Genesis 22:3 “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”
The word “early” in Hebrew is ‘shawkam’ can be taken to mean ‘shoulder a burden,’ but literally means to ‘load up’ like putting on the back of man or animal.
A phrase that we often hear is that “good intentions are like crying babies in the church; they must be carried out.” The start of this coming year will be like so many past years as we will come and make our resolutions, our good intentions, but will we carry them out?
We start out well, but then soon lose interest and fall by the wayside and our good intentions get put on the shelf. Why is this? Like Daniel Lapin says, “The nature of man is always down, like gravity it tries to keep us on the ground; so it is with our nature.”
When we see a plane in the air it is a beautiful thing and the reason it looks beautiful is because it is applying the laws of God. So, it is with us and when we reach back into the wisdom of God’s Word, we too can fly in the sense of carrying out our intentions. However, we become discouraged when we see that we fail in keeping our intentions. We find that procrastination is easier than pushing through or ‘shouldering the burden.’ Or, like the writer of the Hebrews says, that we have a tendency to drift with the flow rather than go against the current.
We often try to escape into drugs, alcohol, sex or something else, but this is not the answer. This is where Abraham in the Bible can teach us about perseverance, according to Rabbi Lapin. Abraham awoke early. We saw already that “he woke early” is related to the word for ‘shoulder.’ The two of them bring out the idea of ‘to shoulder a burden.’
What does this mean and how do we apply it to our situation? Abraham woke early to carry out, or shoulder the burden, that God had given him. WE too must wake early to carry out our good intentions (or what God is giving us to do).
By waking early to do what must be done (with good intentions) we begin to experience life more fully and a sense that we are overcoming.
Early in my Christian ministry I was with a team in Spain. One brother came to me and told me in no uncertain terms that if I did not get up early and have my quiet time that I would not be able to make it. This spoke to me and I decided early in my Christian life and ministry that I would wake up early and meet with the Lord for my instructions for the day, and carry my burden for the day.
Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
So, like Abraham who woke up early to carry out his burden, and in this case Abraham found God helping him by supplying a substitute sacrifice in place of Isaac his son.
So it is with us when we wake up early to be with God so we can carry out our burden – that we too have a ‘burden carrier’ with us: THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.