Best of Daily Reflections: Toss Your Burden on the Lord!
Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Psalm 55:22 was one of the first verses of Scripture I memorized as a child: “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you” (55:22a, RSV). The NLT captures the sense of the original Hebrew with “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.”
But something is lost in this more contemporary rendering. The Hebrew verb translated here as “give” (shalakh) and in other translations as “cast,” is not the simple Hebrew word meaning “to give.” Rather, it’s basic sense is “to throw” or “to hurl.” It was used, for example, in the story of Joseph and his brothers. Genesis 37:24 says that they “threw” him into a cistern, using the verb shalakh. Even the verb “cast,” which is stronger than “give,” doesn’t quite get the sense of the original Hebrew. Casting could be too calm, like fishing in some idyllic forest stream. I prefer a more robust “throw” or “hurl” or “toss” for shalakh.
The use of this verb in Psalm 55:22, therefore, paints a powerful picture of entrusting our burden to God. We’re invited, not just to hand over our concerns nicely, but to hurl them upon the Lord. It’s as if we’re shouting, “I’ve had it with this burden. I can’t handle it myself. Here, Lord, you take it!” In throwing our burden to the Lord, we’re really letting go of it. Once we’ve tossed it to him, it’s gone. It’s no longer ours to carry.
Notice the promise of Psalm 55:22. It does not read, “Toss your burden on the LORD and he will take care of it.” This is implied, surely. But the text says, “Toss your burden on the LORD and he will take care of you.” God is there, not only to help with our challenges, but to sustain and nurture us. What a wonderful promise, and an even more wonderful reality.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are you carrying any burdens today that you need to toss at the Lord? What is keeping you from doing this?
PRAYER: O Lord, how good you are to me, again and again and again. Thank you for this marvelous invitation and promise in Psalm 55:22. Thank you for encouraging me to toss my burdens on you. I cannot carry them alone. Indeed, I’m not supposed to. You are there to bear my burdens with me, and, indeed, to care for me in the process.
Help me, Lord, to trust you with everything in my life. May I trust you especially with those things about which I am apt to worry. By your Spirit, help me to hurl my burdens to you. May I only pick up that which you give me to carry.
All praise be to you, gracious God, because you carry my burden . . . and because you carry me. Amen.