While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. —Numbers 25:1-3

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? —II Corinthians 6:14-16

            Beware! To be yoked with someone who does not know the Lord is contrary to God’s desires.   This is a willingness to be with them when God has stated to do otherwise. This is not talking about those who are married to someone who does not know the Lord. Many times after two people marry who do not know the Lord one of them comes to know Him.   In that case “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him… But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace” (I Corinthians 7:12-13, 15). 

            To be yoked together is to spend much time together. Think of oxen that are yoked together. Where one goes the other goes with it. These verses above make it clear that a believer and unbeliever have nothing in common and should not be yoked together. Now, obviously, from other parts of God’s Word we know this is not talking about isolating oneself from the lost— “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world” (I Corinthians 5:9-10). Believers are not to be yoked to unbelievers, nor are they to isolate from unbelievers, but are to associate with unbelievers.   Loving relationships with the lost are what our Lord calls us to, but warns about being yoked with them (Matthew 22:37-40). Being yoked with the lost and associating with them are two very different things.

            Questions to ask:

  • Am I intentionally yoking myself to the unbeliever? That is not God’s desire!
  • Am I isolating myself from the unbeliever? That is not God’s desire!
  • Am I associating myself with unbelievers? That is God’s desire!

Jesus did not yoke Himself with unbelievers. He did not isolate Himself from unbelievers, but He did associate with unbelievers. May we do the same! Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Let us be yoked to Him!

Dear Father may I do what Jesus did in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus!

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