for people to yield to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and accept his authority. Those who do that will be allowed to live in their own land, although they’ll be under the dominion of Babylon. A competing prophet, Hananiah, has a very different message. “Everything’s going to work out just fine,” he says, “God’s going to rescue us.” When Jeremiah comes around wearing his yoke, Hananiah takes it off of Jeremiah and breaks it to pieces, saying that this symbolizes what’s going to happen to Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion of the region. This, of course, is the message many people want to hear. They want to believe that in spite of their sin and rebellion against the Lord they’re still his favorites. They believe they have the “trump card” of God’s promises to their ancestors Abraham and Moses and David and everything will be okay. Soon Jeremiah returns with a new message. “If you can shrug off a wooden yoke the Lord’s replacing it with an iron one. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.” It’s not smart to mess with God’s symbols.
Take Away: We might be able to shrug off unpleasant messages from the Lord, but doing so will ultimately just make things worse.

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