Throwing Things at God
“Cast your burden on the LORD.”
Hiking is an outdoor therapeutic adventure for me. Moving to north Georgia has provided an all-you-can-eat buffet of opportunities for new quests to conquer. A short hike requires simple gear like the classic fanny pack carrying the basic bug spray, protein bar, water bottle, and phone/camera. A longer hike requires additional gear like a backpack cooler for extra water and lunch.
I have never had the experience of combining hiking and camping, but I do know that it requires complex equipment with a particular type of backpack. A deep woods backpack weighs in at 30 pounds above a camper’s weight. It is sturdy, with extra straps around the chest and waist to help manage the load. A camper’s backpack is large enough to hold several days’ worth of supplies, including a tent and sleeping bag, often with additional items strapped to the top, sides, and bottom.
Like a deep woods camping backpack, we can carry around heavy loads every day. Cancer, Covid, loss, strained relationships, deadline pressures, and hiding depression are a few of the insurmountable items one might be bearing.
The burden David carried in Psalm 55 must have felt like the weight of a camping backpack and we can easily connect to his desire to throw off his load.
Psalm 55 opens with an intense cry for help from David to God. David pleads for God to hear his complaints and for God to act. David admits he is distracted by the enemy’s voice and is honest about his troubles and the pressure he is feeling.
He shares his desires to escape from it all, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and storm” (Psalm 55: 6, 8).
King David described his life’s daily stresses, demands, and anxieties (vs. 9-12), but in verse thirteen, he reveals that his anguish was not from these things. His angst was from the betrayal of a close friend who also was his trusted right-hand advisor.
When we feel the load we lug around is fastened securely to our lives in such a way that there is no foreseeable way to loosen, much less lighten, or remove the load, it seems we have no alternative but to keep carrying it around. David shares with us what to do in verse 22.
“Cast your burden upon the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22, ESV
David’s method of dealing with his burden gives us one action to take and two promises to believe.
1 Action and 2 Promises
“Give your burdens to the LORD” (NLT).
The New Living Translation uses the term “give” for the Hebrew word salak (shaw-lak), but the word is more forceful than simply handing over the 200-pound backpack. Like the ESV translates it, “Cast your burden on the LORD,” salak means to cast out, cast away, cast off, or to hurl.
Having the muscle to do so, hurling the unwanted exasperating 200-pound backpack sounds super satisfying.
The Hebrew word for burden is yhab (ye-hawb) which means load or lot or that which has been given to you. The type of burden we will be hurling is now specified. The author was intentional with this meaning as it is the only time in the Old Testament yhab is used.
David’s burden was put on him. He had done nothing to invite it or to deserve it. David had done nothing to bring on a betrayal or break in confidence. This severed relationship happened and now David is left to suffer from the pain it brought him.
Burdens like broken relationships, illnesses, challenges at work, the passive-aggressive neighbor, and our calling in life, are burdens, yhab, we did not necessarily ask for or do anything to cause them. Yet here we are, suffering and facing the results these unsolicited burdens produce.
Each situation is heavy on its own, but like the deep woods backpack, they also come with an assortment of emotional burdens that are carabiner clipped to us. These emotional burdens like guilt, shame, rejection, insignificance, anger, grief, or fear can weigh more than the burden itself.
Every unsolicited burden, we are to take and throw them in the direction of the cross. Once we have released them into the hands of Jesus, we start believing the two promises.
“…and he will sustain you…”
If we cast our burden on Him, God will in turn, strengthen or support us. I think that is a good trade. Isn’t it interesting a burden put on us, God places a “lighten the load” condition in the contract?
“…he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
If we hurl our heavy load toward God, He will not allow us to be moved. Some translations say shaken, or slip, or fall.
Even with the backpack unloaded, the path may be uneven, rocky, and have a steep incline. God enables us to stand our ground with confidence. This type of solid confidence comes from trust regardless of the current terrain. “But I will trust in you, (God)” (Psalm 55:23).
God’s help is more than sufficient when we practice casting our burdens onto Him and live from faith based on His promises.
Meditation: I will cast my burden on the LORD. (Name your burden, I will cast …. on the LORD).
Reflect: What items are you carrying that need to be hurled back at God? Are there any emotions that need to be identified and cast on the LORD? If yes, name them. Invite Jesus to heal you in those places and to relieve the heaviness they bring. How can you avoid picking the burden back up?
Digging Deeper: Psalm 55; Psalm 121; 2 Corinthians 11: 22-28, 12: 7-10
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(Bible Translation key: NRSV – New Revised Standard Version, NIV – New International Version, NASB – New American Standard Bible, ESV – English Standard Version, HCSB – Holman Christian Standard Bible, AMP – Amplified Bible, CEV – Contemporary English Version
 “H7993 – šālaḵ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (kjv).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h7993/kjv/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H3053 – yᵊhāḇ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (kjv).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 10 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h3053/kjv/wlc/0-1/>.