“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.” – Psalm 68:19-20
The word Lord in the verse above is the Hebrew word Adonai, which can also be translated into English as master. When we insert the word master in the place of Lord, we can spot something that is quite subtle until we switch the words up.
“Praise be to the Master, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.”
The master is daily bearing our burdens. Is not burden-bearing the job of the servant? Isn’t it for the slave to bear the burdens of the master? But here the psalmist declares that Adonai, God our Savior, carries the daily load of His people, His servants. And centuries later, we find Adonai in the flesh entreating any and all to come to Him and exchange their burden for His, for He is gentle and humble in heart, His yoke is easy and His burden light. With such an offer on the table, why oh why do we ever insist on carrying our own load?
But even better than help with our daily burdens, this Adonai, this Master, the psalmist tells us, is a God who saves, a God who provides a condemned humanity an escape from a certain and eternal death. But again: to do it, the Master became the Servant to bear the burden of our salvation.
The Master did not come to be served but to serve.
This little piece of good news when fleshed out can be seen as one of many brilliant ironies written into the story of our faith. But this one is both beautiful and instructive for within it lies a model of servanthood for the people of God to emulate. Fair warning: it’s a high call and we may more often chafe at its cost than appreciate its beauty.
What do you think it cost the One who created the Universe, the Most High God, the Almighty, the Master, what did it cost Him to lower Himself to live within a world sin-soaked and running amuck? At what cost did He kneel before His disciples and tenderly wash their filthy feet? Even the feet of His betrayer?
What must it have cost Him, the Master, the King of Glory, to do it? To serve them, to endure their foolishness and pride, their failure to understand almost everything He did and said? Their arguments about who was the greatest? Their abandonment at the end?
What must it have cost Him, the Master, to be falsely accused by those He came to save, arrested, beaten, stripped naked, and executed for crimes committed not by Him, but by them, giving His life in exchange for theirs?
And what did it cost Him to serve us? So like them in so many ways.
He told us once that it is impossible to serve two masters. What He did not say, though it be equally true, is that it is impossible to serve none. We all serve something. The only question that remains is this: Which master do we serve? Ourselves, with our appetites and addictions? Our anger, fear, bitterness and brokenness? Or, the One with the high call and high cost?
Oh, Master, may we be more and more about You and less and less about us!
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45