So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done. — Psalm 143:4–5
A note to our readers: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins today at sundown and will be observed for the next two days. Because it is a non-working holiday, these devotions were prepared for you in advance.
Have you ever experienced a miracle?
At first blush, many folks might answer no. No sea parted for us; the water of our enemies hasn’t been turned into blood. However, when we look back on our lives and dig beneath the surface, we find that miracles abound. God’s benevolent intervention in our lives is everywhere.
Did you ever lose one job only to find another, better one? Did a chance encounter with one person lead to something amazing in your life, maybe even your spouse? Have you ever received unexpected money just when you needed it?
The truth is that we have all received miracles in our lives.
In Psalm 143, David needed a miracle. He was being pursued by enemies and he felt defeat was near: “My spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.” David has already taught us in other psalms that the right thing to do in this situation is to pray. However, David introduces us to another “coping technique” in this psalm: “I remember the days of long ago, I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” David remembered the past and that gave him the strength to get through the present.
The Jewish sages explain that David would think back to the miracles that God had already done for the children of Israel and that would encourage him to have faith that God would come through for him, too. We can imagine David thinking about the Israelites as they stood sandwiched between the Egyptians and the Red Sea – and then the sea miraculously parted!
Or perhaps David thought about when the Israelites walked through the desert for 40 years and how God provided them with water to drink from a miraculous well and fed them with the manna that fell from the heavens each day. David might have remembered the miracle of the sun standing still for Joshua so that he could finish his battle and win the war against his enemies.
David could have been thinking about any or all of these miracles and more. They would have strengthened and inspired him to stay strong.
We can model David’s example and do the same. However, we don’t need to look that far into the past to find miracles which inspire. We can simply look back on our own lives and observe how God has been there for us, gently guiding and steering us in the right direction, every step of the way.
Just as God has saved and helped us in the past, surely He will do so in the present and in the future!
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President