I’m still in Isaiah 58 🙂 Want to visit this passage with me again?
Is not this the fast that I have chosen:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the heavy burdens,
and to let the oppressed go free,
and break every yoke? (Is. 58:6 NKJV)
Such powerful words. In response, I prayed to my Father: “Lord, I do pray for bonds to be loosed, burdens to be eased, oppression to open to freedom, yokes broken…. I pray that You would show up and accomplish what we cannot accomplish without You on our side. I pray that we would have the boldness to step out in faith and confidence, moving us forward to the very thing You are calling us toward…..”
your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard (58:8)
The phrase “your righteousness shall go before you” made my curiosity spark. That pronoun “your” wasn’t referring to the Lord, wasn’t referring to something belonging to Him. That pronoun “your” was referring to me, to something belonging to me. MY righteousness. My go-to is my old Strong’s Concordance when I want to dig, so here’s what I found there:
righteousness: Strong’s #6664: justice, rightness, what is right or just normal
(Let’s not skim over this phrase from the Strong’s: “what is right or just normal”. You know, what is found in the Word of God is what is normal and right – we ought to get used to this prescribed way of right-living until it is our normal too!)
from Strong’s #6663: to be right, to make right, to cleanse, clear self, be or do justice, be or do rightly
Made me think: if it is MY righteousness that will clear the path before me, and if I believe my righteousness is rooted in the Lord…. As I do the next right thing, obeying the Lord, doing the best I can with the insight and knowledge I have, continuing to grow in Him – then the path is being cleared before me. Seeking the Lord more fervently makes the path more clear. As I am doing what is right, I am believing the the Lord to cover my back (be my “rear guard” like 58:8 tells me). I am believing the Lord to come when I call. I am believing the Lord to break yokes and free oppressive situations in my life and relieve heavy burdens.
That’s MY part: growing and going in righteousness. The Lord’s part is ALL the other benefits there. 🙂
The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (58:11)
I returned to prayer, with a little more desire to see the Truth of the Word come alive in my life: “Lord, I pray to You because I am in desperate need of Your continual guidance. When I am in drought, even now, I need to BE a spring of water. I don’t only need to HAVE a spring, I need to BE the spring, rushing waters of life coming from Your fullness in me. Lord, You know where I am bound. Lord, You know where I am oppressed. Lord, You know where I am yoked up in something You didn’t ordain in my life.”
Thinking about unhealthy yokes and burdens, thinking about being entangled, bound in areas where I was not meant to be bound, it came to me: It is a wrong thought to expect the Lord to send blessing to an area He did not ordain. The Lord’s blessing begins at obedience. The Lord will not yoke Himself to our mistakes or to our past.
If your burden is heavy, it may be that you are in a season of growth and the Lord is there with you. Continue practicing righteousness, trusting Him to be there when you call, trusting Him to have your back. He will give you strength and He will give you peace. However, there’s another side: if your burden is heavy, it may be that you have taken on something that God did not ordain in your life. If this is the case, have the boldness to step away from it, ask forgiveness if you need to, and draw on the Lord’s strength to turn back to the right path.
If our burden is heavy, it is time to evaluate the burden. Ask yourself and be honest: did God tell you to carry this burden? Is God giving you grace for this hardship? Sometimes the load is heavy AND the Lord is gracious to you AND you know you are making progress. A struggle can be good for us. A struggle can help us grow. The presence of a struggle does not mean the absence of the Lord.
However – sometimes the load is heavy and while the Lord is present (He’s always with you), He is not necessarily yoking Himself to the burden. Why not? Perhaps you have taken on a burden that was not yours to carry. Perhaps God did not ask you to labor under that thing, He did not assign those people to you, He did not ask you to accrue that debt or make that investment, He did not ask you to make those commitments….. ideas that were GOOD, but were not necessarily GOD.
Being able to evaluate your burden, and being able to either trust the Lord in it or let it go entirely – that’s not easy. Being yoked with God is a treasure. Praying you find that balance today –