What comes to mind when you hear this said to you?

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

Do you hear yet another command from a demanding God, who does not have the foggiest of ideas that life on earth is not as rosy as He might think? That real people actually have to work on Sundays because their livelihoods depend on it? Does it make you feel that He is living in His own world and He just does not understand you, that He is so far away and He does not care for you?

Well beloved, if you do feel that way, then I have news for you. You could not be further from the truth. Our Father is not impractical. In fact, He is more than practical, He is loving. And once you understand our Father’s heart then you will be able to read the true intent behind not only this, but all His other commands as well.

You see, beloved, fundamentally, our Father just does not want us burdened. In fact, He hates to see us burdened so much, He actually calls it a sin and calls curses on that sin.

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron;
With the point of a diamond it is engraved
On the tablet of their heart,
And on the horns of your altars,” Jeremiah 17:1

But hang on, the sin is not named here. So just what is the sin?

“Thus says the Lord: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.” Jeremiah 17:21-22

Judah’s sin, in this case, was the fact that they carried their own burdens. For our Father goes on to say that though He has told His people to lay down their burdens,

“But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.” Jeremiah 17:23

And how can we be sure that we carrying our own burdens is exactly what our Father is upset about? Because He said this,

“But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”’” Jeremiah 17:27

By now you must have realized that not working on the Sabbath and not doing chores on the Sabbath, is not really the point, is it? Our Father’s point here is that He wants us to rest. He never meant for us to be burdened; not by life nor by the need to provide for ourselves. In fact, at the dawn of creation, this was His intent for us.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

But we know the story. Adam wanted to know what evil is, so he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So what happened after that?

“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19

And the burdens of life have been on our shoulders ever since.

But beloved, don’t you see, that was never our Father’s plan in the first place. And that is why time and time again, He reminds us not to carry our own burdens. So what then shall we do with them? Simple. Do this.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Trust in our Father’s love for you and trust in our Father to provide, just like He did for Israel in the desert. But why does our Father want to do this for us? Simple really. Because He loves us. Look at it this way. You see your 6 year old going to school for the first time. In his eagerness and ignorance, he puts all his books into his bag, even those he wouldn’t need for the day. He lifts it but it weighs a ton. He struggles, almost tipping over. Now you, as his parent, would you not carry his burden for him?

So “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

You see, when we carry our own burdens, God doesn’t need to curse us, we curse ourselves. The worry, the anxiety, the thought of not being able to make it through; they will all come like a whirlwind and consume us in the mind and in the heart. So that is why,

“Thus says the Lord: Cursed [with great evil] is the strong man who trusts in and relies on frail man, making weak [human] flesh his arm, and whose mind and heart turn aside from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub or a person naked and destitute in the desert; and he shall not see any good come, but shall dwell in the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” Jeremiah 17:5-6 [AMPC]

The worry is evil. The anxiety is evil. The guilt of perhaps not having done enough is evil. The shame of perhaps not being able to meet the needs of the family is evil. So putting them all together, great evil comes upon the one who relied on the frailty of weak human flesh. And soon, after carrying all those burdens ourselves, we get burnt out, dry, parched, and no amount of encouragement, though they may be purposed to provide relief, will ever be enough. In fact, this might be the reason why the expression ‘bent with age’ came about, to describe the ones who bore their burdens for so long, their bodies manifested the weight they were carrying in their hearts and minds. That and perhaps osteoporosis. But you get the point.

But are we reading Him wrong if we think like that? Does out Father provide any other confirmation to prove that He does not want us burdened? I’m glad you asked.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Now remember beloved, Jesus said,

“For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me.” John 6:38 [AMPC]

In fact, Jesus did not just come to ‘do’ the will of our Father,

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34 [NIV]
His very existence here on earth, His sole purpose is to do the will of our Father. So that is why when He calls us to lay our burdens on Him and rest, we know it is from our Father.

Perhaps God could have used a more welcoming tone when He gives us instruction. Perhaps He could have used prophets with a more gentle bed-side manner. But one thing remains; and of this we can be sure; our Father does not want us to bear our own burdens. Instead, we are to heed the advice of the apostle Peter when he said,

“Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 [AMPC]

Stop relying on your own strength. Even if you think you are strong enough to handle the challenges in your life, demote that estimation, and leave it to our Father. So that not only He can care for you, remove all your anxieties, worries, concerns; He can also exalt you, lift you up, show you off. For not only does He care affectionately for you and watches over you,

“…you are his personal concern.” 1 Peter 5:7 [Phillips]

So my friend, have you been bearing your burdens on your own for so long? Have you begun to realize that you have become bent under its weight? Do you wish for our Father to lift the burden from you and carry it for you, before you go from bent to broken? Well, you can. If you have never known the love of Jesus and of our Father, then He wants you to experience it now. Come to Him for indeed, Jesus calls us to,

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
So come and say this to Him right now.

“Jesus, thank You for giving me this way out of my problems. Thank You for loving me so much that You would carry my burdens for me. I know that not only have you carried my anxiety, my worry and my concerns, you have also bore my sin, my guilt and my shame, so that by Your death, sin no longer has a hold of me. By Your rising, I know I can live life afresh, renewed in the new life You have given me. Thank You that by Your blood shed on the cross, I can receive full and complete remission of all my sins, and that is why I know that I am now right with our Father and greatly loved by both of You. Father thank You for loving me first. I cast all my cares on You for I know You love me affectionately and I am Your personal concern. I refuse to worry anymore because You are in control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Yes, beloved child of God, we can refuse to worry anymore. Heed the words of our Father and bear our burdens no longer. Leave them all in His hands and let Him exalt us.

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