Beast of burden

Posted by Jeffrey Smith December 15th, 2015 2,405 Views 0 Comments

Isaiah 46:1- Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden.
Isaiah 46:6,7: Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.
Matthew 11:30: For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Have you ever seen someone walking around hunched over? Have you wondered like me, what kind of weight they must be carrying? To the naked eye, you see no burdens strapped to them as they walk, but the weight must be intense to stay in that form as a lifetime sentence. I am not naive to the diagnosis of scoliosis or other degenerative diseases, and by no means am I saying that anyone deserves that kind of trouble in their lives. I just make an observation and talk with the Lord about that observation.
The Lord points out in Isaiah about idols and what they truly are. Idols are anything that is more of a priority in our lives than Him. When we get caught up in the things of this world, we can often find ourselves serving the idol, and not focusing on Jesus.
The Father points out that any idol has to be carried around, and anyone who has to carry it is likened to a beast of burden. What is the burden? We have to maintain the idol which can take our resources like time, money, emotional energy to the point that it takes away not only from our time with Jesus, but our family, our friends, our jobs, and all that God gives us.
What we may crave in this world is far more expensive on our lives than it is worth. Jesus bore our sins, our trespasses, and all who believe in Him will have eternal life, and that is solid and never going to change. I am not talking about losing your salvation over an idol, but what I am referring to, is the life that He has planned for you versus the one that we may think you desire outside of Him.
Let's take smoking for example. If you’re a smoker, that does not mean that you’re going to hell because you smoke. If you believe in Jesus, you’re salvation is secure ( John 3:16). I was a smoker, and I enjoyed smoking, but you know what I didn’t enjoy? Coughing, being sick more than others, being shamed into an area outside of everyone else, waking up with the idea of catering to that addiction. I woke up with the idea of what I needed to do to get my first cigarette. I would plan trips based off of where the designated smoking areas were in the airports. I had to lug this idol around everywhere I went, and I had to have breath mints, a lighter, a pack of cigarettes and money to buy more. I was not only a slave to the addiction, but it was work to be a smoker. How about being a football fan? I too am a football fan, but it takes work to do that as well. I would be tapping my toe and looking at my watch in the middle of a sermon at church hoping that I could catch the pregame. You know what goes well with football? Chicken wings, pizza, beer, all sorts of things that are automatically assumed to go along with it. You know what happens when your team loses? It stinks! If you’re tied to the winning or losing of your football team, chances are, you will experience some real disappointment. Imagine the feeling of loss after you invested hours of your time, money on the swag, and years off of your life from overeating and over indulging on something that disappoints. You get to carry the extra weight, the heart disease, the intense range of emotions that come with having football as an idol. There are so many things that can quickly become an idol in all of our lives. Jesus refers to us as sheep and so we are sheep being led in one direction or another. We can quickly get off course in search of something that will lead us into the mouths of hungry wolves. We need to focus on our good shepherd who leads us beside still waters where we can find rest.
Please don't get me wrong. I am not condemning anyone of enjoying things in life. I just want to point out the cost associated with things.
With Jesus in the center of everything in our lives, we can enjoy things with Him. I watched a hockey game with Jesus one time, and as I talked with Him during the game, He pointed out the lives of the players and not the score of the game. Invite Jesus to be a part of everything in your life, and nothing will become an idol outside of Jesus. I eventually got tired of the burden of smoking and I asked Jesus to break the chains of that addiction, and once I did, I never smoked again. It has been over 5 years since I smoked a cigarette. I still watch football, but I am not tied to the outcome like I once was. I do not feel the compulsion to overeat, or get so wrapped up in it, that I exclude Jesus from my life.
Jesus never disappoints, and so we never have to lug Jesus around with us, in fact it's quite the opposite. Jesus carries us, and lifts us up when we are down. He gives us peace when we are in storms, He is the cure for our diseases, and gives us life instead of taking our resources. We may find ourselves in some strange situations when we allow Jesus to lead us, but it always works out in our favor. And we will always find ourselves in a better position than we could have ever imagined. Jesus tells us that His burden is light, and so we can walk upright in our lives because of Him. We do not have to carry the burdens of an idol with us.. We have a choice to not be burdened by anything when we put Jesus in the forefront of all things in our lives. I will leave you with this one amazing declaration by the Lord in Isaiah 46:4 that says: Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Not one other thing, not one idol will ever, ever be able to say the same thing. He carries us in our old age, He sustains us, and He rescues us! Praise God, and let go of all the things that block you from being free in Jesus. This does not mean that you have to give up your favorite football team, or food. It means that when Jesus is in the center of it all, it will not cause you to stumble and fall over, hunched and carrying a burden that does not belong to you. In Jesus name Amen.

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