Monday, March 23, 2020
DEVOTIONAL TEXT: Hebrews 4:16
I want to talk to you today about dealing with burdens. Most of my life I have heard the vintage Christian adage, “God will never put more on you than you can bear.” Calvary, that sounds comforting and may give one a temporary sense of relief; it’s just not all true. There are times when God allows your knees to buckle under a load that you cannot bear. There are some people that have snapped, crackled and popped under what they could not bear. However, what you do with what you cannot bear makes the difference.How do you respond to life’s overwhelming demands, unforeseen tribulations, circumstances or people that seek your assistance, advice or assurance? Every maturing Christian will ultimately experience times when life demands more than he or she can supply. Yet, how one responds to life’s demanding episodes is crucial. Although some people are invasive, insensitive and indifferent there are others that simply just need your help. Circumstances that demand more of our time and attention are not always avoidable.Why are there times when we simply do not have the supply of strength, patience, compassion or energy to meet the demands that life brings our way in this Covid-19 culture?Liten Calvary, the answer is not always clear but the solution is found in God’s Holy Word. Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”The critical question is what do you do when God puts more on you than you can bear?
The author of this epistle writes to new Christians at a time when they were at a point of abandoning the Christian faith altogether because of persecution. The unknown writer of this text is a frustrated pastor preaching to his congregation to encourage them not to throw in the towel under tremendous pressure. In the previous verses he gave an extensive plea using the example of Israel in the wilderness. They missed “rest” in God. They lived on the edge without not just eternal peace but earthly peace. This pastor/author used “rest” as a picture of their salvation. The pastor was correcting the congregation because of their belief and disobedience and warned them that many of them would be like the Children of Israel wondering in the wilderness missing the promises of God. His challenge to them was to respond in faith to tribulations and be obedient to God and His Word will expose their sin and shortcomings and show them the true way.Martin Luther, the reformist (not MLK) said, “After the writer terrified us he comforted us; after pouring wine into our wounds, he now pours oil” The pastor/author now shows us how to deal with our sins as well as the pressures that this Covod-19 world can bring our way. He explained that Jesus is the answer for all of our problems. Jesus is Great, Guiltless and full of Grace.Great: He is the Great High Priest!Guiltless: He understands the pressure!Gracious: He is willing to help us when we need it!Verse 16 is an open invitation attached with a promise. It’s like someone inviting you to an exclusive event with guaranteed perks. Lets walk through three movements of the text so the next time you are under more than you can bear you can adjust.
- Approach Means Everything: Let US does not include everyone. “Us” implies born again believers in Jesus Christ. We have access to God without a priest or pastor. We can come boldly and never feel ashamed or insecure coming before God for help. WE HAVE ACCESS! In times of overwhelming burdens the Christian must turn to prayer. Approaching God in prayer and tribulations are connected. The enemy will try to discourage you from prayer with guilt but we should never lose sight of where we are approaching. The Throne of Grace is not a place of fear but of grace. This saying is really an oxymoron. In the ancient world thrones were forbidden by sovereign authority. One could not approach a throne at their own volition. If you approached the throne and the king did not hold out his scepter you were immediately killed. You couldn’t come to the throne for sympathy or bring heartaches and disappointments. However, the Christian has access to the throne of grace whenever the need arises.
- Recognize What You Do Not Have: There are times when we just do not have what it takes to respond to life’s demands but God has an abundant supply of grace and mercy to augment and supplement the areas of our lives where we are depleted. Have you ever been there? You can easily run out of patience and get overwhelmed by life’s demands. These words mercy and grace are somewhat different. Mercy has special reference to the tenderness and kindness of God as it relates to our sins. Grace refers to our undeserved favor from God despite our sins.
- Receive Help In The Time Of Need: Help is a common need. There comes a time when your strength fades and you will need help. You can’t put on or act as though you have it altogether when you are crumbling under the weights and pressures of life.
DR. MOSES’ ILLUSTRATION
A college student came home and had changed. He thought he knew more than everyone. He went to the church picnic and enjoyed three plates of food. Afterwards, he made his way down to the pond but before he got in an old deacon told him, “Son let your food digest!” He brushed the old deacon off and dismissed his advice as “old and foagy.” He concluded that he had risen above their foolish advice and didn’t need any of their help. He jumped in the pond and began to show off his swimming techniques. After a few minutes a cramp hit him in the middle of the deep pond and he went down. When he came up for breath he said, “Assistance please!” They thought he learned new words and began to say, “Boy he really has learned big talk down there!” He went down again for a little longer and came up and said again, “Assistance please!” By this time a crowd gathered and they really didn’t know why he kept saying these words but were impressed by them. After the third time he stayed down a bit longer but when he surfaced this time they could see the distress on his face. He didn’t murmur “Assistance please” but this time he hollered, “HELP!!!”Why is this devotional for you Calvary? There comes a time when we all need some help; and the good news is we have some place to Go when we are in need. When the demand outweighs the supply in our lives, God is available. Unfortunately, we hold on to our burdens when we can release them into the Hands of God.Why would God put more on us than we can bear?
- AWARENESS: There are times when we literally get beside ourselves and feel as though what we have we earned it and where we have climbed in life is by our own free will and accord. Covid-19 is the time when the weight of the world can fall upon your shoulders so you can understand who is really in charge; a health, financial crisis, a flesh crisis or a friend crisis can wake you up. It is when we have hit rock bottom that we call on the name of God. God is saying at those times, “Now that I got your attention…”
- ACCESS: We have access to the throne of Grace. Jesus died on the cross of Calvary and the veil of the temple was rent in two. This meant that we no longer had to go through a priest to talk to God. We have access ourselves. We sing the popular song, “Take Me To The King” but I don’t need you to take me to the king. I can go myself!
- ACTIVITY: What you do with your burden will determine how long you are under it. We have a responsibility to cast our burdens before the Lord when they become unbearable. John Piper said, “Prayer is our walkie-talkie,” to get the supplies we need in the time of need. Do you need patience? Have a little talk with Jesus. Do you need compassion? Have a little talk with Jesus. Your prayer life should pick up during thistime.
All of God’s Children at times have more put on them than they can bear. The prophet Jeremiah wanted to quit preaching and said, “I’m going to give it up!” Elijah told God, “I have had enough. Take my life.” Moses said, “I cannot bear all these people by myself.” The psalms are filled with stories of God’s people that were under a heavy load and God lightened up their heavy load.We can take our cue from Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane God put more on Him then he could bear but Jesus prayed and said, “If thou be willing remove this cup!” God didn’t remove it but He opened up His storehouse and commissioned His angels to give Jesus what He needed. Prayer may not change the situation but God’s storehouse will supply you assistance in the time of need.The hymnologist pined, “I must tell Jesus all of my burdens. I cannot bear these burdens alone.” Joseph Schrivens penned, “What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and grief’s to bear!” The late Father Hayes of Chicago and Cosmopolitan sung, “Jesus Can Work it OUT!”Beloved, please understand that God will place more in you than you can bear to test your faith but prayer is the lynchpin in relieving your burdens. Covid-19 is a test! Trust Jesus with your HEAVY LOADS!
Dr Oscar T. Moses
Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
 Phillip Hughes Commentary, Commentary on the Epistle of Hebrews [Eerdmans], p.169