My friend acts violently
against those at peace with him;
he violates his covenant.
His buttery words are smooth,
but war is in his heart.
His words are softer than oil,
but they are drawn swords.
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
God, You will bring them down
to the Pit of destruction;
men of bloodshed and treachery
will not live out half their days.
But I will trust in You.
- Psalm 55:20-23 (Holman CSB)
“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
“We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. God wants us to roll them back on Him— to literally ‘cast your burden,’ which He has given you, ‘on the Lord….’ If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. But if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
There are a variety of burdens that do not relate to bloodshed, but for reasons of context, I added the other verses around God’s promise of lifting our burdens in Psalms 55. The CSB was used for the Psalms 55 reference, because the NIV translates the word as ‘cares’ instead of ‘burdens.’
Rather than discuss bloodshed, I would like to look at Christians soldiers within the church. They may be paid personnel that go above and beyond. They may be a lay-person that is tireless in his/her assigned tasks as a volunteer.
I know a few, paid and volunteer, that are so busy, you think that you would get a heart attack if you had to do half of what they do. Their calendar seems to be filled, but if you look carefully, they have enough time for family as well. Yet, they never seem to get tired. They never seem to waver. And they have an ever-present smile on their faces.
I admire these people a great deal.
Then you have an equally busy person at the church that never seems to smile. They seem tired. They keep doing what they are doing, and they do a good job, but the Joy seems to be missing. It is only an obligation and not a labor of love.
I am not saying that this second group are not Christians, but are they accepting the burden that God has for them? Or even if they are, do they know that they are to give that burden back to the Lord?
Don’t get me wrong. The work needs to be done, at least in some cases. Sometimes, some are there to avoid other responsibilities at home or just staying busy to keep from going crazy. Maybe they did not plan their retirement very well.
No, these people do not share their Joy, because they have none. They are doing the work out of obligation. They think, or they know, that no one else will do it. Yet, even in those circumstances, they can rejoice in the Lord, because the Lord could give them strength – if they asked and trusted in Him.
In Psalms 55, the promise is to be sustained. You might not rise to great heights, but God sees you through. And what Jesus means by a light burden in Matthew 11 is that He is there to help carry the load. You should never try doing it on your own, and when you do try to fly solo, you are holding the entire load.
The load is not any lighter when you rely on Jesus, but it seems lighter. We can draw upon an inner strength that we did not know that we had, that we might not have without Jesus residing within us.
And then when there is bloodshed, a war, car crash, or storm disaster, we can still show God’s love to others, because we have Jesus. Pray for those that lament after such tragedies. As they go through the grief process, the Christian will come to the realization that God has seen us through. But the others seem to never get past the “everything is gone” stage.
If they could only cast their burdens on the Lord, they could find out that “everything” is just a collection of things, and what counts is still there, a relationship with the Savior that makes your burden a light one.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.