"I heard the voice of Jesus say, 'Come unto Me and rest; Lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon My breast.' I came to Jesus as I was, so weary, worn, and sad; I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad."
At different times the people of Israel chose to forsake the worship of the one true God and, at one point in their history, they "yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor" (see Psalm 106:28; Numbers 25:3). The people took onto themselves the heavy yoke of idolatry. They burdened their lives with vain efforts to please a false god, repeating rituals and sacrifices, perhaps wondering if their god was satisfied. Like the people of ancient Israel, we may take onto ourselves the yoke of idolatry as we pursue wealth, popularity, or earthly pleasures. We easily harness ourselves to the ever-present and convenient idol of self, seeking to satisfy our own needs and desires. As a result, we find ourselves burdened with sin, guilt, and anxious fear.
As we struggle with that heavy yoke, by God's grace we hear the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and rest." Jesus shouldered the heavy burden of our sins and carried them to the cross. He invites us to take up a lighter yoke: "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). In humble repentance, we confess our idolatrous worship of self and earthly things. In Jesus our sins are forgiven and the heavy yoke of sin is shattered, replaced by God's grace with a yoke that is easy and light. To be yoked to Jesus is to believe in Him, to trust Him, and to learn from Him.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are united to Jesus by faith. Yoked to Him, we find rest and relief through the comfort and encouragement of His Word. There is no need to endlessly strive for more and more of what the world has to offer or to struggle with anxious thoughts. Our Lord knows our needs and He will provide for us according to His gracious will. No repeated sacrifices are necessary to ensure His forgiveness and favor. Through Jesus' single sacrifice on the cross we have forgiveness and eternal life, and we rest with joy under His easy yoke: "I came to Jesus as I was, so weary, worn, and sad; I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad."
WE PRAY: Jesus, in You I have a resting place. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," which is number 699 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Name some things people cling to as "idols" in their lives?
2. How can we combat the urge to always put ourselves first?
3. What kind of rest does Jesus give to those who "labor and are heavy laden"?
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