Credit:Eva Geller 2014
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is a double portion, Nitzavim-Vayelech, from Deuteronomy 29:9–31:30. Nitzavim means “standing,” and Vayelech means “when he went.”
Losing my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, to a sudden heart attack was the most difficult experience of my life. I lost not only a loving parent, but also my professional mentor. I had worked with my father at The Fellowship for 13 years and the plan was for me to assume the position of president once he retired. However, I always thought my father would be by my side to guide me.
At first, I questioned my ability to fulfill my new role. But my father had always taught me that any challenge God placed in front of me was one that I could handle. He taught me to be strong because God would never leave me. So, I let go of my fears and trusted God to help me do my job well — and He has done so ever since. Today, The Fellowship is stronger than ever.
In this week’s reading, Moses informed the Israelites that he was going to die and would not accompany them into the Promised Land. This was a huge blow to the nation. Until that time, Moses was the only leader they had ever had. He led their parents out of Egypt, shepherded them through the desert, brought them the Word of God, and attained God’s forgiveness when they sinned.
Moses was more than a leader; he was a parent and a savior. How could the Israelites accomplish the monumental task of capturing and settling Canaan without Moses?
Anticipating their fears, Moses encouraged the people, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Moses assured the Israelites that they would succeed because God would always be with them and never forsake them.
In our own lives, we all have certain people or things that we have come to rely upon. Yet, we need to know that even if we lost the people or things that help us feel secure, God will never leave us. If we walk in faith and obedience, God will fight our battles. And when God fights for us, nothing can stand against us!
What challenge are your facing today? Repeat these stirring words from Deuteronomy 31:6 to yourself; commit them to memory. Know that you can confidently face whatever challenges come your way and successfully overcome them.