66:11) For you, `Elohiym, have tested us.
You have refined us, as silver is refined.
66:12) You brought us into prison.
You laid a burden on our backs.
66:13) You allowed men to ride over our heads.
We went through fire and through water,
But you brought us to the place of abundance.
66:14) I will come into your temple with burnt offerings.
I will pay my vows to you,
66:15) which my lips promised,
And my mouth spoke, when I was in distress.
66:16) I will offer to you burnt offerings of fat animals,
With the offering of rams, I will offer bulls with goats. Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai?? Selah
66:17) Come, and hear, all you who fear `Elohiym.
I will declare what He has done for my soul.
66:18) I cried to Him with my mouth.
He was extolled with my tongue.
66:19) If I cherished sin in my heart,
My Master would not have listened.
66:20) But most assuredly, `Elohiym has listened.
He has heard the voice of my prayer.
66:21) Blessed be `Elohiym, who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His lovingkindness from me.
Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
When I was growing up, I had a terrible fear of wasps. It was easy to track back and find out from where this fear comes: as a young lad, I was stung and had an allergic reaction. Any time a wasp came near me, my arms flapped like their wings, and away I would scuttle. When my first child was born, I was not free to run if I was carrying the baby, but I had to consciously grit my teeth. Over time I came to not worry so much, realising that the wasps were not after me and, if I left them alone, they would leave me alone.
There was a television programme that was examining innate reactions to various pictures. The subjects were wired up to a brainwave recording device. The researcher showed the reaction to a picture of a butterfly and then a hornet. The butterfly picture caused a decrease in activity with the hornet showing a dramatic spike. Similar responses were noted for pictures of a puppy and a snake. Although fear can be a totally debilitating state, just look at what happens to a rabbit caught in headlights, it is designed to keep a person healthy. Fear is designed to produce the hormone, adrenalin in preparation for fight or flight.
There is one fear that is vital for our wellbeing. ai???This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear Yahua, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.ai??? (Ecc. 12:13). This fear is not raised in order for a person to turn and run away, and is certainly not meant to cause a person to fight with Yahua. Our loving, heavenly Father has built this into the human spirit that draws a person closer to Him. It is more rightly called a reverend fear. This is an act of worship and veneration to Yahua, born out of the awe and wonderment for who He is. It is the same kind of fear that an obedient child has for its earthly father, not wanting to disappoint or hurt the parent. It is, in fact, an act of love not because of who the father is or what he has done, but purely because he is the father.
In the above verse, the fear is linked to the obedience to Yahuaai??i??s commandments, not because of the fear of reprisals, but because of our love to Him.
Father, we thank you for the power of your Word and that Word was made flesh in Messiah Yahshua so that in believing in His Life, Death and Resurrection we may have eternal life with you.
ai???Do not be wise in your own eyes.
Fear Yahua, and depart from evil.ai??? (Prov. 3:7).
Father willing, we will gather again next Shabbat.