Is Christianity Burdensome?
In Isaiah 46, Isaiah points to the idolatrous gods of the Babylonians. Of course, Israel’s problem was being conformed to the religions of the world (cf. Rom. 12:2) and leaving their service and worship of their God to serve and worship idolatry. Nevertheless, notice what the prophet of God says about worshipping idols:
Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast. They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity. (Isa. 46:1-2)
Isaiah portrays a practical and realistic picture of idolatry. They had to carry these physically made images with them on their shoulders, on their wagons, and upon their beasts of burden. Wherever they went, in order to bring their gods with them, they had to carry them physically. Could we imagine having to strap our idol on our back and carry it around? What good would that be to us when we find ourselves in difficulties? We would be carrying a load all the time! Thus, their idols became physical burdens. These should symbolize the fact that these false gods, who were burdens to them, created a religion that was a burden itself. Their religion was a burden and a load to carry. Being a burden itself, it could never lift their burdens. It could never save them from captivity.
Then, Isaiah sets forth the contrast between these idols and the one true God of the universe:
Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (Isa. 46:3-4)
Look at the words “borne,” “carried,” “carry,” and “bear.” In contrast with idolatrous gods, which would become a burden to them when they carried them, God said that He carried Israel—He carries His people. In other words, God intended true religion (Christianity today) to be a lift and not a load. God has always intended true religion found in the Bible to carry man, and not vice versa. In addition, we see another contrast in that while man fashioned the idolatrous gods of Babylon, God intends through true religion to fashion, remold and remake man. Christianity fashions our character (Matt. 5:3-9).
How many people look upon their religion as a load to carry? Is Christianity something that carries us and lifts us up and relieves our loads and burdens, or has it become a load and a burden that we carry? Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).