Breaking the Yoke
Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh and blood?
God was not happy with the fasts from His people and refused to answer their prayers. They were fasting in strife and trying to use Him to accomplish their own agendas, which were wicked. God responds to earnest prayer that is focused upon His purpose, and He clearly states His will in these verses.
To be in God’s will, we must be willing to break the chains of wickedness and to untie the ropes of the yoke, allowing the oppressed to go free. In other words, we must be willing to forgive those who have hurt us and stop making them pay for what they did to us. We cannot hold them in bondage and expect God to bless us. Setting the oppressed free also means that we cease taking advantage of others and using them in some way for our own selfish gain, including making them the target of our criticism. If we want to truly live freely, we must set others free from our ridicule, as well.
God responds to a heart that is willing to give to meet the needs of others. He does not respond to those who seek their own selfish gain. The very reason He blesses us is so we can be a blessing to others, and when we fail to do that, we forfeit further blessings because He can’t trust us to accomplish His purpose. We especially need to help meet the needs of those who are in our own family. While I don’t believe God wants family members taking advantage of us, He does expect us to be available to them.
If you want God to hear your prayers, take an inventory of your actions. Are you fully committed to His purpose or to your own? Are you trying to prove your own righteousness or depending upon the righteousness of Christ? Are you living in strife, or are you being a blessing to others? God promises to answer us when we get rid of the yoke from those around us by forgiving those who have hurt us, according to verse 9 of this chapter. If we will rid ourselves of finger pointing and malicious speaking and offer ourselves to those in need, God will richly bless us and guide our way. Make today a pivotal turning point in your path, and turn fully to Him. You have nothing to lose but shame and everything glorious to gain!
Have a blessed day!