HaShem desires each of us to bear a burden for Him, for His will to be done.
Perhaps there is a desire or yearning of His heart that He has put on your heart. Have any of you experienced something like this? Once you receive a prophetic burden of the Ruach, it weighs upon your soul, wells up as a passion that longs to burst forth into prophetic words, prophetic prayer and prophetic action.
The Bible exists because anointed people had a burden to write down the vision (and translate it!).
The Messianic Jewish movement exists because anointed people, mostly young people, had a burden to proclaim that it’s Jewish to believe in Yeshua and live our lives, Jewishly. Beit Simcha has a vision for covenant community because a few of us—I hope not just myself—have a burden to express the unity of Messiah’s body with kavanah (with intention), every day.
Do you have a prophetic, spiritual burden? If you know HaShem, do you know that he has a purpose for you life? You are no longer alive just for yourself, or just to get by, or just for the moment.
You are alive because there is a purpose and destiny and calling on your life. V’eemru?
If if you know it, are you passionate about iit? Stir up the gift within you, move the coals around so that the fire of the Spirit may burn hot and bright within you! V’eemru? One of the Hebrew words translated as burden is masa—from a root meaning to bear or lift up. In the physical sense of masa, work animals bear burdens. Donkeys bear burdens in Ex 23:5, mules in 2 Kings 5:17, camels in 2 Kings 8:9. Jeremiah 17:21ff. rebukes those “carrying burdens on Shabbat … through the gates of Jerusalem.” Neh. 13:13‑15 also condemn tradesmen for carrying burdens of produce into the city on Shabbat. These precedents became the basis for rabbinical rulings—even the burden of a shofa— on Shabbat.
IMHO, the purpose of Shabbat is not just to avoid work, but to worship HaShem! V’eemru? Still, that’s why I urged the congregation at our semiannual meeting last week to try to avoid everyday commerce on Shabbat. We don’t have to be legalistic about it. Yet we can share in the burden that Jeremiah and Nehemiah had to sanctify the Shabbat. V’eemru?
Then word masa takes on the sense of a spiritual service in Numbers 4:31-32, when HaShem commanded the sons of Levi (Levites) to carry the Tent of Meeting around: “This is their burden as they serve at the Tent of Meeting: to carry the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts and bases, as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, ropes, all their equipment and everything related to their use. Assign to each man the specific things he is to carry.” The masa of Levitical ministry is thus both a physical burden to carry and a service unto Hashem.
Who carries the burden of Levitical ministry among us today?
I am so thankful to Nydia for her burden for setting up the sanctuary and also to Sue K., Nick & Pericles for their burden to prepare the sanctuary with prayer before the service begins. V’eemru? I am so grateful to Denise for her burden to get our oneg ministry in order, and also to Lil. In Numbers 11:11-12, Moshe speaks of the masa he bears in his soul, emotionally and spiritually, when he complains to God about the burden of all the people that God has laid upon him:
Moses asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers?”
In response to this prayer, in Numbers 11:17, Jethro offers some wise counsel to Moshe, urging him to let other men help “bear the burden of the people with you.” How many think that was good advice? Moshe Rabaynu followed it, and I try to do so, too! In Deut 1:12, Moses urges another generation of Israel in the wilderness to appoint wise men to help him with the burden of judging their disputes. In these cases, Moshe=s burden was not a literal one, but a weighty moral responsibility.
It is one that your Rabbi sometimes feels as well… and that’s why I am so grateful for our zakenim and leadership team, as well as those of you who serve Hashem in various ministries. Heavier are the burdens that we carry alone, the daily, mundane burdens of our bodies, schlepping your weight around on crutches, our mortal bodies breaking down from the stresses and tsuris of life, struggling to restore order in our own lives.
How many of you struggle to bear these burdens every day? In Psalm 38:4, David grieves that his sins are a heavy burden. “For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.” In Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan pictures sin as a great burden on the pilgrim’s back. Has sin ever felt like a burden to you, making it difficult to pray or have peace with G-d? Yeshua removes that burden from our shoulders, when we confess our sins to Him, trusting that he forgives us, and purifies us from all sin by his blood (1 John 1:11) Though you may stumble again and again, Yeshua has born that burden for you, once and for all.
The Lord knows the burdens that you bear.
Psalm 68 climaxes when David realizes this truth, in verses 19-20: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. <Selah> Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.” The power and grace of God is available to save us, and to help us with our human burdens. You only need to let go, in humility, and He will lift you up. How many of you know this? There are burdens of the soul, entangled within our bodies, yet God also relieves these burdens, when we trust him, completely, when we, like David, sing his praises.
Yeshua doesn’t want us to worry or to fear. Let Him bear those burdens for you. V’eemru? Those who are being made holy every day live in His presence, praising and singing for joy, so that they are never overwhelmed by the masa, the burden of life. For we know that Messiah Yeshua is sharing the yoke with us, so we can shift any burden we cannot bear to Him. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” V”eemru? Messiah Yeshua came to take away the burden of sin—you don’t need to carry guilt around.
Because of His atoning blood, those who trust in Him have a clear conscience. V’eemru? Moreover, Messiah Yeshua came to lighten the burdens of our daily lives. He does not want us to be anxious about the cares of this world, because He will take care of us. If Abba can take care of the flowers and the birds, He will surely take care of you? V’eemru? Therefore, let go of these mundance burdens—to Messiah, they are light and momentary. like Then, like Pilgrim, these burdens will fall away from you, in His mercy, in His presence.
Then you will be ready to pick up a better burden—the burden of HaShem, for His glory! V’eemru? The word masa develops another meaning: the burden of a prophet. So Nahum 1:1 begins “The burden—masa—about Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum. Or Habakkuk 1:1 begins, “The burden—masa—which was the vision of Habakkuk. How many of you know that a prophetic vision can feel like a weighty burden? Many modern versions translate masa as oracle, but oracle doesn’t quite capture how the nevi’im experienced the weight of prophecy.
The great prophet Isaiah chronically begins a prophetic vision, by calling it masa, a burden: So 13:1 begins: “the burden [oracle] of Babylon,” 15:1 is “the burden of Moab,” 17:1, “burden of Damascus” 19:1, “the burden of Egypt”, 22:1, “the burden of the valley of vision”), etc., etc. By Jeremiah’s time the prophetic sense of burden had clearly become an abused cliche. In Jeremiah, in 23:33, the prophet replies to people who ask, “What is the burden of Adonai?” by declaring ironically, “You are the burden of Adonai—and I will cast you off!”
Similarly, Lamentations 2:14 condemns the false burdens of vain prophets. The weight of a prophetic masa is not physical but spiritual. Isa. 30:27 brings this out: “Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden of it is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire.” A prophetic burden weighs upon the prophet until it seems to burn within him, demanding utterance. Jeremiah 20:9 vividly describes God’s prophetic word in his heart as “a burning fire shut up in his bones” that he could not forbear or hold in. Has anyone here ever felt anything like this burden? Has anyone felt like it can be a bear to bear it? What about in the Brit Chadashah? Are there prophetic burdens in the New Covenant?
When Yeshua rebukes the Pharisees (in Matt 23:4, Luke 11:46) for laying heavy burdens of legalistic practices upon men’s shoulders. In contrast, Yeshua says, in Matthew 11:30, “my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” Why was the Pharisees burden is heavy, while Yeshua’s burden is light? Was it because Yeshua was abandoning Torah? No, Yeshua came to fulfill it. Yeshua was critiquing of a tendency to overemphasize externals—the fence around the Torah— rather than the heart of Torah, which is a living relationship with Our Father. Yeshua was offering something bear away the burden of transgressions which weigh upon bodies as well as the souls of His people, and which hinders them for bearing the burden of holiness.
When you walk with Yeshua, He offers to let you bear just a small bit of his burden with Him. There are, then, at least three different kinds of burdens. First, burdens of the body, carried around as yokes by animals or as pains on human shoulders. Secondly, there are burdens of the soul—the anxious turmoil and troubles of our lives.Thirdly, there are burdens of the Spirit—a prophetic vision that God lays upon our hearts HaShem wants to share with those who are willing a visionary burden of His own heart. Sometimes a prophet or intercessor bears a burden for others, a deep passion that may burn like a fire in your heart—all you can do is pray until the Ruach comes. How Yeshua yearns (in Matt 23:37-38) to gather the children of Jerusalem in his arms:
“Yerushalayim! Yerushalayim! You kill the prophets! You stone those who are sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children, just as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you refused! Look! God is abandoning your house to you, leaving it desolate. For … you will not see me again until you say, ‘Baruch haba b’shem Adonai.’” But they are not willing. The Lord did not and will not impose his will on us. A burden of the Lord is His will be done, His Kingdom come—if and when our wills cooperate!
That’s why a burden of the Lord can seem hard and burdensome: Human will is involved (not to mention Satanic resistance!) He wants our free, human wills to be joined to His, so that His will may be done. This may take time and effort, both in intercession and action. The burden of the Lord can be frustrating — it requires perseverance. V’eemru? Many years ago, I went out for a walk and was praying about this burden of HaShem.
I noted that I was feeling something like an anxiety, a burning in my chest. I turned to the Lord, and He said to me, this is the burden of the Lord. This was remarkable to me, because I think I had thought of it as just anxiety. (It’s important to discern the difference between Godly burdens and worldly anxiety.) The Holy Spirit asked me, so, why do you lead a Messianic congregation?
I answered–perhaps too glibly–because I wanted it. Immediately He pointed out, No,
not because I want it, for if left to my own desires, I would never be leading a congregation. This was true. I may have wanted a Messianic congregation, but not enough to start one, let alone lead it myself!
No, I do it because the Lord has laid a burden for it upon my heart.
I labor under it, not because I chose to (though I do have to choose to), but because the Lord has revealed his desire, and I obeyed him. So now I share a bit of His burden. I have another long-standing burden, born when I was a new believer, for covenant relationships: Believers loving the Lord and each other, wholeheartedly, bearing each other burdens, daily. Yeshua’s desire is that his followers be spiritual friends—He said (John 15:15), “I no longer call you servants… but I have called friends,” and He said (John 15:13), “There is no greater love than laying down one’s life for his friends.”
Such friends of Yeshua are committed to each other the way Yeshua is committed to us—loving one another so much they would lay down their lives if necessary. In Galatians 6:2, Paul urges us to bear each other’s burdens. The burden of Messiah can gives us the strength, which we can exert by faith. V’eemru? This is a burden He has given me, but I cannot bear it alone. How many of you will bear it, too?
So I have a burden from Yeshua to experience greater fulfillment of covenant community. Lord willing, I would actually like to see a covenant community built on Gangewere ground. John Glueck had a prophetic vision of yours truly sitting on a porch there, with many others around—it is like the prophetic longing for “everyone living under his own vine and fig tree.” That’s what I hope we can build together: a life lived well together, and which attracts others.
This is my burden, but it is more than I can bear alone. How many of you will bear it with me? If so, then may this burden weigh upon you, may it well up as a passion of the Ruach, yearnig to burst forth into prophetic words, prophetic prayer and prophetic action. Do you have your own prophetic, spiritual burden? If so, write it down.
Richard and Sandy have a burden for the homeless. Tim and Beckie have a burden for healing hears throgh Theophostic Prayer Ministry. Nancy has a burden to reach Jewish neighborhoods with prayer stations. Pericles has a burden for reaching Spanish-speaking people with Jewish background or calling. Barbara has a burden for reach Native Americans and to intercede for those who are hurting.
I’m sure there are many other prophetic burdens among us. When you get a prophetic burden, you want others to join you. That’s why it’s prophetic! Again, Galatians 6:2 urges us to bear each other’s burdens—especially prophetic burdens!
I urge you all to help bear the prophetic burdens of others around you.
When we do, Yeshua will give us all grace. V’eemru?
If there’s anyone here who has surrendered your life to the Lord, I want you to know that there is nothing better, nothing sweeter, than to share a burden with the Lord.
It gives you life eternal meaning and purpose. A burden of the Lord is visionary. He has a vision for all humanity; and He has a vision for you in particular. The vision and calling for Andrew is different from the vision and calling for John. V’eemru? Yet they are both here, as members of this one body. You are no longer alive just for yourself, or just to get by, or just for the moment.
You are alive because there is a purpose and destiny and calling on your life. V’eemru? If if you know it, are you passionate about it? Stir up the gift within you, move the coals around so that the fire of the Spirit may burn hot and bright within you! V’eemru?