The Yoke of Torah

During the time of Jesus if someone were to follow a Rabbi it meant they would take up their “yoke of Torah.” The “yoke of Torah” was your Rabbi’s understanding of how to interpret and apply God’s word.

I believe, Jesus refers to the “yoke of Torah,” in Matthew 23 when he calls out the Pharisees for their poor application of Torah, “They tie up heavy, burdensome loads and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”- (Matthew 23:4)

The Pharisees were more concerned with purely following the law of Torah rather than understanding the grace of God found in the Torah. Jesus says, “practice and observe everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”- (Matthew 23:3) The Pharisees interpretation of Torah was very burdensome. It was impossible to follow, because it was centered on condemnation rather than grace.

They were so puffed up in their pride that they are not even humble enough to see that they themselves are unable to practice what they preach. Following their “yoke of Torah,” was defeating. It offered no hope, but Yeshua; King Jesus, offers a different understanding of God’s word.

He says, “come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”(Matt 11:28) It’s not that following Jesus is easy, following Him requires a true death to the old life. It is a daily choice to die, so that we might be made new in His life. It is easy in the sense that the guilt of sin, the penalty of it’s wrath is not our burden to carry anymore, because, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. “By His stripes you are healed.””- 1 Peter 2:24. You see, Yeshua (Jesus) does not hold sin over us once we have confessed it, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Jesus had a whole new understanding of Torah, so very different from many of the religious teachers of His day. He ate with tax collectors and sinners, healed on the sabbath and with grace, did not condemn a woman caught in adultery, but offered her a chance to be forgiven instead.

As we take up His life, the burdens of sins are lifted. The devil cannot speak words of guilt and condemnation over us any longer, because our Rabbi Yeshua (Jesus), offers for us a yoke, free of guilt and condemnation. He extends forgiveness of sin, if we are ready and willing to leave everything to follow Him.

Yeshua, I want to be like you. Thank you that following you is not burdensome, but instead there is freedom found in following you. Abba, thank you for sending your son, so that I might find new life in His name. Amen.

God will give me what I want….

….and he shall give you the desires of your heart.…Psalm 37:4

I believe many Christians run to this scripture, without first having a proper understanding of what’s being said. We throw it out, like we so often do, to use it like someone might who’s seeking some sort of god that resembles a genie in a bottle. Then, we get mad at God when He doesn’t fulfill our demands. Yet, we have misunderstood His word and in doing so have woefully misused it for our own personal gain.

I think one the major problems in Christendom is that we don’t do much personal bible study. We love spiritual snacks, so we pull a verse out here and there to comfort us or “get us through the day.” Now, don’t misunderstand, we should, by all means, use the word of God throughout the day and stand upon its truth. The problem arises when we ourselves do not become true students of the word and use it only as a quick drive-thru to get us through our day.


I think if we start truly studying the bible, understanding it in it’s wholeness and not in small, fractioned, un-related pieces, we’ll start to understand the truth that God has weaved a cohesive story from start to finish that tells a beautiful story of His redemption, giving us a glimpse of His glory, His character and revealing to us a bit of His heart, with deep un-ending mysteries weaved throughout.

Psalm 37:4 reads quite simply, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Oh, does this mean if I’m a Christian, God will give me the things that I want? Like, a relationship or a starting spot on the baseball team? Maybe God will give me that promotion I believe I deserve or a child that I’ve been longing to have.

Again, lets get back to studying the bible. Are you ready to dig deep with me? Let’s do it.

The word “delight” in the original language means, soft, pliable, dainty, delight. The verb implies within it that as we delight in the Lord we make ourselves pliable and soft before Him. We understand that within our Father’s hands, He is shaping us into new beings as we submit our aspirations and desires to Him.

As we make ourselves pliable in the hands of our Father, He shapes within us a new heart, full of new desires and dreams. As that old man or woman begins to be re-shaped and re-formed, a new individual comes forth, whose heart and mind are more in line with the will of their Father.

The purpose of delighting in the Lord is not so we can get what we want from God, but instead, to align ourselves with His heart. In doing so, He gives us the desires of our hearts, because those desires, become about knowing Him more.

As we pray, and delight ourselves in the Lord, the purpose remains, to see Him for who He is, and to understand His heart, so that our desires are no longer what we want, but what the Father wants.

As you delight in God, you may never get that promotion, the starting spot or that thing you’ve always wanted, but the goal delighting ourselves in God is not to get what we want. It is, instead to find true contentment in God alone as we rest in His will for our lives.

Abba, I want a heart like yours. I long for you to be my sole delight, so that as I pray, my heart would not run towards the things of this life that are merely temporary and lack true satisfaction, but instead, I want you and those things found in your heart that fill me with un-ending joy, in Jesus name, Amen.