Good morning! Our June 1 devotion comes to us from Gil Kracke. 

Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away. (Nahum 1:13, NIV)

At first glance, a linguistic barrier seems to cloud this passage. More than just the cultural inexperience we have with yokes and shackles, it seems our modern sensibility affirms our personal and bodily freedom. The seeds of autonomy are sown deeply into our nature, and those seeds are nurtured carefully by our surroundings. We are oriented to narratives that make us the “master and commander” of our soul, of our decisions, and of our lives.

If we don’t come to terms with the reality of the bondage the Bible so often illustrates, we’ll be forced to do some creative interpreting, always thinking about “that other poor guy” it must refer to, who must not be as spiritually endowed as ourselves. Thank God we have advanced, we think, and have the wherewithal needed to escape this kind of bondage. How we’ve deluded ourselves!


We are yoked and shackled by someone. If the Bible says anything, it says that we are bonded unto another, that we are not free to ourselves. This begs the question: to whom am I bonded? Inasmuch as I am selfish and sinful, my yokefellow can go by many names: the world, the flesh, the devil. Call it what you will, but they all lead to the same end.

What news, then, that Nahum delivers! As the King James puts it: “For now I will break his yoke from off thee, and I will burst thy bonds in sunder!” Our hearts are broken, to be sure; but we are granted new life and real freedom, as the shackles are broken and we walk free to our savior, Christ Jesus. We come to a new master, whose burden is easy and whose yoke is light. What good news—what delicious, wonderful, life-changing news!

Where in life are you “nurtured” in autonomous thinking? Where in life has autonomy become a burden? Here’s to praying God undoes the chains that bind us to our false senses of imagined freedom, and that He gives us the real thing!