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A Fortress of Faith

The wicked band together against the righteous
    and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my fortress,
    and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. — Psalm 94:21–22

There’s a story about a rabbi whose faith was legendary. One night Rabbi Horowitz sat alone in his house near the woods studying the Bible by candlelight. He studied until his last candle went out. The rabbi sat alone in the darkness, sad that he wouldn’t be able to continue his study. But then, the saintly rabbi decided that he must resolve to have faith that God could provide him with everything that he needed – including a candle.

The rabbi got up to open the front door of his house, and at that very moment, a stranger appeared from the woods, handed the rabbi a candle, and disappeared once more. For 25 years, the rabbi saved the candle as a reminder of the miracle that happened for him and to show his students how God takes special care of those who sincerely trust in him.

But then, a fire broke out in the town. The rabbi’s home was among the houses destroyed in the fire. Everything in the house was destroyed, including the legendary candle. “You should know,” said the rabbi to his students, “that heaven made us lose the candle in order to teach us that we must trust in God even when we have no proof that He will help us.”

In Psalm 94, the psalmist described a situation that didn’t look good: “The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.” The situation appeared hopeless. Even as an angry and evil mob converged against defenseless innocents, the psalm writer avowed, “but the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.” Even when the situations in our life appear hopeless and we can’t see a way for them to work out, the psalmist encourages us to have faith anyway.

It’s one thing to have faith when everything is going well in our lives. Sure, things can change on a dime, but who stays up at night worrying about putting food on the table, when they have a stable job? It’s another thing to have faith in God when there is no money in the bank and no bread in the basket. This psalm reminds us that in even the most hopeless of situations, we are not allowed to lose our faith in God. In fact, it is our very faith that has the power to turn around the worst situation and to bring about the greatest miracles.

Let our faith be our fortress. When life rains down all kinds of problems on us, when it thunders and pours, let us take refuge in our faith. We don’t need to know how God will take care of us; we only need to believe that He can.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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