My friend M – let’s be real, she’s one of my BFF soulmates (i.e. I hope we’re friends for life) – forwarded this email about not fearing this morning. Her hope was that it would encourage those of us she sent it to. In turn, my hope is the same thing. I hope it finds you where you are and encourages you greatly. I hope it stirs your soul within you and helps you to recognize if you’ve been living out of fear. I’m definitely feeling convicted of that this morning. I live most of my life in fear – hell, I’m not even just afraid of the dark, sometimes I’m afraid in the light! And I think it’s quite paralyzing. I hope that the words below cause you to turn to Christ. And if you find you’re paralyzed by fear, then I pray that your renewed trust in him would allow you to stand, pick up your mat and walk in faith.
Devarim – דברים : “Words”
Torah : Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Haftarah : Isaiah 1:1-27
Gospel : Mark 14:1-16
Thought for the Week:
Fear is the opposite of genuine faith. Fear comes from a place of faithlessness. When we have real confidence in God, fear is driven out. For the person of faith, fear is actually irrational.
“Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you,” Moses declared. (Deuteronomy 3:21-22) The commandment, “do not fear,” is a command we find repeated frequently throughout the Torah and all the Scriptures. In fact, there are over 130 instances in the Scriptures where it says, “Do not be afraid,” or “Fear not!” The words “Do not be afraid,” occur five times in parashat Devarim alone.
Yet often times we do find ourselves crippled with fear, doubt and worry-fear from uncertainty, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of danger-real and imagined. At times we may find ourselves boxed in and paralyzed by our fears. Similarly, it was fear that cost the first generation their opportunity to enter the Promised Land.
Moses’ address to the new generation is carefully crafted to give them confidence and certainty. By reviewing how God has delivered them in the past, He hopes to bolster their faith enough that they will no longer be crippled by fear. Fear is the opposite of genuine faith. Fear comes from a place of faithlessness. When we have real confidence in God, fear is driven out. When we feel frightened or worried, we must remember who our Father in Heaven is, and that He cares for us and watches over us. For the person of faith, fear is actually irrational.
Paul tells us, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!'” (Romans 8:15)
It may not sound like one of the commandments of the Torah but it actually is a rule of life for the People of God. We are to live by faithful confidence in the strong hand of God. He who delivered Israel from Egypt and defeated the Amorites will also deliver the Canaanites into the hands of Israel. He who rescued our Master and Savior from the grave will also rescue us from every trouble and fear.
Yeshua says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)