"The Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders." 1 Chronicles 15:15
In an age that has perfected mechanical devices of all kinds for carrying loads, we are apt to forget the homely wisdom of the Yiddish proverb: God gave burdens, also shoulders. The Levites counted it an honor and a privilege to carry the ark of the covenant upon their shoulders.
The shoulders of God's people of old were also for bearing suffering, as the psalmist declared: "Yet for Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered" (Psalm 44:22). In the New Testament God's people are also encouraged to bear sufferings for Christ's sake, yes, to find joy in being exposed to "the painful trial" through which they are participating in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Discipleship under Jesus is a burden which is not to be escaped. To be mocked, abused, and rejected because we walk with our Lord is to share Christ's suffering. None of this is easy, but it is all necessary. For this God has given us the shoulders of faith -- of faith in Christ's sufferings for us. Our faith is lifted by the promise: "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:30).
God's grace is sufficient for us today, as it has always been for those chosen by him to extend His Word and work into the world.
PRAYER: Lord, give us shoulders equal to Your burdens. Amen.
(Taken from "Words of Promise," copyright 1996 (out of print), Concordia Publishing House. For information on other devotional materials, call 1-800-325-3040.)
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