The bad news is that the yoke of sin enslaves us all and Satan whispers lies to us. But there’s good news! God offers deliverance.
Beware of Bears
A park ranger was instructing a group that was preparing to go for a hike. He said, “You need to be careful out there because there are sometimes grizzly bears on the trails.” He had some items to help them stay safe.
He first gave them some bells. He said, “Wear these at all times. They’ll make noise when you move and the bears will know that you’re coming and hopefully, the bears will avoid you if they hear you.”
The second item he gave the hikers was a whistle. He said, “Keep this around your neck. If the bells don’t scare the bears, you can blow the whistle. That might keep them away. At least it could alert someone who may be able to help you.”
Finally, the ranger handed them a can of pepper spray. He said, “If all else fails and a grizzly is coming for you, try spraying them in the eyes with this pepper spray.”
Concerned, one of the hikers asked, “How will we know if we’re in an area with grizzly bears?”
The ranger responded, “It’s simple. Just look for bear droppings.”
“How can we tell the bear droppings from other animal droppings?” they asked.
“Well,” the ranger replied, “the bear droppings will have bells and whistles in them and smell like pepper spray.”
It’s important to heed the warnings that come your way.
Recently, the news has reported that a volcano in Hawaii is erupting. It’s a famous volcano called the Mauna Loa, part of the Kilauea crater.
In 1985 my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Hawaii. We were living in the Dallas, Texas area and I was writing the science curriculum for Accelerated Christian Education.
The curriculum was talking about volcanoes and it described a lava tube.
A lava tube is a tunnel of sorts that is formed by flowing lava from a volcanic vent that moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. If lava in the tube empties, it will leave a cave.
I was writing about that kind of thing so when we got to Hawaii, we went to the park that has that crater where the volcano is. We got to walk through one of those lava tubes.
The current eruption is shooting lava as high as 168 feet. The thing that amazes me is the national park is still open for visitors!
There’s one road that is closed.
I think that would be a good warning to heed and not get on that road.
There are some warnings that we need to heed.
History, Parallel, and a Warning from Jeremiah
Jeremiah has some warnings that he put forth to God’s people. I’m not going to put all three chapters in here, but I will give you the summary and enough information that you’ll be able to see what’s going on.
You’ll see the historical happenings that Jeremiah was describing and then I want to look at the parallels between that and the entire story of redemption that’s in the Bible from the beginning to the end. The Bible is a book of redemption.
It’s a book that tells of the need for deliverance and it tells you how to be delivered, which is through Jesus Christ.
As I go through this, you’ll see the yoke of sin, the lies of Satan, and the deliverance of God.
Yoke of Sin
Jeremiah 27:1-8 contains the historical content of this.
Before I continue, I want to give you a little tip that helped me. In these chapters, there are three names mentioned and I got a little confused.
The first is Jehoiakim who was the king of Judah.
The second is his son, Jeconiah, who was also a king of Judah. However, he was taken into captivity.
While he was in captivity in Jerusalem, Zedekiah was king.
Jeremiah 27:1-2 (all scripture is from the MEV)
1 In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Thus says the Lord to me: Make bonds and yokes and put them on your neck,
Yokes were wooden devices that were put on oxen and hooked to carts, plows, or whatever you wanted them to pull. If you had a yoke on your neck, it would be something that was difficult. God told Jeremiah to put one on his neck as an object lesson and then send some to the kings of the surrounding countries.
6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant. And also I have given to him the beasts of the field to serve him.
God refers to Nebuchadnezzar as His servant Sometimes God will use people who are not very close to Him for His purposes.
Nebuchadnezzar had moments when he worshiped God and instructed others to do so. Other times, he became prideful and turned away from God.
Jeremiah told the kings that they were going to be under the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar and they needed to accept it because they were going to be in captivity.
Now let’s look at the picture of redemption.
We All Bear It
We have the yoke of sin that is put upon us. Since the Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), everyone has to deal with this yoke of sin.
We should be concerned about the yoke of sin.
It was what caused Adam and Eve to be cast out of the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3)
It was the thing that caused the first murder to take place. (Genesis 4:8)
The yoke of sin destroys lives and it destroys families.
The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
We all know about physical death. We’re reminded of it often The body dies. Physical death came in because of sin.
Beyond physical death, however, is spiritual death which causes us to be separated from God.
8 It shall come to pass that I will punish the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, says the Lord. I will punish that nation with the sword, and with famine, and with pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
God was telling them that Nebuchadnezzar was the world leader. He had warned His people to “straighten up” or go into captivity.
Judah’s brother to the north, Israel, had already been taken into captivity by Assyria.
Babylon was gaining power and was going to take over Assyria. But Babylon was then going to go into Judah and capture the rest of them.
One of the many lies that were put forth during this time is found in Jeremiah 27:14.
14 Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, “You will not serve the king of Babylon,” because they prophesy a lie to you.
The remainder of chapter 27 discusses those who would lie.
Of course, the people would like to be delivered. Of course, they wanted to rise up and be victorious over their enemies.
But Jeremiah told them that wouldn’t be the case. God was going to use those events to punish them. They had been warned.
The lies continue in chapter 28.
1 In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year and in the fifth month, Hananiah the son of Azzur, the prophet, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the priests and of all the people, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two full years I will bring back into this place all the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4 And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah who went into Babylon, says the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”5 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the Lord, 6 even the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen. May the Lord do so; may the Lord perform your words which you have prophesied, to bring back the vessels of the house of the Lord and all that was carried away captive, from Babylon into this place.
Jeremiah knew what God had told him, but he hoped that Hananiah was correct.
10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it. 11 Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within the space of two full years.” Then the prophet Jeremiah went his way. 12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying: 13 Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus says the Lord: You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made instead of them yokes of iron. 14 For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. And I have given him the beasts of the field also. 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen now, Hananiah. The Lord has not sent you, and you make this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord: I am about to cast you from off the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the Lord.” 17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.
You see the lies of the false prophet, and the consequences of those lies, in this passage.
The Lies of Satan
Satan is a liar. His lies come to us who have sinned. We have the yoke of sin in our lives.
Satan tells us, “You’re ok.”
But we’re not ok. We are all hellbound without God.
Satan’s lies tell us there is no hell, and that there are no consequences of sin. These lies are very subtle.
Some of those lies seem right to us as human beings. There are people who are openly and brazenly disobeying the commands of God but human nature says, “Oh, it’s ok. They’re ok.” That’s one of the lies of Satan.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
The lies of Satan lead to destruction.
But the lies of Satan can sound really good because sometimes he appears as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
The lies of Satan provide a false sense of peace.
The yoke of sin is the fault of all mankind because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Everyone needs to be saved. Everyone needs their sin forgiven.
The lie of Satan is, “You don’t need that. It’s all a bunch of hogwash.”
The truth is that one day we’re going to stand before God and it will matter what we have done with Jesus Christ. Whether or not we have believed in Him, whether or not we have accepted Him, and whether or not we have trusted in Him. That’s what’s going to make all the difference when we stand before God and are judged. (Romans 14:10-12, Revelation 20:15)
There’s a yoke of sin that we all carry.
Satan lies to everyone he can.
But there is the promise of deliverance!
The Promise of Deliverance
Hananiah had promised deliverance but he was dead and it had been 2 years and nothing happened.
While they were in captivity, they weren’t severely treated. They were allowed to work and have areas where they could build houses for themselves. Considering they were in captivity, they were treated fairly well.
Jeremiah delivered a message to them
4 Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, to all who have been carried away captive whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters; so that you may increase there and not diminish. 7 Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name. I have not sent them, says the Lord. 10 For thus says the Lord: When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you shall call upon Me, and you shall come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You shall seek Me and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will turn away your captivity and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.
God provided deliverance. They were to be under the yoke of captivity for 70 years, although the lies of the prophet said it wouldn’t be that long.
Then God gave them a promise.
At the end of the 70 years, they would be released and able to go home.
There are reasons to be excited about the deliverance that God provides.
The Bible speaks of the yoke of sin and of the lies of Satan that tell us that salvation is unnecessary.
But it speaks of real deliverance for those who have had the yoke of sin weighing down on their hearts and minds. There is deliverance for those who have been the enemy of God and realize that they were wrong and turn their life around.
This deliverance comes and grabs ahold of someone like the Apostle Paul who had the yoke of sin on his life and was an enemy of the people of God. Then on the road to Damascus, he met the living Christ, got knocked off of his horse, and realized he had been wrong. He acknowledged who Jesus is and gave his life in wholehearted service to the Lord. (Acts 9:1-19)
There are reasons to be excited about that!
One reason is that you are forgiven of your sins. Corrie Ten Boom said, “God buries our sins in the depths of the sea and then puts up a sign that reads, “No fishing.”
He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)
As Christians, we have been justified. There’s a little play on words that says justified means “just as if I’d never sinned.”
That’s something to be excited about.
When God comes into your life, although you are born with the yoke of sin, you become just as if you’d never sinned.
There is the promise of Heaven. They had been in captivity but they got to go home
One of these days, you (if you’ve accepted Jesus) and I will get to go home.
When you visit people in the hospital, they will sometimes talk about going home. You might wonder what they mean. Sometimes they’re talking about going to their physical earthly home, but sometimes they’re talking about Heaven.
I’m so glad that one day, instead of returning to the building made of wood and rock, I’ll go to a beautiful eternal home.
These three chapters contain the whole picture of redemption: the yoke of sin, the lies of Satan, and the deliverance of God.
Don’t listen to the lies of Satan. Believe the truth of God. Believe in Jesus. Come to Him. Trust in Him. The Bible says that if you seek after Him with your whole heart, you will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Some know that they have sinned and are on their way to a place that’s not Heaven. They would like to change that but Satan whispers lies to them. He says, “You can’t be saved. What you’ve done is too bad. You are too far gone.”
But the truth of God is God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
When I was in 6th grade, I overheard 2 boys talking. They were certain that if they died in a car wreck they would go to Heaven. At the time I thought there was no way they could know that. I thought about that knowing all week. Then I read John 3:16, which I probably had memorized. I realized it was a truth of God that whosoever believed in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
I knelt down and said, “God, Jesus, I do believe in You. I do believe you died on the cross. I don’t know everything about all of this but as much as I know how I give You my life right now.”
The Truth of God comes and brings salvation to your soul.
Had I walked up on those boys’ conversation the next week, I wouldn’t have turned and walked away. I would have walked up and joined them and said, “Yeah, Me too!”
I couldn’t have said it the week before because I was listening to the lies of Satan Then I came to Jesus.
Seek Him with your whole heart and you will find Him. Knock and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7-8)
Of course, they weren’t looking forward to going into captivity. It was peaceful where they were living and they liked it there. Jeremiah warned them that it would not be good.
Then they realized that they were suffering the consequences of their sin.
He told them it wouldn’t be as bad as it could be. They would be allowed to build some houses and live life normally, But they would long for home
After 70 years they were going to get to go home.
We have sinned and we have listened to the lies of Satan. We’ve been confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that He died to pay the penalty for our sins. But if we claim the gift of salvation, we will receive eternal life.
The Time is Now
Have you ever come to Jesus?
Do you know Jesus now?
If you do you have reason to rejoice. Thank God for His promises, but you probably have some friends who need to know about those promises. Maybe it’s up to you to be the one to talk to them.
In closing, I want to tell you to live life as it comes. It may be good or it may be bad, but through it all continue to trust God. Trust Him through it all and He will bless you for doing that.
If you don’t know for sure, if you have any doubts, about your salvation, I encourage you to get alone with Jesus and ask Him into your heart. The Bible says whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
God bless you. I pray you have a wonderful day.