Rev. Steven Key, emeritus minister of the Protestant Reformed Churches and member of Loveland PRC in Loveland, Colorado

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7

From every earthly point of view as we enter this new year, we have reason to be anxious. We know nothing about what lies in store for us in 2023. Through all the political animosity and conflict, we see increasing hatred toward Christianity amidst the rapid development of wickedness in the world. From the perspective of our human natures, that is alarming. Nor do we know what trials may develop in the midst of our own families and churches. We know not whom the Lord will remove through death, nor when. We know not whether old or young will be afflicted with serious illness. We know not who will leave us, ensnared in the ways of Satan, the great deceiver. Besides all the unknowns, we enter this new year with our own personal trials. The year 2023 does not promise us any easier journey than we have had this past year.

How necessary, then, that we face the new year in the light of God’s Word in I Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

A significant admonition

That this is a significant admonition is evident from the fact that it hits so close to our own hearts and lives. When the apostle Peter speaks here of care, he is addressing our response to God’s way with us, that way especially which calls us to humble ourselves under His mighty hand (v. 6). The idea expressed by the word is that we are torn apart inside by these things or events in our lives. These cares begin where we cannot control the outcome of things, nor the way.

A minister may be ever so faithful, proclaiming the Word in truth and in power to the congregation, or the elder to the individual, but he has no control over the outcome of that Word in the heart of the individual. He desires the salvation of that person who has departed from the faith; but he has no control over that sinner’s conversion. He may labor with prayer and with tears with one who is in desperate need of help; but ultimately the Spirit has to change the heart and mind.

The farmer can be diligent in his preparations and labors in the field. But he cannot make it rain; nor can he control the amount of rain that falls upon his fields. And, therefore, he really has no control over the outcome of the harvest.

Then there is our physical health. Although there are ways in which we can wrongfully contribute to the deterioration of our health even in violation of the sixth commandment, generally speaking we have no control over health or sickness, over life or death.

When God’s way in our life is contrary to our own desires, we might be filled with care. That care, that being drawn in different directions, comes from the struggle between the old man of sin that is expressing discontent with God’s way, and the new man of life within us that knows full well that God’s way is only good for us. We are torn apart inside!

In the year that lies before us, there are times when our sinful flesh will want to fight against God’s way for us. When we cannot see or understand God’s ways, we are inclined to question the trials He has placed upon the pathway of our life. Sometimes we do not want the pathway that God has given. We do not trust God’s power to help us; we question His wisdom; we even question God’s goodness and mercy over us. We might even try to take matters in our own hands. We wrestle with our problems, even though the load is too big for us to handle. We justify our own way, even though that way might be totally wrong and destructive for us. And if we continue on that way of sinful anxiety and the sinful reaction to God’s ways with us, the joy of salvation dies in our souls and darkness settles over us. At the same time there is this turmoil of soul, as we are being pulled in two directions— by that old man of sin, and by the new man in Christ that writes upon our conscience that we are doing wrong. Such are the cares that we are admonished to cast upon our heavenly Father—all your care, every care.

To cast our cares upon Him means that we submit our wills to God’s will and way. As is evident from the connection to I Peter 5:6, casting our cares upon God is an expression of the humility to which God calls us.

The language here is strongly figurative. These cares and anxieties are represented as an oppressively heavy burden; and the sinking sufferer is pictured as casting them off his own shoulders and onto God. The text is reminiscent of what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 55:22: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

Furthermore, the figurative expression that speaks of “casting” announces to us that there is effort involved here. To get rid of these cares that plague us is not simply a matter of laying them aside. To drop something requires little effort; to throw something, especially something of weight, requires a great deal of effort! Our experience confirms that it is no easy matter to throw off the burden of our cares. We are not to expect that in some miraculous way and without the use of any means God is going to relieve us from these burdensome cares and give us happiness. The apostle would not encourage us in laziness and a foolish selfhelp philosophy. To cast our cares upon the Lord is done by using the means that He has appointed for the revelation of His will and way for us.

In this new year you may expect at times to face such cares as those to which the apostle refers. In order to cast those cares upon Jehovah, you must be continually strengthened especially by the chief means of grace, the preaching of the Word. Through the preaching of His Word, He comes to you with the voice of Christ and reveals to you the secrets of His love and His will for you. It is the powerful Word of Christ applied by His Spirit that works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is that same Word which gives us to see the greatness of God our Savior. There is no other place to cast those burdensome cares.

But while the preaching is the primary means of grace appointed by God, that does not preclude the use of other means. There are times, for example, when we need the specific help of other people, whether pastors and elders, or other brothers and sisters who have been down the same pathway. But if we are truly to be helped, then we must seek not just to cast our cares onto a counselor, nor to pick ourselves up and do it on our own; but we must be led to the reality of things before the face of God and to cast our cares upon Him.

Do not put off seeking that help. When you are carrying a burden that God has called you to rid yourself of, and you ignore Him and are constantly carrying it and meddling with it, you should find it no surprise when you are crushed under it. God says, “Give me those cares.” If you disobey Him, should you not feel the full weight of them? Cast all your cares upon Him.

Finally, and especially, we cast our cares upon Him through prayer. That is the emphasis of Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Through His means of grace and prayer, He feeds His flock like a shepherd. Lean upon Him who would have you pray to Him. For He gives us His promise in Psalm 145:18,19: “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.” Through the prayer of faith, in conjunction with the faithful use of the means of grace, you most assuredly will hear Him say, “I will bring the blind in a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight” (Is. 42:16). “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shouldest go” (Ps. 32:8). “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Is. 43:2). In every situation in life, there are appropriate promises to you who would cast all your cares upon our faithful heavenly Father. Receive this admonition as the Word of God to you, a Word that is significant, a Word that is also powerful.

A well grounded admonition

This admonition is also well grounded. That ground is expressed by the apostle when he writes: “for he careth for you.”

There are many beautiful statements in Scripture, precious statements to the believer, but none is more precious than this: He careth for you. Others care for you too. But our heavenly Father alone is mighty and powerful to provide for all your needs. Not only is He able, but He is willing. For He loves you in Christ Jesus. The inspired apostle speaks to those begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Pet. 1:3), and to you, therefore, “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:5). The work that He has once begun in you shall by His grace be fully done (Phil. 1:6). He has arranged every detail of your way in perfect wisdom.

That is what you must see—also in the year that lies before us. He has cared for you through all the trials of the past. He shall in the future. In every circumstance we may confess “the Lord thinketh upon me” (Ps. 40:17). So we sing with Asaph in Psalm 73: “Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterwards to receive me to glory.” God knows exactly what you need and when you need it. He cares for you. Cast all your care upon Him.

To that end God calls us to humble ourselves before His mighty hand. It is, after all, His purpose to exalt you in due time (I Pet. 5:6).

The apostle does not write this to the ungodly. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). We cast our cares upon God only by faith in Christ, faith that is the gift of His grace. We cast our cares upon Him because by faith we have been given to see, and we each confess, that He has always cared for me; He has always loved me. And by the grace through which we receive that truth, we begin by casting upon Him our greatest care, which is our sin. Casting that burdensome care upon Him, we rejoice and say, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Then we also humble ourselves before Him and in thankfulness walk in the way in which He leads us.

When you walk apart from Christ and in your sin, you have not the testimony of God that He cares for you. Lay hold of Christ, therefore, in humility and repentance, today and tomorrow and every day of your life. For when you stand by faith in Christ Jesus, God comes to you by this Word and says, “I will care for you; I will help you. I will do so that My name is glorified in and by you.”

Cast all your care upon Him. He cares for you. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).