Mark D. Roberts


Give your burdens to the LORD,
     and he will take care of you.
     He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

But something is lost in this more contemporary rendering. The Hebrew verb translated here as “give” (shalakh)
and in other translations as “cast,” is not the simple Hebrew word
meaning “to give.” Rather, it’s basic sense is “to throw” or “to hurl.”
It was used, for example, in the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Genesis 37:24 says that they “threw” him into a cistern, using the verb
shalakh. Even the verb “cast,” which is stronger than “give,”
doesn’t quite get the sense of the original Hebrew. Casting could be
too calm, like fishing in some idyllic forest stream. I prefer a more
robust “throw” or “hurl” or “toss” for shalakh.

use of this verb in Psalm 55:22, therefore, paints a powerful picture
of entrusting our burden to God. We’re invited, not just to hand over
our concerns nicely, but to hurl them upon the Lord. It’s as if we’re
shouting, “I’ve had it with this burden. I can’t handle it myself.
Here, Lord, you take it!” In throwing our burden to the Lord, we’re
really letting go of it. Once we’ve tossed it to him, it’s gone. It’s
no longer ours to carry.

Notice the promise of Psalm 55:22. It
does not read, “Toss your burden on the LORD and he will take care of
it.” This is implied, surely. But the text says, “Toss your burden on
the LORD and he will take care of you.” God is there, not
only to help with our challenges, but to sustain and nurture us. What a
wonderful promise, and an even more wonderful reality.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are you carrying any burdens today that you need to toss at the Lord? What is keeping you from doing this?

O Lord, how good you are to me, again and again and again. Thank you
for this marvelous invitation and promise in Psalm 55:22. Thank you for
encouraging me to toss my burdens on you. I cannot carry them alone.
Indeed, I’m not supposed to. You are there to bear my burdens with me,
and, indeed, to care for me in the process.

Help me, Lord, to
trust you with everything in my life. May I trust you especially with
those things about which I am apt to worry. By your Spirit, help me to
hurl my burdens to you. May I only pick up that which you give me to

All praise be to you, gracious God, because you carry my burden . . . and because you carry me. Amen.


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