Thursday, June 21, 2007

thinking about: Psalm 55:22 (or, "what to do when stabbed in the back")

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (NASB)

Cast your burden on Jehovah, and He will keep you; He will never allow the righteous to waver.” (MJKV)

Is God interested in our “stuff,” our burdens? We would like this verse to say, “Give your trouble to God and He will fix it” or, “just give it to God and everything will work out” but it doesn’t. The picture comes into focus when we consider how the verse actually reads in the original: “(You) hurl (throw, cast) the lot given to you upon the LORD, and He will make provision for you; He will always never give the righteous (a) shaking (slipping, sliding).”

Look closely at the context of the verse. This Psalm is David’s complaint to God because someone very close relationally has stabbed David (metaphorically speaking) in the back. From the beginning of the Psalm we find David literally throwing himself at God. If the tendency is to think that God should fix the problem, why isn’t David telling the details of the situation? Rather he is pointing to the persons involved, not what is being done between persons. At the close, he makes a point of application for all who listen: Take your lot in life, whatever it is, and give it to God. Why? So He can take care of you, not your burden.

Think of it this way: “The word rendered ‘burden’ signifies a gift and so the words are translated by many, ‘cast thy gift upon the Lord’; what he has given in a way of providence and of grace, acknowledge him to be the author of it.” (John Gill) Whatever you are experiencing right now is God-sourced, and because it came from Him, it’s not broken, so it does not need to be fixed. God actually wants you to throw yourself on Him. Oswald Chambers would probably say simply, “Abandon to God.”

Again, notice the next part of the verse, “and He will sustain you.” God’s attention is not on the burden, but on the one who brings the burden. What He wants to accomplish is provision to the bearer. The word used here for “sustain” is also translated “nourish” or “replenish.” This is a word used to refer to Joseph as the one who provided during famine. This is a drought-drenching word. John Gill again explains one should be inclined to, “pray for a continuance of mercies, and for fresh supplies.” Listen to Matthew Henry:

“To cast our burden upon God is to stay ourselves on his providence and promise, and to be very easy in the assurance that all shall work for good. If we do so, it is promised, that he will sustain us, both support and supply us, will himself carry us in the arms of his power, as the nurse carries the sucking-child, will strengthen our spirits so by his Spirit as that they shall sustain the infirmity. He has not promised to free us immediately from that trouble which gives rise to our cares and fears; but he will provide that we be not tempted above what we are able, and that we shall be able according as we are tempted.”

Remember the words of Jesus: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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)

YOU cast YOUR burden on the LORD and He will sustain YOU.

What does this sustenance look like? It looks like imputed righteousness, justification and perseverance. He will allow forever non-movement when it comes to your lot in life, whether they be blessings or burdens. He is aiming at providing an abundant life, a life cultivated in faith. Consider what Jesus said about life to people wedged between desert and water: “do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25) God clearly is the giver and sustainer of life.

Consider further the reason Christ died. Was it “for” our “burdens”? Hebrews 2:14-15 and 1 Peter 2:24. Does Jesus save burdens?

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