Study 4 THE PROMISE OF SUPPORT FOR BURDENED PEOPLE
GREAT PROMISES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Key verse: Psalm 55:22)
All of us carry cares (NIV) or burdens (KJV). We are living in a world of sorrow, and trouble comes to all mankind - compare Job 5:7; 14:1. Some people have to carry heavier burdens than others and are frustrated throughout their lives; some have hidden burdens which others know nothing about. Often the deepest and most poignant burdens are those which are not seen. A quiet reading of Psalm 55 will convince us that the psalmist was a very burdened man. The word “horror” in verse 5 emphasises the intensity of his burden, which leads us to ask:-
1. What kinds of burdens do people carry?
- 1. Burdens to do with the home; in many homes there is poverty, sickness and sorrow.
- 2. Burdens that have to do with business responsibilities.
- 3. Burdens in connection with the Lord’s work (2 Corinthians 11:28).
- 4. Burdens to do with our friends. Psalm 55:12-14 describes this kind of experience.
- 5. Physical burdens (2 Corinthians 12:7).
- 6. Temperamental burdens. These make us prone to fear, anxiety, worry, depression and even despair.
- 7. Burdens connected with loss and bereavement (John 11:19).
- 8. The burden of great disappointment.
- 9. The heaviest burden of all - the burden of sin which is unforgiven, of an unruly tongue or an uncontrolled temper (Romans 7:24-25).
2. What are we to do with these burdens?
In this psalm we are told several things which we are not to do in relation to our burdens:-
- 1. We are not to doubt God (verse 1). How easily we can be filled with doubt when trouble comes! But we must never doubt God. No relief can be found this way, but only an increase of trouble.
- 2. There is the temptation to complain and to indulge in self-pity (verse 2). Here is something to avoid because there is no relief from our burdens in complaining and self-pity.
- 3. We must guard against the danger of despair. There is no doubt that verses 4 and 5 describe a man who was in great despair; but we can get no relief from our burdens by getting into this condition.
- 4. We must not yield to the desire to escape. If we run away we carry our burden with us - although it is natural to want to run away - look at verses 6-7.
- 5. We must not become bitter against others, as the psalmist did (verse 15).
How, then, can we find relief when we are heavily burdened? Three things are clearly indicated in the wonderful promise contained in Psalm 55:22:-
- 1. We are to accept the cares or burdens from the Lord. The words ‘cares’ (NIV) or ‘burden’ (KJV) literally mean ’gift’. Did you ever think of your burden as a gift from God? To understand this is to take the first step in the transformation of trouble! That trial, that disappointment, that loss - is that God’s doing? Yes, He has permitted it, child of God. He has trusted you with it for some very wise and loving purpose (Romans 8:28). It has not come because of ’fate’ or ‘bad luck’; it is not simply ’just one of those things’. It may have come from the Devil, but it has come only with the Lord’s full permission. Therefore accept it from His hands. One reason why He gives us burdens to bear is so that He may draw us closer to Himself - look at the last part of Psalm 55:19. How easily we forget Him and how slack we become when life is easy! Your burden, whatever it is – will you accept it from the Lord?
- 2. We are to cast the cares, the burdens, upon the Lord. The word ‘cast’ literally means ’throw’ and it denotes action and effort. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den (Daniel 6:16); Jonah was thrown overboard into the sea (Jonah 1:15); the Devil will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10); and you and I are to throw, to cast, our cares and burdens upon the Lord. His gracious word to sinners and to saints is found in Matthew 11:28-30. Here we see a further reason why He gives us these burdens - that in our weakness we may prove His strength and the all-sufficiency of His grace. He wants us to learn the great two-fold lesson that we cannot, but He can! Read about the Apostle Paul’s heavy burden: from whom it came, why God permitted it, how Paul prayed for it to be removed and what God said to him in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9(a). Now see what Paul was able to say after God had spoken to him - verses 9(b) and 10! Your burden, your trial, whatever it is, will you cast it upon the Lord? Will you let Him carry it for you?
- 3. We are to leave the cares, the burdens, with the Lord. Once we have cast these upon Him He assumes full responsibility for us and He promises to sustain us. How wonderful this is! He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22) - and further, He will never let the righteous fall. Do you believe that?
“Cast your burden on the Lord (releasing the weight of it) and He will sustain you; He will never allow the (consistently) righteous to be moved – made to slip, fall or fail.” (Amplified Bible)