A yoke is a wooden frame, usually consisting of a bar with an oxbow or similar collar-like piece at either end, for attaching to the necks of a pair of draught animals, esp. oxen, so that they can be worked as a team.
Collins English Dictionary.
Read Jeremiah 27:1-28:17.
There are two important lessons in these chapters.
- The world is full of false prophets who speak well and claim to be representing God’s Word for today. Be careful who you listen to. Hananiah was probably very convincing when he smashed Jeremiah’s yoke and claimed that God would protect His people. Of course people wanted to listen to him; after all, doesn’t God want the best for His people? It is important, as Christians, that we know the message of the Bible really well and have the tools to discern whether a teacher’s message is truly biblical or if it is infected with the world’s systems and philosophies. How do we do that? Study! Ask questions! Research! Don’t take someone’s word for it just because they’ve been to seminary. Be a student of God’s word on your own.
- Everyone wears a yoke. Another way to say this is that everyone is a slave to something. The idea of autonomous freedom is an American myth. We each need to ask ourselves an important question. It’s like the scene from the movie Remember the Titans when the new head coach asks the hotshot players, “who’s yo daddy?” We need to ask ourselves, “who’s our daddy? Who do we serve?” Jesus said that He has a yoke as well. If we choose the world’s yoke, it will become like Hananiah’s and become a yoke of iron that will crush us under its weight. Jesus’ yoke, the yoke of truth, is not easy, but it’s light, and will make us strong and healthy as we plow the fields of righteousness in His Kingdom.