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Loading and Bearing

by Tim O'Hearn

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” (Ps 68:19, KJV)

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation.” (Ps 68:19, NASB)

Same verse, two different translations. At least the King James Version, by putting words in italics, admits they supplied some words to make sense, or to meet their particular bias. In the Hebrew, this would read, “Blessed Lord, day day loadeth/beareth, God of salvation.” That explains the confusion. The one word can mean to load or carry a load. Perhaps it is so vague so that we can learn two lessons.

The King James Version says that God loads us. Probably because of theological questions, they add that he loads us with benefits. Better that than to say that he loads us with burdens. After all, “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. (Jas 1:13) It is, therefore, logical that if God loads us down, it is with good things. “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” (Ezek 34:26)

The greatest benefit that God could give is our salvation, and that is what the verse is talking about. God was David’s salvation then. And in Christ he is the salvation of all who will follow him now and forever. If sin separates us from God, then there could be no greater blessing than forgiveness of sin. If we cannot save ourselves, then the blood of Jesus Christ is the blessing above all blessings. That salvation is a daily, continuous thing.

Most translations, however, take the second meaning of the word: who bears our burdens. It seems that in this world so many things become burdens. Sin, of course, is a burden. Sometimes relationships become burdens. Our own choices may become burdens. Suicide is epidemic in America, because people see no other way out from under their burdens. Things pile up, and after a while we think that the burden is so heavy there is no choice but to lay it down. That is when God steps in. The God who is our salvation daily bears our burdens. Each day has its own troubles, but God bears those so they don’t add up.

God established a simple way to bear our burdens. He gave us the church. This is not The Church that some people attend every week or twice a year, where nobody knows anybody, and cares less. This is not the ritual Church where we go to earn salvation, and end up learning that we cannot even do that. No, this is a group of people who are characterized by love. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2) It is the church’s job to be the hands of God that lift our burdens. If we are not doing that, we quite simply are not the church. If we are not allowing the church to do that, we are turning away from God.

Nobody puts the burden on the donkey, then ends up carrying it himself. Nobody but God. He puts blessings on us, then he not only bears our burdens, he puts us on his back, too. Every one of us. Even those who are bearing someone else’s burden. Our God is strong like that. He does it every day.