Never Retreat in Fear

Yael Eckstein  |  November 25, 2022

Yael embracing an elderly Jewish woman in need.

a lion, mighty among beasts,
    who retreats before nothing…
— Proverbs 30:30

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

We live in turbulent times. We all feel it. Between the coronavirus pandemic that changed our lives in so many ways, to the war in Ukraine, to the economic issues that we are all experiencing, it seems that uncertainty and instability has become the norm. More than ever, we need to remember that God is on the throne. He was on the throne before these problems arose, and He’ll be there when they fade into history.

Here in Israel, instability has been a feature of our national life for as long as anyone can remember. In case you haven’t noticed, the State of Israel lives in a rough neighborhood. Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been surrounded by hostile enemies who openly declare their commitment to destroy the Jewish state.

Today, the greatest threat to Israel is Iran, a regime that continues to march toward a nuclear bomb, which they say they will use to annihilate Israel. To quote the text of the Haggadah, the text of the Passover seder, “In every generation there are those who rise up to destroy us.”

Never Retreat in Fear

A great Hasidic rabbi, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, used to say, “The whole world is a narrow bridge. But the main thing is to have no fear at all.” Rabbi Nachman might as well have been describing the lion in Proverbs: “mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing.”

Throughout the Bible, the lion is both a symbol of God (Amos 3:8) and of the kingdom of David (Genesis 49:9). That’s why today the lion is also the symbol of the city of Jerusalem, the seat of David’s kingdom and the site of God’s Holy Temple.

One of the notable characteristics of the lion that makes it different from most other large cats is that the lion does not live a solitary life. It stays with its pride, its family, to protect it from attack.

So even as the State of Israel continues to be threatened by our enemies, we put our trust in the lion, our Father in heaven who protects us. And like the lion, we will never retreat in fear.

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