“Many of my people are walking through the fire; let them know the purpose.”
“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
Noticed how it says, “unites two elements to work as one unit… or a pair of oxen pulling a single plough.”
The book “The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread” by Dr. Richard Booker is incredibly insightful and delves deep into God’s plan to send his Son as a sacrificial covenant lamb, as well as the profound significance behind the making of covenants in biblical times. Animals were sacrificed and cut in half for covenant-making rituals, which involved walking around and between the pieces. The exchange of cloaks signified the idea that everything they had was each other’s. These covenants were stronger than family bonds, as exemplified by Jonathan’s unwavering loyalty to David, even when his own father, the king, wanted to kill David. Both parties have full rights to everything the other has in these covenants. They never do anything without talking to the person they are in covenant with, and are in the best interest of each other.
Jesus is the lamb of our covenant and redeems us from the price we would have to pay for our sins if we accept Him as our Savior and Lord. He gave up everything and left the kingdom of heaven and all its perfection so that He could save us. He sacrificed Himself for our best interest. He endured the cross and hell so that we would not have to be separated from Him due to our sins and avoid eternal punishment. He tells us that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, learn how here.
This light burden is simply believing in what He did for us; He did the work and took our sins on the cross. His blood was shed for our redemption, freeing us from the yokes of slavery to sin. As we partake in the covenant relationship He freely gave us, He walks us through a process of freeing us from anything that is not of his kingdom that weighs us down, and He forms us into his image.
The opposing yoke is captivity. Satan wants to trap us and bring us into yokes of bondage, where demonic spirits can attach to habitual sin or lies we believe and oppress us.
In Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus says come to me all who labor, the word labor is translated from the Greek word kopiaó. It means to grow weary and toil. The Holy Spirit led me to look up the meaning of toil.
1: long strenuous fatiguing laborMerriam-Webster: Toil
a: STRUGGLE, BATTLE
b: laborious effort
Archaic stood out to me. Definition number four says: “surviving from an earlier period.” The Lord is pointing to generational yokes. Do you feel you are in a bondage you cannot break free from? You may be dealing with a yoke passed down from your ancestors. Kathryn Krick is an anointed teacher who teaches more about generational curses and breaking free from those burdens. They can also be generational familiar spirits; what is normal to you will feel comfortable to you, but it is not always a good thing. The Lord wants to walk us through inner healing and remove the generational yokes that have imprisoned us and our ancestors.
Jesus gives us robes of righteousness that were bought and paid for through his shed blood and suffering. In the reading “The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread,” Dr. Richard Booker points out how the cloak was a measure of people’s identity in society. When Elijah threw his cloak on Elisha, he put a new identity onto Elisha. He symbolically put his mantle on him. Elisha has a new identity to walk in, but he must be free from his past and his normalcy to move forward.
“Elijah went straight out and found Elisha son of Shaphat in a field where there were twelve pairs of yoked oxen at work plowing; Elisha was in charge of the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak over him.1 Kings 19:19-21
Elisha deserted the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please! Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye—then I’ll follow you.”
“Go ahead,” said Elijah, “but, mind you, don’t forget what I’ve just done to you.”
So Elisha left; he took his yoke of oxen and butchered them. He made a fire with the plow and tackle and then boiled the meat—a true farewell meal for the family. Then he left and followed Elijah, becoming his right-hand man.”
We see how Elisha offers his current life as a sacrifice and boils the meat over a fire.
“the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the LORD of hosts, For the LORD is good, For His mercy endures forever”— and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the LORD.”Jeremiah 33:11
A sacrifice of praise.
“Give me your sacrifice of praise. Lay your expectations at the altar. Lay down what you want to happen or wanted to happen. Praise me, for I am good and have your best interest at heart. It may not seem like or feel like it, but I am true and never lie. Remember Job. Praise me, for I am good, and watch me work on your behalf.”
Jeremiah 33:11 says to return the captives of the land. In scripture, we are likened to soil, trees, and gardens. Souls that are ready to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior are called a harvest. In the spirit realm, we are like land. Jesus talked about the good and bad soil of our hearts. After accepting Jesus as our savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us to guide, comfort, free, and empower us. Demonic spirits want to take up residence but to oppress us and take us captive in our own land. Another way to say it is to take us captive in our souls. They can get us to believe a lie that holds us captive. They can try to gain a foothold through sin or use people to hurt us, which causes us to be captive through pain, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
Through these snares, the devil tries to set before us; the Lord allows us to be tested and tried in the fire. Fire brings out the impurities in precious metals. The impurities that rise to the surface show what is in us. If you are in the fire and things are rising up out of you that you don’t like, the Lord could be refining you.
In this season, it may seem God is far from us, but He is actually very close, refining us. Will we still trust the Lord in this season? Will we still love Him? Will we believe He is true? Will we seek Him with all our hearts, minds, and strength? Can we pursue forgiveness as He forgave us? Will we let go of what He asks us to let go of? Can we praise Him despite the suffering? God is good, and He is sovereign. He is really good at teaching us to trust in Him, and He is a master refiner.
“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net;Psalm 66:10-12
you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
Despite what you have been through and how long the promise is taking to be fulfilled, He will perform it. The process of purifying has many purposes, and one is to align us with the Lord’s heart so we can steward the blessing well instead of turning it into an idol.
“Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”Jeremiah 1:12
You are precious to the Lord. He is performing His word even though it doesn’t look like it. Many believers get a snapshot of the call they will be walking in, but the process of getting there so we don’t fall to the call is painful. Seek Him with all your heart, mind, and strength, and submit to His leading.
“ In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”1 Peter 1:6-7
If you have asked God for more of Him, expect the fire. The Bible says he who has clean hands and a pure heart will see God. The fire purifies you. It’s painful, but there is a purpose in the pain. Put your focus on Him, trust Him, offer a sacrifice of praise, and you will find the fourth man in the fire. Jesus endured the suffering we go through and intercedes on our behalf. The Holy Spirit comforts us, and the Father is overjoyed and pleased with your submission and transformation.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”1 Peter 4:12-13
You may come out of the trials wounded, but praise Him because the Lord promises to return you as you were before (Jeremiah 33:11). What was before?
Former, First, ancestor, before time, beginning time. This brings us back to generations. Beginning of time, the way God intended you to be.
For the Israelites, restoring them as they were before was bringing them to the wilderness to restore intimacy with the Lord and uproot the ways of Egypt that were mixed in them. It brought them to their promised land, where they would defeat the giants who took up residence in the land. When Egypt’s idols were removed, and they defeated the giants taking up residence in their land, they would enjoy the fruit of the land that was flowing with milk and honey. A place of joy, peace, intimacy with God, and expanding His kingdom.
“for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.”Psalm 44:3
“I see how I made you to be, and I will complete this good work in you, for you are fearfully and wonderfully made. My work is not a light thing. I will watch over my word to perform it.”
Jumping back to Elijah and Elisha, this story shows a lot of symbolism that will be helpful to unpack.
- Elijah means: the Lord is my God
- Elisha means: God is my salvation
- Cloak represents identity, covenant, and giving the other all they have
- Elisha decides to leave his comforts to follow Elijah
- Elisha takes wood and uses it to burn the yoke of oxen and offers it as a sacrifice
- 12th oxen: 12 represents divine order, alignment, discipleship, ministry.
- Elisha becomes a disciple of Elijah; Elijah is now Elisha’s master. Jesus becomes our savior, then our master.
When we make the Lord our salvation, we inherit all He has and a new identity. Jesus gives us His robe of righteousness and so much more. Elisha doesn’t immediately follow Elijah but must say farewell to former things. When we accept Jesus as our savior, we must beware not to forget what He did for us by living our lives for ourselves instead of for the one who laid His life down for us. Our Savior walks us through a process of redeeming us from the former things to follow Him as our Lord. He will require us to leave our comforts, our normal. This could be familiar spirits, generational sins, sins of the flesh, carnal thinking, and functioning like the world instead of Christ and His kingdom. God, our salvation will build a fire to free us of those things that are holding us in the yokes of captivity. God is ordering our steps for the destiny He has called us, aligning our will with His. When we come out of the fire, we are purified and ready to follow Him in discipleship. He becomes our Lord as we obey Him and give our lives to Him, and it is worth it all.
Knowing that the fire purifies us and sets us up to not fall to the call, no matter how painful (remember Job), gives us a reason to praise the Lord. Lift the name of Jesus up. He is good and laid down his life for us, becoming the most lowly of all. He was our humble servant. He is worthy to be praised, worthy to be honored. He deserves our all, and he deserves our lives.
Thank you, Lord, for laying it all down. You were our humble servant. Thank you for the purification. Thank you, Lord, that I get to participate in the sufferings of Christ and watch you complete your good work in me.