“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be shaken” (Ps. 55:22)
This is the fifth part in a study on how the first few verses of Psalm 37 give us a five-part prescription for combatting the envy and anxiety that results from comparing ourselves to other people or asking, “why do good things happen to bad people?” For ease of reading we’ve split this long study into individual parts, so I recommend starting with the intro to Psalm 37 (which lays the groundwork), then reading this and the other sections (linked at the end).
Next we look at Psalm 37 verse 5:
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass”
The word for “commit” is interesting, a root word where the literal translation is very broad and figurative, and the word translated “your way” is basically your road, path, mode of action, or course of life.
The way we can understand “commit” in this case is “to roll yourself upon,” like a burden is rolled onto a kneeling camel to be carried away—completely relieving you of that burden and carrying it for you.
We can think about this “burden” we roll onto the God in a couple different ways, one more outward and one more inward:
- Your “road” – your choices, actions, plans, what happens to you, the direction your life takes
- Yourself – your health, needs and wishes, thoughts, emotions, heart, spirit
What it means to commit yourself to God
It’s worth asking, have you committed your “course of life” to God, placed yourself body, mind, and heart FULLY into His hands?
Committing yourself that completely takes an immense amount of trust! And let’s be honest, no one gets it right all the time because we’re all human (I mean, look at how King David handled the Bathsheba/Uriah mess…and he was a “man after God’s own heart!”). But it should be something we consciously think about and strive for.
It’s interesting to note that the main other way that “commit” is used heavily throughout the bible is to commit adultery, fornication, or (more broadly) sin or iniquity. It’s the same idea of giving your whole self to something—body, heart, and mind. We commit or give ourselves to God or to the world, but it can’t be both (Matt. 6:24).
James continues this idea of “rolling our burden upon” God and entrusting our path to Him:
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the right time He may lift you up. Throw all your anxieties [NKJV “cast your cares”] upon Him, because He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:6-7; CJB).
The Adam Clarke commentary notes that when it says “He cares for you”, what we’re really being told is that “He meddles or concerns Himself with the things that interest you”. To me, this idea helps it feel even more active and tangible, more real.
And if we believe that what God says there is true—that He concerns Himself with the things that we care about—then that is an incredibly comforting statement!
So the question is, do you believe that? And if so, how does that change your perspective on the things you’re struggling with? Have you handed over your worries, fears, struggles, and desperate hopes to your Almighty Father?
This segues nicely into how we can think about the second part of Psalm 37:5, where it tells us that if we commit our way to the Lord, “He shall bring it to pass”, or as the CJB says, “He will act”.
“I will act”: Do you trust that God will make the right choices?
That seems like a ridiculous question, and it kind of is. But it starts to get at the heart of our anxieties, and whether we truly trust God (as we explored in part 2).
God tells us that His word “shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please” (Is. 55:1). He takes an active role in the lives of His people. God doesn’t have “oopsies”, and nothing happens without His knowledge and permission.
Here are just a few of the many scriptures we can read to remind us of how God views His role in our lives:
- “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
- “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:28, 31)
- “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31)
Where we struggle, though, is that our expectations and timing don’t align with His, because we can’t see the “long game” the way He can. When it says “He will act”, that is not a promise that we will get everything we want, when we want it.
It IS a promise that He is in control, that He knows what we hope for, that He wants amazing things for us, and that “He will act”. That’s pretty awesome.
So it’s worth coming back to as we wrap up this section…have you committed your “way” to God? What do you dedicate your time, energy, and thoughts towards? What burdens are you trying to lug around yourself? Do you trust God to act on your behalf and direct the course of your life?
“Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed” (Prov. 16:3, AMP)
Finally we’ll look at Ps. 37:7…”Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”
Here are the other studies in this series (this is the fifth):
- Part 1: An Intro & Summary of the Message in Psalm 37 – read first!
- Part 2: Trust in the Lord and do good (Ps. 37:3)
- Part 3: Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness (Ps. 37:3)
- Part 4: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4)
- Part 6: Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him (Ps. 37:7)