In the last month, God put something on my heart. This past Sunday was the day to do it. From the moment I woke up, God allowed me to physically feel the weight of my burden. I had an ache in my chest – a heartache, I guess – one that pressed down more and more throughout the day. Late in the day, I finally surrendered myself to the burden God had placed on my heart. ‘Surrendered’ does not carry a positive connotation in our culture. Society tells us that only the weak – the powerless – surrender, and yet in surrendering to God’s will in that moment, empowerment is what I felt.
Nahum begins the book that bears his name with these words: “The burden of Nineveh” (Na 1:1a). Like my burden, I first read this to be something that weighed heavily on Nahum, but when I looked up the Hebrew word Nahum used, it was not a “burden” in the sense of being weighed down. His burden was “the thing to be lifted up” (Na 1:1a, Amplified).
Years before God gave Nahum words to speak, Isaiah prophesied about the coming judgment on the Assyrian nation for its oppression of God’s people. One verse stuck out to me as particularly interesting – given the opening words of Nahum’s book: “And it shall be in that day that the burden of [the Assyrian] shall depart from your shoulders…” (Isa 10:27a). (For those of you who aren’t sure how we got from Nineveh to Assyria … we have been in Assyria all along. Nineveh was a great city in the nation of Assyria.) The burden would depart from Judah’s shoulders when Nahum lifted it up to God.
In the Bible the shoulders are a symbol of power and strength, the second half of Nahum 1:1, tells us that this book was a “vision” (i.e. a revelation from God). In lifting his burden from his shoulders, Nahum himself was given power from God – power to prophesy regarding future events concerning the nation of Assyria and its coming destruction.
There are times in our lives when we feel that we carry the weight of the world on our own shoulders. The problem is that God did not create us to do this. If we insist on carrying our own burdens, He will allow us to feel the weight of it until we come to a point of lifting it up to Him through Jesus Christ. I wonder what burdens are weighing you down – burdens from which God desires to release you. Lift them up to Him today. He’s big enough!
“Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your
concerns once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares
about you watchfully.”