1 Samuel 28:5 “When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly.”
Matthew 11:28–30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Observation: The contrast between these two passages is striking, and it proves the point Jesus was making in Matthew 11. Saul was terrified because God had deserted him; even worse, God now opposed Saul precisely because of Saul’s disobedience. Saul was experiencing the result of his wanting to do things himself and was, in effect, carrying the full weight of a burden God had not given him. The security of the nation, indeed, Saul’s life itself, was in Saul’s hands alone, put there by Saul’s earlier disobedience to God’s instruction. Now, he would suffer the consequences of carrying this impossible load; within hours, he and his sons would be dead.
Application: Jesus offers such a better way. When I turn to Him, I give up all my burdens and take on His yoke, which He says is light and easy for me to carry. Why would I not readily agree to such a favorable exchange?
I remember when my granddaughter began wanting to do for herself things I had formerly done for her. She now wanted to climb, on her own, into the impossibly high vehicle where her car seat awaited. “I do it myself,” she would repeatedly say. In that was a desire to learn, to be stretched, and to become independent in a new, small way. But it can be taken to extreme. I must ask myself: what in heaven’s name could possibly make me decide to carry a burden God never designed me to carry? The answer is pride, a mind and heart set on doing things my own way, offense.
When trouble comes into my life I tend to blame God, taking offense at the very One who promises to carry my burdens on my behalf. Jesus literally became my sin; He took on Himself all my pain and suffering that I might be free to enter into His life—eternal life—unfettered and unburdened.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I am Saul-like, when I have gotten myself into such a fix that I see no way out. Jesus, I choose today to lay my heavy burdens at the foot of Your Cross, taking up instead Your easy yoke. Thank You, Lord, for this very good exchange.