For the week of May 24, 2003 / 22 Iyar 5763
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

Unreasonable Fear

As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. (Vayikra / Leviticus 26:36).

One of the purposes of the Torah was to provide God's people with directions on how to maintain their relationship with God. This relationship was first established through promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and came into an initial fulfillment when God rescued them from oppressive slavery in Egypt. Moses then led them to Mt. Sinai, where he himself had encountered God. It was there that God communicated his covenant to them.

If the people would live according to God's ways then they would know his blessings. His blessings included both spiritual and material prosperity in the land promised to the forefathers. On the other hand if they neglected God's word, they would suffer the consequences of being alienated from both their land and their God.

Israel is an example to us of what happens when individuals or nations turn from once having a right relationship with God. If we have had such a relationship, but then turn from it - whether we ourselves are the ones who have turned away, or it was our ancestors who did - we might suffer in a way that those who never had such a relationship might not.

One specifically stated consequence of breaking relationship with God is unreasonable fear: I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. When someone has a heritage of knowing God as the Jewish people do, turning away from that heritage often results in great emotional and mental distress.

This was my experience. When I was 19 years old (I am 45 now), I began to have anxiety attacks. Great fear would suddenly overtake me for no apparent reason. It was like having extreme butterflies that would last for hours. I didn't know what to do with myself. In many ways my anxiety resulted from growing up in an environment of anxiety - one of having no idea who I was or of what life was about. Little did I know that I was actually experiencing the results of centuries of alienation from the God of my fathers.

It was at that time that I first heard about the Messiah, Yeshua. As I was shown passages from the Hebrew Bible that clearly foretold details of his life, death, and resurrection, everything came together for me. As I asked him into my life, it was as if all the scattered pieces of my life, my heritage, and my destiny came into place. The anxiety attacks immediately stopped. The negative consequences of the broken covenant that I had inherited from my ancestors had been reversed.

So many people wonder why their lives are not what they should be. Your problem may not be one of unreasonable fear as it was for me. But it is possible that you may be suffering the results of a broken covenant with God. If so, then now is the time to see that relationship restored.

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