The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. (Malachi 1:1)
The Weight Of The Word
The burden of the Lord is a manner which the prophets used to describe the message they preached to the people of God. It was a term generally used of a weighty, threatening prophecy and considered an oracle from the Lord. The preaching of the prophets was during a time of great upheaval in the nation of Israel. Isaiah used the burden of the Lord often in his prophecy of Israel and the degradation it had become as a nation with impending destruction. He referred to the burden against the nations around Israel with God’s wrath coming upon them for their evil deeds. Nahum wrote of the burden against Nineveh and Habakkuk of the burden which he was compelled to write. Zechariah brought the message of God to Israel as the burden of the word of the Lord. The final scroll in the ancient canon begins with the burden of the Lord’s word to Israel by Malachi.
Truth has never been convenient and popular. Like a millstone or heavy weight, the word of the Lord hangs heavy on the hearts of those who cannot abide in its doctrine. Jeremiah spoke of the impact of the word of God upon the hearts of unbelievers like the chaff blown away by the wind. Truth was like wheat falling to the ground possessed of substance and value. The word of the Lord is the chaff to those who are unwilling to accept divine truth but nourishment like golden wheat for hearts that are open and receptive to the manna of God. There is no difference in the word of the Lord as it remains the same. It is in the reception that a man accepts or rejects the nature of God’s truth. For one, it becomes a burden hard to bear. They are unwilling to accept the word of God. Their hearts are filled with the carnality of human wisdom, allowing no room for the seed of the Lord to grow in their hearts. For many desperate souls, the word of God was a reproach that found themselves so offended by the message they were unable to bear it. The truth remains the word of God is written to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. Following Jesus requires a burden, but it is light and easy to bear. There has never been a time God has required anything of man to hard and impossible to reach.
The reaction to the word of God has been the deciding factor for those lost and saved. When a young man came to Jesus seeking eternal life, he was unwilling to carry the burden of truth. Jesus told him to sell all he had, give to the poor and follow Him. He refused. The Jews of Jesus’ day would not acknowledge Him as the Son of God even in the face of the miracles and teachings of the Son of God. They killed Him on a cross. While many obeyed the gospel in the early days of the church, many more rejected and refused to believe Jesus was the Son of God because the word was a burden they could not bear. Obeying the gospel is a heavy burden. Jesus described it as a cross to bear. When a man is unwilling to pay the price for salvation, there can be no hope. If he views service to God as too high a price to pay, he will refuse and be lost. Like in the days of Malachi and the prophets, the word of the Lord is a burden.
Religious groups today treat the word of God disrespectfully when they refuse to follow its teachings. God’s word is written in a manner a man can read and understand the Father’s will. The word of God can become a burden too heavy to bear, and a man refuses to obey; or it can become a burden that releases the guilt of sin from a downtrodden heart with joy in eternal life. Malachi’s message was a stern message to preach and harder to accept. Those who changed their lives because of his message learned to value the burden of the Lord. The people who were offended by his message refusing to change their hearts learned the lesson of God’s wrath. God’s word: is it a burden you want or one you refuse?