The Journal of Biblical Accuracy
Subscribe

Surrender it to the Lord (PDF) PDF version

Surrender it to the Lord

I know there may be times that we may feel our hearts burdened. A shuttered dream, an external pressure, a threat or other similar things can have - if we do not handle them properly - a negative impact on our lives. The fact that burdens and pressures may indeed be a reality in a Christian’s life is evident from the fact that God has anticipated in His Word a way to face them. It is this way that we will try to present today.

1. God: He that sustains

To start we will go to Psalms 55:22. There we read:

Psalms 55:22
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved"

The Word of God exhorts us to cast our burden on the Lord. This immediately tells us two things. First, that though Christians, life is not going to be without burdens. Second, that the right way to face any burden, small or big, is to cast it on the Lord. This is also further confirmed by I Peter 5:7, where we read:

I Peter 5:6-7
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your anxiety upon Him; for He cares for you"

God prompts us to cast all our anxiety on Him, for as He says, HE cares for us. It is probably not accidental the reference to humility that precedes this passage. It really requires humility to deny that there is anything that we can do and cast all things on God who, as Romans 8:32 tells us:

Romans 8:32
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?"

As we also read in Psalms 37:3-5
"Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and he shall bring it to pass....... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;"

and Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."

These are not mere words, though we may have read them many times. Instead they are the words OF GOD, PROMISES THAT ASK FOR OUR TRUST. It is not a matter of whether we have the wisdom and the ability to open our way and carry our burdens. Rather it is a matter of whether we trust the One that has the wisdom and the abilities, the all mighty God, to open the way and carry the burdens for us.

2. Matthew 6

Another teaching of the Word of God regarding the handling of burdens and cares is given by Christ in Matthew 6. There starting from verse 25 we read:

Matthew 6:25-32
"Therefore I say to you DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE; what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore DO NOT WORRY, saying, "What shall we eat? or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things."

See that the text does not say that we should not ask God for our needs. In fact, part of the prayer that the Lord gave to his disciples (known as "the Lord’s prayer") was about the physical needs ("give us today our daily bread", Matthew 6:11). Therefore what Jesus wants to tell us here is not to stop asking God for the covering of our needs, but to stop caring for them. And he continues telling us what we should pursue:

Matthew 6:33-34
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

The word "but" in the beginning of the passage, makes a contrast between what precedes it and what follows it. It tells us therefore that instead of giving our attention to cares, we should give it to the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As a result, all the other things that we may need will be added to us. As Christ characteristically replied to the devil when he tempted him:

Matthew 4:4
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"

Even if we have all other things, we will still not have life, if our hearts miss the Word of God. This of course does not mean that we do not need to eat and drink or that we do not have other needs. We just read it that God knows that we need these things. However, our main need, in fact our only need (see Luke 10:38-41), is the need of having the Word of God reigning in our hearts. It is this that we should seek and if we do it all other things that we may probably need will be added to us. It is promised.

Some examples

In order to understand better the practical side of the above, we will have a look at two examples (they are not the only) given in the Bible.

3. Daniel’s case

The first case that we will examine is Daniel’s. Daniel was one of those Jews that were taken captives to Babylon and who was eventually placed in the top positions of the kingdom’s hierarchy. In fact, as we read in Daniel 6:3 at the time of Darious the Median he was preferred among all the kingdom’s governors. This in turn caused the envy of his colleagues who plotted against him, persuading the king to issue a command that forbade for 30 days to ask anything from anyone else apart from the king (Daniel 6:4-8). The penalty for the one that would disobey this command would be to be cast to the den of lions. The reason the plot took this form was not accidental. As verse 5 tells us, these folks knew that the only way to accomplish their aim would be to find something against Daniel "concerning the law of his God". Thus, knowing the love that Daniel had for God, they placed him in a dilemma: either he would stop asking God, as the command required, or he would be made, as they thought, food for the lions. These men therefore tried through this plot to openly interfere to the fellowship Daniel had with God. He now had a choice. Either he would permit this pressure, this threat to infect his heart with anxiety and fear or he would cast it on God leaving the fellowship with Him intact and trusting HIM for the whole issue. Verse 10 tells us what he finally chose to do:

Daniel 6:10
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room , with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down to his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, AS WAS HIS CUSTOM SINCE EARLY DAYS"

Daniel not only continued to pray to God but he also did it as always: with his windows WIDE OPEN! He obviously ignored the threat, or better he didn’t try to face it with his own means, as for example by closing the windows, or by trying not to become visible, or by praying in times that no-one would see him, in secret etc. In contrast, he continued His fellowship with God as before. On the other hand, this was exactly what his enemies desired. As we saw, they made their plans on the basis that Daniel would not stop praying and asking God, thus violating the command of the king. Verses 11-16 tells us what these men then did:

Daniel 6:11-16
"Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: "Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." So they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." And the king when he heard thesewords, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed. So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions.But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "YOUR GOD, WHOM YOU SERVE CONTINUALLY, HE WILL DELIVER YOU"

These men hated Daniel so much that in order to throw him from his position, they deceived even the king. When the king understood what had happened, was very sorry but he couldn’t do anything, as the command was impossible to be changed. However, he did something more important: he trusted in God. Verses 17-23 tells us what finally happened:

Daniel 6:17-23
"Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king live for ever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king I have done no wrong before you." Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and NO INJURY WHATEVER WAS FOUND ON HIM BECAUSE HE BELIEVED IN HIS GOD "

The last verse gives us the outcome for Daniel and the reason that it occurred. Thus the outcome was that "no injury whatever was found on him" and the reason was that "he believed in his GOD"

It is so easy to read and pass quickly the above, but let’s for a minute bring ourselves in Daniel’s position. He, as the other men of the Bible, were not supermen. They were men like us, that they also had the choice to believe or not believe God. Are our problems and the threats we may face bigger than the threat that Daniel was facing? He could have died within one minute. "Naturally" speaking, as soon as he was at the bottom of the den he was dead. Yet, Daniel didn’t look at his situation "naturally". He looked SUPERnaturally. As the passage tells us "he believed in his God". He trusted God. He could have done one thousand other things. He could have devised one thousand ways to escape from the trap: he could close the windows, he could compromise, he could plead the king. However, instead of all these things, Daniel chose to have faith in God. When he was lead to the den "he believed in his God". When they were casting him into the den, "he believed in his God". The result? "No injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God". The question is not whether there will be difficult times, burdens and cares that will be cast on our shoulders for we know that there will be. Instead, what is the question is how will we handle them? Are we going to keep them on our shoulders or we will cast them all on God? Will we believe in God’s ability and power or in ours? Will we look for a solution naturally ("I am able", "I have the wisdom"), or supernaturally ("God is able", "God give me wisdom")?

4. Elijah’s case

Another example of handling burdens and cares as well as of the ability of God to take care of what we cast on Him, is given in I Kings 17. There in verse 1, Elijah speaks with Ahab the king of Israel:

I Kings 17:1
"And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gileab, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word"

Because of all the evil things that were taking place in Israel during Ahab’s reign, God would not give rain for a big span of time, that fromJames 5:17 we know that it was three and half years. This of course meant famine for Israel in which Elijah also lived. There was therefore a need, the need of survival, of food and water, that "naturally" speaking seemed that sooner or later it would be very difficult to be met for Elijah. Did God know that Elijah, his man, needed to eat and drink, and what did He do for this? Verses 2-6 tells us:

I Kings 17:2-6
"Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook"

God knows our needs and though it may seem naturally impossible that some of them to be met, He knows to cover them with another way: SUPERNATURALLY. Who really could imagine as a solution to Elijah’s need of food that the ravens would bring him what he needed? And yet, here it is written before our eyes. We do not necessarily expect the natural solution, but the solution that comes supernaturally, from God that can do all things possible and impossible. We do not have hope only when it seems that there are solutions, but also when there is nothing visible around us. As with Elijah so with us God knows a way to bring solutions and to answer prayers, that is not restricted by the natural data: he knows the SUPERNATURAL WAY. But let us carry on:

I Kings 17:7-9
"And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."

The brook is drying. The water finishes. The thirstiness threats Elijah. What did he do? Nothing, till God gave him wisdom showing to him HIS own solution, the SUPERNATURAL1 solution, which he also followed:

I Kings 17:10-16
"So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." So she said, "As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: "The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth." So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah"

"Naturally" speaking who could ever imagine all the above? No-one. All the above are impossible. Yet they are impossible "naturally". Not SUPERnaturally. As the Lord said "the things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27). Everything is possible with God. The greatest, really endless source of power in the whole universe is our God. Let’s not turn our eyes around us looking for natural solutions. Let’s not restrict the possible ways through which God may act to only what we see around us. For we may see nothing around us or even worse we may see a den with lions or famine and thirstiness. In contrast, let’s look ON HIM, waiting for his own solution and counsel, even there where it seems to be no solution. Let’s commit our way to the Lord, trust also in Him AND HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS. We do not know how He will bring it to pass but we do know that he will and this is enough to give us rest on Him even when all around us do not favor it.

 

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

 

 



Footnotes

1. By "supernatural" I mean a solution that comes supernaturally, by God. It is the solution that God has devised, in contrast to the solutions that WE devise (natural).