By Dr. Harry Bultema
“Casting all your care upon Him: for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
A humble weaver in Scotland went often out to preach and on one occasion he took three texts for his sermon. The first was “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanesth us from all sin.” He said, “Thar’s my sin away.” The second verse of the text was 1 Peter 5:7 and he said, “Thar’s my cares away.” The third was 1 Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” He said, “Thar’s myself away!” I want you to keep all three of these texts before your mind and heart as we concentrate our thoughts on the Scriptures.
What is the exhortation and the ground for it? Care is but another word for worry, anxiety, or fear for what may happen in the future, whether the danger is real or imaginary. The origin of this thing is sin. When man fell away from God, he was at once filled with care about his nudeness and about meeting his Maker. We see then that worry is as old as the history of mankind.
Lamech, the father of Noah, before the flood, showed a care-worn spirit in his sad lament about the earth being cursed.
Abraham revealed it in his life when he went down to Egypt to escape the famine.
David showed it when he said to his own soul, “Why art thou cast down, o my soul, and why art thou disquieted in me?” On another occasion he said, “I shall yet one of these days perish by the hands of Saul.” He went to the Philistines and there the man of God, the man after God’s own heart, the anointed King, was filled with fear and care when his identity was discovered. He simulated insanity and scratched at the gates, let the spittle drip down his beard, and behaved in every way like a maniac. God had to deal with him, and when he came to Ziklag, he found that all his wives, children, and all his goods had been snatched away, and the city burned. And as if that weren’t enough, his own men threatened to stone him. In that awful distress he then strengthened himself in the Lord his God and evidently cast anew his care upon the Lord.
Care is not only an extremely ancient disease but it is also very general in the sense that all classes of men are subject to it. There is but one little group among the children of men that are exempt from this malady, and they are the little baby in mother’s arms. What a blessing they do not know trouble and fear. It would impair their growth, dwarf their bodies, and dim their faculties, if they had this gnawing worm of care at the root of their life.
But apart from the babes, there is not a class of men that do not know that dreadful and malicious trouble. The kings and beggars, the rich and the poor, the virtuous and vicious, the learned and the illiterate—all are plagued at one time or another by this trouble/something. It is evident among all the tribes of the earth. The most civilized white faces of Japheth are suffering even far more from it than are the black tribes of Ham.
Care being so general is often condoned, but it is a very dangerous and pernicious malady. It is dangerous for the bodies, souls, and minds of men. You need not be a physician to know that worries fill the hospitals. Ever so many cases that are diagnosed as a nervous breakdown are breaking down at this point and for this reason. Such a breakdown is often attributed to over work when over worry is the cause. Care is so often perilous to the minds of men also. A Psychopath once told me that many a mind snaps because of worry and the inability to cast burdens from the mind. Many have a split mentality (Schizophrenia) because they started with a load of care, never unburdening themselves until incurable insanity resulted.
Above all, it is extremely dangerous and detrimental to the souls of men. It is an unprofitable and useless thing for with all our care we cannot add one cubit to our stature and cannot turn one hand black or white. On the other hand, we can wreck our bodies, souls and minds with it. It is not so that it produces some harm and some good; it produces only harm and trouble, and it always entails a long train of evil.
We see this clearly in the case of David. One care, not cast upon God, landed him in the land of the uncircumcised and at the ruins of Ziklag. We see it also in Peter’s life. He was care-worn and frightened when he denied his Savior three times. Why did he do it? Because he was filled with care that he might be arrested and thrown into jail. Truly, if we but know the deadly character of care, we would not always drag on with this load upon our heart; we would cast it from us.
Care is as dangerous for our lives as the choking thorns are for the sown seeds as the Lord showed in the Parable of the sower (Mt. 13). Care is one of the most deadly enemies of the preached Word for it chokes the Word in the lives of believers so that all fruit is prevented. Choking thorns are tokens of the curse, and we should hate and reject them as cursed things. Care is unbelief in God’s Word and Fatherly care. He did not say in vain eighty-six times to His children, “fear not.” And as to God’s care, are not His tender mercies over all His works? Christ taught His own not to have any care and anxiety, erroneously translated “take no thought.” He meant and said, as we read in the Dutch version, which has it correctly, “Be not worried,” and he pointed to the realm of nature. “Consider the lilies, they do not sow or spin and yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” “Consider the ravens, they do not sow or reap, or gather in the barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” These in the days of the famine had something to spare and they gave to Elijah. Our care stabs at God’s Father-heart Who over cares for His own. Yes, sinful care is an ancient, general, and dangerous malady. What must we do about it?
The Lord says, “Casting all your care upon Him.” Notice that we have here a present participle and that means that something goes before it, and we find that it says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” It is psychologically a fact that we must humble ourselves to pick up a burden and to cast it upon the Lord. To pick up any burden we must stoop. Unbroken pride hinders and prevents the rolling of our burdens upon the Lord. Do not pray to the Lord to humble you; this is something you must do yourself. Do not piously expect the Lord to do what the Lord definitely tells you to do. So often the children of this world try to drown care in the streams of pleasure, in drink, in the accumulating of riches, in business, in study, or stoicism, but they never do get rid of worry and fret; it always follow them. Increasing is the number of those that accidentally fall from upper story windows, but we are to up with our cares and not down. This is done by simple care and trust remembering that just as surely as Christ was our sin-bearer on the Cross of Calvary, so He is our burden-bearer. His path may lead us through the depths, but the thing is, beloved, that He does make a path through the depths.
“Our Savior marks every trouble, and the depths your feet have trod; have been His way of pressing you more deeply into God. Sing over the depths of His mercy, the depths of His wisdom, too; the depths of His love on Calvary; the way He has brought us through. When the thick of the fight is over, the ransomed in that day shall then return with singing; He made through the depths a way.”
Trials and temptations teach us our helplessness and the helpfulness of our God. Consider the ground of the exhortation: “For He careth for you.” His care is not a future blessing but a present one. Because He is a God that can care and wants to bear our cares, let Him do so. If God did not care, who would? If God did not care for us, it would be for one or all of the following three reasons.
(1) He would not know about us and this would be contrary to His omniscience. Yes, He knows and He cares. “He knows and loves and cares. Nothing this truth can dim. He does His very best for those who leave their cares with Him.”
(2) He could not help us but this would be contrary to His omnipotence. His arm is not weakened that it cannot help. He made us, sought us, bought us, raised us, quickened us, and made us sit with Him in heavenly places. Surely, having done all this, He can now care for His own.
(3) He did not care for us, but this could never be for His heart always beats with love for all His own. He is the all-merciful One, and Eternal and is most mercifully kind.
God has cared in the past, never has He left us or forsook us. We are the living tokens of His tender care. All His past care are a guarantee for His care in the coming days. He cares for YOU! Just fill in your own name there, Beloved. Make it intimate and personal. Appropriate the assurance of faith, and see how sweet in practical piety it is. Do not forget to cast all your care upon Him. In the Greek, when a word is to be emphasized, it is always put at the beginning or the end of a sentence. Here the “ALL” is for emphasis at the beginning of the sentence.
Then leave your burdens with the Lord! Don’t take it back! Leave it there!