Cast Your Burden on the Lord

Bible:

But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety
from the battle that I wage,
for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them,
he who is enthroned from of old,
because they do not change
and do not fear God.

My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.

But you, O God, will cast them down
into the pit of destruction;
men of blood and treachery
shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you. Psalm 55:16-23 ESV

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21 ESV

Reflection:

Ron was worried about a problem at school. Bruce, a boy in his class, was a real bully. He sometimes beat kids up during recess, and he would make them give him their money or their lunch or other things. Bruce was big and strong, but Ron was bigger. He knew he could easily beat Bruce up if he wanted to. He thought about teaching Bruce a lesson and making him stop hurting the other kids. But Ron wasn’t just strong; he was also smart. He knew that it would be better if the teacher handled Bruce, so Ron told the teacher what was going on. He felt sure he could trust his teacher to handle the situation better than he could by himself.

Some people think King David wrote Psalm 55 when he was running away from his son Absalom, who had started a war against him and wanted to be the king instead of his father. Many of the people of Israel went with Absalom’s side, including David’s close friend Ahithophel. All through this Psalm, David cried out to God for justice and asked him to punish his enemies. It might seem strange to ask the God of forgiveness and love to hurt other people. But what David was asking for was justice. He wanted God to keep the world safe by keeping bad people from hurting others. David didn’t say that he would punish his enemies by himself. He gave them to God and trusted God to take care of the situation. He believed that if he gave his problems to God, God would help him and not let him be beaten by his evil people.

We can follow David’s example when others hurt us or we see evil people in the world. We don’t have to handle the situation by ourselves. We can give the problem to God and trust that he will take care of the other person in the best way. Sometimes it might seem as if God isn’t just. It might seem as if bad people keep on hurting others and that God never punishes them. That’s when we can trust that God knows what he is doing and will handle it better than we ever could. God put all the sin and evil in the world on his Son Jesus, and Jesus took all the punishment for everyone on the cross. Because of that, we have all of God’s forgiveness and love every day. We can be sure that no problem or hurt caused by others will ever separate us from God’s love and care.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to give you the hurt that other people cause us and to trust you to take care of things in the best way. Thank you for forgiving us our sins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Which Road?

Bible:

Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace.” And the advice seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

Then Absalom said, “Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Thus has Ahithophel spoken; shall we do as he says? If not, you speak.” Then Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” Hushai said, “You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the people. Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits or in some other place. And as soon as some of the people fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that those who are with him are valiant men. But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground, and of him and all the men with him not one will be left. If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.” And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom. II Samuel 17:1-14 ESV

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

Reflection:

An American poet named Robert Frost once wrote a poem about a man walking in the woods, and coming to a fork in the road. He was sad that he couldn’t travel on both roads, and he wondered which road would be better for him to take. Both roads looked good to him, but he finally decided to take the one that was less traveled. He was sad, because he knew that he’d never have a chance to come back and travel on the other road. He says that to the end of his life he will wonder if he made the right choice. The poem ends:

“I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
There are many times in life when a person has to make a choice, and it’s sometimes hard to know which choice is right. The decisions we make often have an effect on what happens to us later. Even years later some people look back at the choices they’ve made and wonder what might have happened if they’d done things differently. Absalom was at a fork in the road in his rebellion against his father. He got two different pieces of advice. Ahithophel gave him better advice–to go out and attack David and his men right away, to kill David and bring all the people back to Absalom. Hushai said to wait and muster all the troops and have a huge battle. Hushai’s advice was bad advice, but he was giving it for David’s sake. Which advice should Absalom listen to? The road he would take would make all the difference as to whether he won or lost the kingdom. But he and his people foolishly listened to the bad advice, and God used that to stop Absalom.
The most important thing of all is to be on the road that leads to life with God. Many people don’t take this road. They go a different way, away from God, doing things their own way. They find it hard to believe that there is only one way to God, through Jesus. So they don’t come to God through Jesus, but travel the road that leads to separation from God forever. Doing this is the most foolish choice there is. God wants all people to come to him, and he sent Jesus to die on the cross for all people. There is room for everyone in God’s family. God sends us his Holy Spirit so that we turn away from the road that goes the wrong way and put our faith in Jesus. God the Holy Spirit will keep us on the right road, the road that gives us eternal life.
Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us Jesus, our Savior, and for putting us on the road that leads us to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Source:

 

Joining the Winning Side

Bible:

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So whatever you hear from the king’s house, tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. Behold, their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son, and by them you shall send to me everything you hear.” So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem. II Samuel 15:30-37 ESV

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 ESV

Reflection:

During the American Revolutionary War, a man named Benedict Arnold was a captain in the American militia. He fought bravely for the Americans for awhile, but he always felt that he should have more honor and rank than he was given. After awhile he changed over to the British side. At first it was a secret, and he passed information to the British while pretending to still be on the American side. George Washington found out what was happening and sent men to try to arrest him, but they couldn’t catch him. Later he openly changed over and fought on the British side. He hoped to get more honor and rank with the British, but that never happened.

Ahithophel had been a counselor for David, but when it looked as if Absalom would gain the kingdom instead of his father, Ahithophel supported Absalom instead. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Ahithophel turned against his king and supported someone else, but perhaps he thought it would be better for him if he supported the winning side instead of what he thought would be the losing side. Since he thought Absalom would win, he supported Absalom. Loyalty to David and doing the right thing weren’t part of his decision.

It’s easy to want to be on the winning side of something. Jesus warned his disciples that following him wouldn’t mean they would always be winners. Instead, he said that following him meant carrying a cross. That means that people who follow Jesus might suffer for their faith, and other people might think of them as losers, or even try to hurt them. This is all part of carrying the cross and following Jesus. But the most important part of carrying the cross is giving up any idea that we can save ourselves by our good works. We instead know that we are sinful and need Jesus to save us. We give up on ourselves, and trust Jesus to forgive our sins and give us the help we need to get through the struggles of this life.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help us to follow you and be willing to suffer for you. Thank you for your wonderful love that died for us on the cross and forgives all our sins. Amen.

Source:

http://www.biography.com/people/benedict-arnold-9189320