Learning how to “roll”? Well, that is exactly what the amazing and beloved promise in Psalm 37:4-5 can teach us to do:
Before getting into the “rolling” stuff— let’s, first of all, clear up a common misuse of this promise. Consider this: if God were to always give us our heart’s desire, what a mess we would be in today! So many misguided desires fill our hearts! Whew, what a disaster, right? God knows what is best for us. A more accurate rendering of this verse could actually be: “Delight yourself only in the Lord…” In other words, God wisely puts the condition on this promise of giving us the desires of our hearts: we must choose to delight ourselves only in the Lord. Logically, then, if the sum total of all our heart’s desires is for God Himself, then the conditions of the promise have been met – and He will give us as much as we could ever want — as much of Himself as we could ever want!! That is what is best for us! More of Him! What better petition could we ever bring before God than that we might be able to receive more and more of Him?
Romans 8:32 is another well known, but often misused portion of Scripture which also gives us a often-quoted promise:
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Just two words — “with Him” — make all the difference and yet it is these important expression which is so often neglected! On any given occasion, when we fully trust God for all of our daily needs (material, physical, mental, and spiritual), He sees to it that we get a “portion” of Himself also! Taking God at His Word, and simply believing that “He shall bring it to pass” is what pleases and delights Him the most.
BUT…let’s get back on topic — back to the “rolling” stuff….
Psalm 37:4-5 presents us with one more extremely important condition for us to obtain the “desires of our heart”:
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).
This second condition placed upon this promise is that we must “commit” our way unto the Lord which, by implication, involves absolute abandonment and trust in Him. The word “commit” in the original Old Testament language of Hebrew is “galal” which means “to roll”. The same Hebrew word is translated as “roll” in most other places (cf. Gen 29:8; Josh 5:9; Josh 10:18; Prov 26:27; Isa 34:4).
Think about it… Rolling an object is what we would probably choose to do when that object is too heavy to be picked up manually and carried. There are so many “objects” in our lives which we cannot carry. So many burdens, so many cares, so many difficulties and hardships (ours and also those of our loved ones around us) … what can we do?
It’s so simple!
Just ROLL them unto the Lord!
How simple life becomes, when we learn to roll all of our troubles into the Everlasting Arms of our heavenly Father. Hey, and by the way — His Everlasting are not far away, they are [surprise!] right underneath us:
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” (Deu 33:27).
It’s not all that difficult rolling something right off our backs into the Hand which is already holding us!
The story is told of one elderly woman in a country where the automobile was a very uncommon sight. On a regular basis, she walked several miles to the market and several miles back home, carrying quite a heavy load of goods which she would purchase. One day a man happened to be driving his car through that part of the country and as he passed by this elderly woman carrying such a heavy load, he felt compassion for her and offered to drive her home. Having never been in a car before, she hesitantly agreed to get in. Upon nearing the woman’s home, the man glanced back upon his elderly passenger and was much disturbed at what he saw. With an irritated surprise, he asked: “Ma’am, I offered you a ride in my car because I saw you carrying such a heavy load of goods. Why, then, are you still carrying heavy load upon your shoulders? “Well,” responded the woman, “you were so kind to have taken me into your car that I felt that it would not be fair to burden your car down with this heavy load also. So I decided that the least I could do would be to carry it for you.”
How often we have been just as silly as that woman. We “give” ourselves to the Lord, but we still try to carry our own burdens. Soon we are just about ready to quit and give up altogether because the journey is too great and the weight of our burden is too much to bear. What should we do? Just look “underneath” and we will see how foolish we have been all this time! When we put our full trust in the Lord, then we can lay every burden down, because underneath are the Everlasting Arms of our Lord. He is strong enough to carry both us and all of our burdens as well!
In Proverbs 16:3, the same Hebrew word “gala” is again translated as “commit”:
“Commit [roll] your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”
Isn’t it amazing what where our wandering thoughts can take us – especially when we are going through difficult and uncertain times?! How many times have you knelt down to pray, only to find your thoughts taking you back to the difficult time you had at work that day, or to the stack of unpaid bills still sitting on your desk? Wandering thoughts are a problem we often have just because we are still trying to carry our own burdens instead of leaving them in the hands of the Lord. He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest” (Mat 11:28). According to Proverbs, if we could only take all of our works in which we are so “deeply” involved (those which supposedly “only we” can do) and roll them unto the Lord, then the promise in this Scripture is that our “thoughts shall be established”. We would no longer have this problem with wandering thoughts of doubt and worry.
Here is another example. There we are right in the boat together with Jesus. Everything should be alright if He is there, shouldn’t it? But what has happened? A storm! Big waves! and the boat is full of water! We’re sinking! Jesus, why are You sleeping on that pillow over there? Can’t You see that we are all going to die? Wake up and do something! Lord, don’t You love us? Don’t You care that we are soon about to perish?
We often laugh at those foolish and unbelieving disciples in the boat while Jesus was asleep; but often we are just as foolish. What would you have done if you had been there in such a climactic situation? Well, the best thing to do would have been to run and get your own pillow and roll right over next to the Lord and fall asleep with Him, trusting in His everlasting mercies!
It’s all about faith — that precious substance of the things for which we hoping (Heb 11:1). Faith — the thing that alone can please the Father (Heb 11:6); and that look in our eyes when we trustingly glance at Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith — the glance of our eyes that ravishes His heart and makes it “beat faster” (S.O.S. 4:9). Faith — that ever so often misused word. It is far more than a doctrinal head-knowledge of Scripture, or a theological acceptance of certain “beliefs”. Faith is a relationship, an attitude of heart, an attitude which involves our whole personality.
Faith is how we first came to Christ, and Paul says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col 2:6). How did we first come to Christ? As sinners before a righteous Judge, knowing that the wages of sin was death! No criminal would ever voluntarily surrender to the judge if he knew that the punishment would be death. Nevertheless, although you and I came to Christ with trembling concerning such a judgment, we also came with the confidence that He was merciful and gracious. We came trusting that for Christ’s sake He would forgive us upon seeing our repentant and sorrowful hearts. It is in this same surrender, trust, and love of faith that we must continue to live and walk.
Now there is one more very interesting location in the Bible where this Hebrew word, “Galal” is used. It is in Psalm 22 which is referred to as a Messianic Psalm because it is prophetical concerning Jesus Christ. In this Psalm, we can see what Jesus experienced while upon the Cross of Calvary. Many of these same verses are quoted in the Gospels where the account of Christ’s sufferings on Calvary are explained in detail. Such expressions as “they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me” vs. 16-17) reveal the intensity of the physical suffering which Christ endured upon that Cross. Now it wasn’t simply the physical sufferings which caused our Lord so much anguish. The real pain which Jesus felt was not simply the nails in His hands and feet, the crown of thorns, and bleeding back, but rather that God the Father had actually forsaken Him. Jesus cried out in agony: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (vs. 1). How could this be? Would God the Father actually turn His face away from His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ?
The reason God the Father had to turn His face away from Jesus was because all the sins and iniquities of the whole world were placed upon Christ. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin upon that rugged Cross of Calvary. Taking upon Himself the burden of the whole world’s guilt of sin, Jesus cried out in agony while in the garden: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” He knew the cup which He had to drink, and with total resignation, He fulfilled the will of His Father.
In the Gospels, only the first part of Psalm 22:1 is actually quoted; but if we continue reading, the whole prophecy of Christ’s prayer upon that Cross of suffering can be seen. After His most desperate and hear-rending cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” His prayer continued with the declaration of trust in the Father:
“But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed” (Psalm 22:3-5).
This is the ultimate in trusting God! In such a state, forsaken both of man and God, Jesus, abandons Himself fully to His Father’s will and He puts His full confidence in His Father’s holiness, righteousness (rightness), love, and faithfulness; and then, with His last breath, Jesus cried out: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.”
This prophetic Psalm then reveals to us what the others saw in Jesus during that tragic moment:
“He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him” (Psalm 22:8; cf. Mat 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49).
“He trusted in the Lord…” — this was the testimony that Jesus Christ had while upon the earth. People observed what He said, how He said it, and also how He died. In fact, it was at that very moment of Jesus’ death on the Cross that a Centurion charged with the execution of Christ was able to confess, “Truly He was the Son of God!” (Mat 27:54). The confidence that Christ had in His loving, heavenly Father was so great that others around Him (even His enemies) could see it. He trusted in God even unto death!
Psalm 22’s prophecy of how onlookers described Christ in His sufferings was “He trusted on the Lord” — and amazingly, the Hebrew word used for “trust” in this instance is “galal”! So, class, what have we learned?
Somehow, in God’s eyes,
— “Commiting,” “Trusting,” and “Rolling” —
are the same thing!
So let’s learn how to ROLL just like Jesus did!
Jesus is for us forever the perfect example of how to roll ourselves upon the Lord in complete trust! This was the purpose for which God created Adam and the very purpose for which God saved us – that somehow we should learn to trust in the Lord with all of our heart, trusting Him right through the very valley of the shadow of death itself! We shall not fear because He is with us! “For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our Guide even unto death” (Ps 48:14).
Yes, we can we trust Him for the smallest details of our life! Yes, we can trust Him even unto death! Who knows what God will do? He is only looking for those who will put all of their trust in Him. He will do anything and everything to win both our faith and our love all for Himself. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to prove His love for us. If He went to such extremes for us, let us go to such extremes for Him.
Let’s learn how to roll ourselves and our every burden upon the Lord. He’s faithful. He will establish our thoughts, give us the desires of our heart, and without doubt He will surely bring it to pass! Amen!