‘Cast Your Cares on the Lord’

Yael Eckstein  |  February 25, 2024

Young boy at the Western Wall praying.

Cast your cares on the LORD
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken
. — Psalm 55:22

In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.

Imagine that you are carrying boxes filled with valuable glass objects. Truthfully, you aren’t strong enough to carry the boxes. You huff and puff and worry immensely about the contents. Suddenly, someone stronger comes by and offers his help. Not only that, but he’s got some friends with him who are also willing to pitch in. You unload the boxes and breathe a huge sigh of relief. You feel light, unburdened, and at peace.

That’s the way we are supposed to feel every day when we fulfill the words of Psalm 55: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you.” We go through life carrying huge burdens of worry and tension. They weigh us down and cause us much unhappiness. But the psalmist gives us different instructions with this verse that have the potential to completely change how we live, not to mention how long we live: Give your burdens to God and go about your life with light and joy.

‘Cast Your Cares on the Lord’

The Talmud, Judaism’s oral tradition, relates that the Jewish sages didn’t understand what this verse meant until the following event occurred. One day, a sage was carrying a heavy load and an Arab merchant came along and told him, “Take your yahav and cast it on my camel.” From there, the sages understood that the same Hebrew word in the psalms meant “burden.” God wants us to help us carry burdens. He invites us to “cast our cares” on Him.

The rabbis explain that it’s not that the sages were unaware of the literal meaning of the word yahav. It’s that they weren’t sure how to apply it. What does it mean to cast your burdens on God? The merchant helped them understand that we are to take all our worries, just like a sack of stuff, and place them fully on God’s shoulders. Not only that, but we don’t even have to ask God if it’s OK to burden Him. He asks us. He wants our burdens. He wants our faith.

Now that we know what it means to cast our cares onto God, it’s another thing to learn how to put it into action. Try this practice. Every day (or more than once a day) type up a list of your cares and burdens. Nothing is too big or too small for this list. Next, read the list through. The first thing you may notice is that you aren’t really in control of these things anyway—only God can really take care of our health, safety, finances, etc. The next thing to do is to one by one delete the items and send them up to God. You should feel lighter and ready to serve God as He intended — with peace and joy.

Your Turn:

Tune in today to catch the newest episode of my podcast, “Nourish Your Biblical Roots.”