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Why does a “yoke” represent in the Bible?

This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck.” Jeremiah 27:2
            The yoke was heavy and it stood as a metaphor for “burden.”  Those animals who carried the yokes were called “beasts of burden.”  It was a tool carried by strong animals to direct a plow or wagon.  The yoke, in a way, stood for the future, as something that was carried over time and directed others forward into more hardship.
            The yoke represented sin and pain.  Jeremiah wore the yoke to show the people that they were carrying much sin in their lives and, because of that, much hardship awaited them.  He prophesied about their destruction wearing it around his neck in public as he spoke.
            In Jeremiah 28, a false prophet named Hananiah broke the yoke and told Jeremiah nothing bad will happen to the people.  God responded by increasing the punishment with an iron yoke (28:14).  God put extra burden on them.
            God doesn’t want us living with yokes around our necks.  He also can’t promise a life of no hardship.  He wants us to be free from the burdens while we go through the hardships.
“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
            Jesus promises to lead us during the tough times and taking on the pain Himself if we surrender to Him.  Give Him your yoke by confessing your sin.  The personal burden will be removed while you allow Jesus to lead you forward, trusting him and not burdening yourself or others.