Jan. 29, 2022
Not a Terror to Good Works
In this week’s Shabbat study of Exo. 18:1-20:23, we are met with our first description of Israel’s fear of Yahuah. No, not the good kind of fear of Yahuah, as in reverence and honor of Him, but honest to goodness fear and terror of Him.
What’s really sad is that last week, in Exo. 13 and 14, the Aramaic Targum of the Torah and the book of Jasher tell us that Israel had one fierce, final battle and decisive victory over the Egyptians in the wilderness just before the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea. Yahuah was the reason that our forefathers had such success in being freed from their oppressors.
Now this week, when our forefathers get to personally meet the One who is the reason for their freedom and victory, they are terrified of Him! Who in their right minds would not want to meet the one responsible for saving their lives and giving them the best lives ever? It’s really sad to think that they apparently thought that their Savior saved them only to later end their lives in the desert!
I can’t help but wonder if Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was partly responsible for the Israelites’ great fear of personally meeting our Creator?
Charlie and JP at The Way Biblical Fellowship believe that Jethro’s advice to Moses to appoint a series of judges over the Israelite camp was not a good idea because it put a greater distance between Yahuah and the people. How so?
Moses was responsible for teaching the people about Yahuah’s instructions. There is such a thing as too many mediators. For example, if you had a choice, which place of business would you feel more inclined to return to periodically: a rather large place of business with many different departments where you talk to someone different every time, or a small business with few employees?
I would pick the smaller business for one very important reason: better communication. My experience is more personalized, the employees are more friendly and personable, and I can get my point across and my problem solved pretty easily.
So, Moses decides to heed Jethro’s advice and he appoints a bunch of judges over Israel to handle smaller matters of contention and save the “big guns” for Moses. I believe this action readied the stage for the people to quickly grow accustomed to growing slack in their relationship with the Creator. “Oh, don’t worry. So-and-so will take care of it.”
The extra judges without Yahuah’s command for it painted for the Israelites an unrealistic picture of how one’s relationship with Yahuah ought to be. In reality, Yahuah will deal with each person on a personal level. He is going to hold you accountable for you.
Yahuah doesn’t want our relationship with Him to be a chore or an obligation. Our forefathers had made their relationship with Him exactly that. Then, when they were faced with meeting Him personally and had nobody to hide behind, they became deathly afraid, I believe, because they had sin in their hearts.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and you shall have praise from the same.” Rom. 13:3
I’ve heard some people suggest that the verses in Romans 13 apply to Yahuah-fearing authorities, like the priesthood that Yahuah will one day institute again. I think that is true, and I think, to a degree, these verses apply to any ordinary man or woman in a position of authority.
Earlier this week, for the first time since I started driving, I was stopped by a policeman! His car followed me for a few minutes, then when I saw him light up his lights and make a short noise with his siren, my heart jumped into my throat. Why was he asking me to pull over?
I put on my right turn signal and pulled off on the side of a little neighborhood street and waited. The alarm I felt was only for a moment. I was amazed; Yahuah helped me to stay very calm and patient! Yahuah assured me, “Don’t worry. It’s going to be okay. You tried your best and you didn’t do anything wrong.”
The guy I had in the passenger side with me, on the other hand, was clearly afraid. While he waited for the policeman to come and talk to us at various intervals, he began to get very angry and surly, speaking evil of him behind his back.
In fact, I have a theory that somehow the spiritual realm used my passenger’s fear as a magnet. The policeman didn’t walk up to the driver’s side door and talk to me; he walked up to the passenger’s side door and talked to him. When the policeman had returned to his own car for a minute, my passenger commented in surprise and irritation, “Why did he come talk to me instead of you? You’re the driver!”
It turned out that the issue was that the policeman was stopping us to inform us that the third brake light for the car I was driving had a light bulb that was burnt out. The policeman gave my passenger, the owner of the car, thirty days to replace the brake light and let us go without any paperwork because his printer in the car decided not to cooperate that day.
I stand in hearty sympathy with my frazzled, fearful passenger. Yahuah was so good to me that I didn’t have to do most of the talking to the policeman! It’s only by Yahuah’s favor that I did as well as I did. I could easily have been fearful, but Yahuah is my helper! Halleluyah!
Yahuah has used the incident I had with the policeman this week as a great encouragement to me, even though it was unnerving at the time. It did my heart a lot of good to know that it is possible for me to be respectful and not afraid of someone in a position of authority. I’ve had people in my life that have stepped way out of line and abused their position of power.
I believe Yahuah is telling me through Romans 13 and my encounter with the policeman that yes, there are authority figures that will be jerks about their position of power, but whatever tyranny they may impose won’t overcome me as long as I’m giving Yahuah my best. I can maintain my composure and confidence by being consistent in my relationship with Him!
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing Elohim: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Master, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Master ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Master Messiah. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Col. 3:22-25
There’s one other quick story I want to tell you. Last night, my brother Joshua and I took a walk through town and we stopped at the post office. Taped up on the post office door was a memorial service announcement. (We’ve been seeing a lot of those lately around here.) I walked over to the front door and read the announcement.
The paper explained that an Oracle resident by the name of Jane O’Mahen had just passed away two days ago, on January 27. I shuddered slightly when I saw that the lady had the same first name as my friend Jane. Jane isn’t as popular a name around here as some names are; I don’t know, maybe there are still yet other Oracle residents besides my friend that have that choice of first name.
I thanked Yahuah that the lady that died was not my friend Jane. I’ve lost multiple loved ones in quick succession and I’m still recovering from the trauma of those events occurring so close together. The picture of Jane O’Mahen, assuming it was recent, pictured a lady that I’m guessing to be somewhat close to my friend Jane’s age. What did my heart a lot of good was knowing that Jane O’Mahen died as a believer in the Elohim that wrote the Scriptures. The paper about her said that she was a Christian, known for the donation drives she would host at the Oracle Union Church.
My prayer is that next time my friend Jane goes to the post office, she will stop and read the memorial service notice for Jane O’Mahen and seriously consider her own mortality and her need for Yahushua’s salvation. I pray that Yahuah would perhaps help my friend Jane to see herself in Jane O’Mahen.
Please pray for the surviving loved ones of Jane O’Mahen! Please pray for my friend Jane as well!
In a similar way, I pray that Yahuah would help me to see myself in my friend Jane and her struggle to trust Yahuah. It’s easier for me to pray for people humbly if I consider how would I want someone to pray for me if I was the person under discussion.
Last night, I struggled for a while to know what to pray for my friend Jane. Yahuah helped me to humble myself to Him and repent of what I needed to repent of. As I did so, He brought this verse to my attention:
“Seek ye Yahuah, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of Yahuah’s anger.” Zeph. 2:3
It was so interesting; after I read that verse, then Yahuah reminded me of the memorial service notice I saw posted for Jane O’Mahen. I love how Yahuah speaks to me and gives me ideas of what to pray about after I humble myself to Him! I don’t have to be afraid of what may come if I let Him be my Master! I can mess it all up if I pride myself on how good I think I’m doing at obeying Him. It’s only because of Yahushua drawing me to Him and helping me to continually allow Him to lead me that I do well at all!
What has Yahuah taught you about how to not be afraid and not be ashamed at His coming?
“1First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for everyone— 2for rulers and all those in authority—so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all righteousness and dignity. 3This is good and pleasing in the sight of Elohim our Savior, 4who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5For there is one Elohim, and there is one mediator between Elohim and men, the man Messiah Yahushua, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all—the testimony that was given at just the right time.” 1 Tim. 2:1-6
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28