Day 4: Vayera/Genesis 19:21-21:4
Fear can change many of life’s circumstances. It is fear that has significantly altered history for both the best and the worst of man’s posterity. Fear has caused nations to rage against nations and nationalities to the brink of genocide. It has, also, championed change that redirected behaviors and attitudes toward peace, technological advances, and tolerance. Fear can be used for good and for evil, depending upon a person’s or country’s regard for Elohim. If there is not healthy fear of the Almighty, then all the respect of others, the planet, or anything at all is mere vanity. Both love and strength are garnished from the fear that Elohim has seeded into man so that he can be YHVH’s counterpart on earth.
Change seems to be what man fears most. Change causes floods of memories to be recalled, the reflection of what has or has not been accomplished, and a healthy dose of humility to realize that fresh starts do not happen every day. As terrifying and uncomfortable as change may be, it has equal opportunity to affect good and promote Elohim. It all comes down to the type of fear that is applied before and after change that determines the result since it is a matter of faith that steers fear in the form of respect versus cowardliness.
This is the exact point that Lot’s family found themselves amidst fleeing the comforts of home. Likewise, even a righteous man like Abraham found himself in a fear response resulting in deception.
As much as Lot and his family needed to realize that change was necessary and healthy for their well-being, Abraham need to realize that the change already initiated in his life was from Elohim and that He was not going to abandon Abraham or Sarah. They needed to exercise their faith in the face of moving to the unknown so that Elohim could better work on their behalf. It was the lack of faith in both parties that allowed fear to fester and rise to the point of sin and poor choices.
What fear causes can be perverse. While conjuring up memories of the past may be a simple pleasure in reflecting good times, learning from past mistakes, and gathering historic accounts, one must not live in the past or pine for the “good old days.” There is no doubt that there have been great days gone by for almost every person ever to have lived, just as there have been horrific times that are best left forgotten. Both have their place in the healthy applications of what to and not to do in serving Elohim base on Torah and the unction of His Ruach.
Unfortunately, both paradigms can paralyze people from progressing forward in their walk with the Creator. Terrifying pasts can churn in a person so that fear grips their lives. Pleasurable memories can cause people to relive and regather the past to the point of never accepting the newness of Elohim’s changes in life, which can lead to growth and maturity.
For Lot’s wife, longing for the comforts of the familiar, and being callous to the sins of man and fearful of what life could be like anywhere else, turned her to a pillar of salt. The irony of this is that salt is what preserves all kinds of materials. She desired so much to preserve her way of life—an evil displeasing to Elohim—that she was preserved while everything else changed around her.
Alas, Abraham played out some irony of his own due to his deception. What began as fear of man would be turned around to establish an eventual covenant between Abraham and Abimelech king of Gerar. This king and his nation would commingle, but eventually, be conquered by Cretans in following years. That covenant, however, was everlasting and would reach past Gerar, involving their posterity—the Philistines and ensuing Palestinians.
Could it be that a casual covenant cemented between Abraham and Abimelech, created out of the wrong facing fear, inadvertently initiated preservation of hatred between Israel and surrounding nations?
The fear we have must be healthy, resulting in respect, first and foremost, of YHVH our Elohim. It should respect the change that He inspires, not the potential outcome of what we perceive. Fear should be the first fruits of faith in hoping and praying for what is still hidden.
In contrast, fear should never have a grip on the Covenant keeper and believer in Yeshua. What do we have to fear but the ill effects of sin if we do not obey YHVH Elohim? If it is the unknown which we are afraid, our focus should be redirected to the One Who holds our future in His hand. After all, He reminds us to be strong and courageous and to not fear or tremble.
Dwell upon 2 Timothy 1:7, “For YHVH has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” and Shemot 20:20, “Do not be afraid; for Elohim has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”