Month 5:27, Week 4:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5936:145 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 14 August 2012
Overcoming the Spirit of Slavery
Did you know that "Do not fear" or "Do not be afraid" is a mitzvah (commandment)? It's mentioned over 100 times in the Bible and is first given to Abraham in Genesis 15, today's passage. Since there is potentially an avalance of things we could be afraid of the world at any one time, I feel led to talk about fear today in this my penultimate devotional in this nearly three year-long series.
"After these things the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward'" (Gen.15:1, NKJV).
Of course, we all have fear, and we have fear precisely because we lack in the department of emunah (faith). Emunah (faith) isn't something that comes in a day either but is something that grows the more we yield ourself to Yahweh's care and provision.
The greater the things Yahweh asks us to do, the greater the emunah (faith) that is required and the greater the potential fear if our emunah (faith) gives way. I am not, of course, talking about qodesh (holy, set-apart) fear which is something else more akin to profoundly deep reverence and respect, though it's more than that - see my devotional, Learning the True Fear of Yahweh. I am talking specifically about slavish fear, one of the natural conserquences of sin.
Adam was afraid because he was naked - that is, because his sin was exposed. And one of the consequences of this kind of fear is flight and seclusion:
"Then Yahweh-Elohim called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' So he said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself'" (Gen.3:9-10, NKJV).
This begins as a flight within from emet (truth) and can lead to physical flight too, as with Adam and Eve. But as the first couple discovered, hiding from Yahweh is impossible - He pursues wherever the soul is hiding. This fear is not only felt by believers who sin, of course, but also by those who reject Yahweh. It was felt by Felix when he heard Paul preach (Ac.24:25) and it is felt by those who reject Yah'shua (Jesus) for whom the consequences are dire if they do not relent. What is it that these Messiah-rejecters experience? - "a fearful expectation of judgment" (Heb.10:27, NKJV).
"The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov.8:1, NKJV).
As I write to you there are those who are trying to get me judged and punished in, and by, the courts of the land precisely because they're hiding from this emet (truth) and feel the judgment of Yahweh-Elohim mightily upon them. They are doing everything in their power to resist Him and shift the blame elsewhere. But even if they were to succeed in their endeavour it would not remove the heavy judgment that rests on them in their pursuit of revenge and supposed 'justice'. They have but one fate if they do not repent:
This fear which builds into outright terror the more it is fuelled by a lust for revenge cannot be put out until its real cause is dealt with, especially by those who once believed, who possessed emunah (faith) and who knew the living Elohim (God) through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), "for if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the emet (truth), there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Heb.10:26, NKJV).
"The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev.21:7-8, NKJV).
Whilst this kind of fear is hardly 'good' it is often used by Yahweh to convict unbelievers - and those believers lacking a proper foundation who were never really born again or regenerated - of their sin and bring them to saving emunah (faith) (Ac.16:29ff.). So there is hope for all except those who deny outright what they 100% know.
To live in this fear is to be a slave to sin, and its symptoms are hard to disguise, even though many do by trying to find 'explanations' and 'self-justifications' in, amongst other things, psychiatry, itself a symptom of the sin of man who rejects Yahweh and who wants to adjust to what is 'normal' in society. But as Krishnamurti said, whom I know I quote often, it is not index of health to be well adjusted to a sick society, which society without Yah'shua (Jesus) inevitably is.
The slavish fear of man is almost as bad as the slavish fear of Elohim/God because of sin. It is one thing, of course, to reverence those in genuine toqef (authority) such as masters and magistrates (1 Pet.2:18; Rom.13:7), but it is quite another to be in blind dread of them and what they can do (Num.14:9; Is.8:12; Prov.29:25). Though ungodly ones will and do abuse believers sometimes because of their fealty to unjust laws, we are not to slavishly fear them, something made easier when you see their corruption, of which there is alas much today as ever. But in addition to this slavish fear of men, as well as reverence of deep respect for men, there is also the fear we have for people lest they be ruined by sin (1 Cor.2:3; 2 Cor.11:3; Col.2:1). This third kind is, like slavish fear, not beneficial for is lacks emunah (faith) and we are told to cast both out:
"There is no fear in ahavah (love); but perfect ahavah (love) casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in ahavah (love). We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:18-19, NKJV).
Slavish fear is mute witness that we have forfeited heavenly ahavah (love) because we are once again in bondage to the opposite of ahavah (love), whether it ben to self-hate or the hatred of others or the hatred of Elohim (God), having denied our spiritual adoption through emunah (faith). Slavish fear means we are no longer trusting in ourselves but in the arm of flesh, a precariously unsafe thing to do when you think of its unreliability and proneness in causing man to stumble and fall. The fleshy nature - our own faulty intellect, the stormy and unreliable feelings of the lev (heart) - is indeed a fearful thing to put our reliance on. Such is to be lost.
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Ruach (Spirit) of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'" (Rom.8:15-16, NKJV).
We are, rather, to put our trust in Yahweh-Elohim through His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) whose promises do not fail if we adhere to them in emunah (faith). There are uncertainties ahead of all of us, for Yahweh alone knows the future, and which He alone has the key to. His arm is strong and we need not doubt that it is there to sustain us come what may, provided we are obedient and do as He says.
There is no need, therefore, to ever be crippled by fear, an inevitable consequence of facing up to the reality of life without Elohim (God). We can be free within even if we are called to suffer for our emunah (faith). Pity the one who has turned away from El Elyon (the Most High), who in the pursuit of revenge drinks the poison of hate in the vain hope that the object of such revenge will die!
Trust in Yahweh with all your lev (heart), repent of your sins, obey His mitzvot (commandments), cling to Yah'shua (Jesus) and watch the shackles of slavish fear drop away!