Given The Gift Of Burden
“How long, LORD, must I cry for help? But You do not listen! I call out to You, ‘Violence!’ But You do not intervene! Why do You force me to witness injustice? Why do You put up with wrongdoing? Destruction and violence confront me; conflict is present and one must endure strife.” Habakkuk 1:2-3 (NET)
I bet a lot of you reading this today do not look at burden as being a gift. Quite the contrary, we view burden as something that is placed upon us and, at best, it’s an undue inconvenience. Well in a very Hebrew sense a “burden” is something that is lifted up and is being carried. When my son, Kevin, was in his first year of life I would carry him around on my back, in a carrier, and I actually found joy in the burden of doing so. Now… he is all of 6’ 3” and has become a “burden” on my refrigerator, as it seems that he lifts up food and carries it away… never to be seen again. (I may have to start charging him rent to recoup the food bill, hmmm)
Say the word burden (or maśśā in Hebrew) to Habakkuk and he would have asked you to have taken the burden from him. My amusing view on the word burden is nothing like the one that Habakkuk had placed on him. Habakkuk burned with zeal for YHVH as much, if not more than, his zeal of pain for the people that were around him. Habakkuk, along with Jeremiah, served as a spokesman for YHVH to a nation of people during a time of deep darkness. He also may have been an eyewitness to some of what YHVH wanted him to communicate; after all he was living in a violent society. I am not sure about you but when I read about all the chaos going on in “The Promised Land” during the time of The Prophets, I get a little voice inside me that says…RUN AWAY!!! QUICKLY!!!
However, just like in Habakkuk’s time, we as Christians are being subjected to look at the violence of our everyday existence. Your only way out may be to live in the mountains, but that could change once you get hungry and want meat. In his book “The Moor’s Last Sigh” (a novel based on the life of Muhammad XII of Granada) Salman Rushdie wrote these words, “Violence today is hot. It is what people want.” I wonder if it has ever stopped being hot at all. This was written about a time period right before Columbus would “discover” America, and that world was violent. In fact, if we really want to look at the big picture there is at least 25-30 wars going on throughout the world in our modern times.
So what are we to do to take our gaze off all this fighting? Well if you said looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, would be a good place to start you would be correct. And if we were to ask what should we lift up and carry as our burden, the correct answer would be the yoke of Jesus Christ. He makes it clear,”Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”(Matt 11:28-30) But I need to tell you something…I think that yoke is shaped like a cross. (UH-OH!!!)
I would say that the burden Habakkuk was given was in no way a gift but I would say that the one Jesus wants us to have is. Jesus taught this idea of being in His yoke to world that was also filled of an unspeakable Roman Empire kinda violence. And we still have the opportunity to yield to that teaching today in a world filled with a “brother killing brother for the profit of another, game point, nobody wins*.” kinda violence. We, like Habakkuk, need to get to a place where we say, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Amen? – Chris Hughes is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger and a graduate of the Colony of Mercy
Daily Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 17-20
Think About This: “Like Habakkuk, we need to reach the place where we can say, “Though…yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” But, like Habakkuk, we need to start where he begins in his dialogue with God: How long…? Why…? To assert the former without starting with the latter is glib and slick.”—David Prior
Verses to Memorize: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming on our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV