The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
The prophets of old were no triflers. They carried a burden. The servants of God mean business; they have something to carry, worth carrying. Those who speak for God must not speak lightly. God's true servants, who are burdened with His Word, right willingly and cheerfully carry that burden. We bear a burden indeed, but we should be sorry not to bear it.
I. WHY IS THE WORD OF THE LORD A BURDEN TO HIM THAT SPEAKETH IT? It is a burden because it is the Word of the Lord.
1. The Word of the Lord becomes a burden in the reception of it. No man can preach the Gospel aright until he has had it borne into his own soul with overwhelming energy. True preaching is artesian, it wells up from the great depths of the soul.
2. The Word of God is a burden in the delivery of it. He that finds it easy to preach, will find it hard work to give an account of his preaching at the last great day. To speak aright, God's Word beneath the Divine influence is, in the speaking as well as in the getting of the message, the burden of the Lord.
3. When we have preached, the Gospel becomes a burden in after consideration. If God sends any of us to do good to our fellow-men, and to speak in His name, the souls of men will be a perpetual burden to us.
II. IT IS A BURDEN BECAUSE OF WHAT IT IS. What is it that the true servant of God has to bear and preach?
1. It is the rebuke of sin. If a man bears the burden of the Word of the Lord, he speaks most to his people upon the evil of which they are most guilty. Every true preacher must be careless of man's esteem, and speak faithfully; but this is a burden to one of a tender spirit.
2. The Word of the Lord gives a rebuff to human pride. The doctrines of the Gospel seem shaped on purpose, among other objects, to bring into contempt all human glory. So human nature does not like our message. And such preaching becomes the burden of the Lord.
3. The true preacher has to come into contact with the vanity of human intellect. The things of God are hidden from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes; and the wise and prudent are indignant at this act of Divine sovereignty. To face false science with the "polishness of preaching," and to set up the Cross in the teeth of learned self-sufficiency, is a burden from the Lord.
4. The most heavy burden is that which concerns the future. We are heavy at heart for the many who will not turn to God, but persist in destroying their own souls for ever.
III. IT IS A BURDEN BECAUSE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR BEARING IT TO YOU. Suppose that we do not preach the Gospel, and warn the wicked man, so that he turn not from his iniquity, what then? "He shall perish, but his blood will I require at thy hand." What will my Lord say to me if I am unfaithful to you? Then it becomes a great burden to me to preach the Gospel when I think of what those lose who will not have it.
IV. IT IS OFTEN THE BURDEN OF THE LORD, BECAUSE OF THE WAY IN WHICH MEN TREAT THE WORD OF GOD. Some trifle with it. The preoccupation of human minds makes it such a burden when we are in earnest to reach the heart and win the soul. Quite a number hear with considerable attention, but forget all that they hear. The sermon is all done with when they have done hearing it. There are even some that hear to ridicule. The preacher is in anguish to save a soul, and they are thinking about how he pronounces a word.
V. IT IS A BURDEN WHEN THE PREACHER REMEMBERS THAT HE WILL HAVE TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT. There will come a time when it will be said, "Preacher, give an account of your stewardship." Remember the great Lord of all true Gospel preachers bore a far heavier burden than we. Since it is a burden in itself, I ask you not to make it any heavier. You add to my burden, if you do not aid me in the Lord's work. But the greatest increase of my burden comes from those who do not receive the Gospel at all.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.