Give us aid against the enemy,
for human help is worthless.
With God we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies. — Psalm 60:11–12
In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his life work helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
Today is another wonderful day. There are blessings in store for us and beautiful moments to be shared. However, like all days, we also will face our fair share of challenges.
The big question is how will we deal with them?
The Jewish sages teach that our most powerful weapon against all destructive forces is the internalization of the words found in Deuteronomy 4:35: “. . . the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” When we recognize that God is the most powerful force in the world at work, we can be assured a place under His protective wing. No harm can come to us, and no person can damage us unless God allows it. When we fully believe that God is in control of every single thing, we merit His full and powerful protection.
Rabbi Isaac Soloveitchick, who survived World War II, describes how this verse literally saved his life. In his youth, he was instructed by his grandfather to remember the verse in order to receive divine protection. When things got bad for the Jews in Poland, the rabbi decided that it was time to escape from Warsaw to Vilna, Lithuania.
Shifting Our Faith to God
With Nazis lurking everywhere, the roads were extremely dangerous for Jews, but the rabbi kept the verse in his head. Once, the rabbi’s thoughts strayed and suddenly there was a vicious Nazi headed his way with death in his eyes. Immediately, the rabbi collected his thoughts and remembered, “. . . the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” Instantly and inexplicably, the Nazi disappeared, and the rabbi was saved.
In Psalm 60, King David expressed the very same idea this way: “. . . human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory . . .” When we shift our faith from human beings to God, we can experience miraculous protection and salvation and can overcome our challenges.
The rabbis provide a telling analogy. Imagine you are confronted with a vicious dog. You might be frightened at first, but then you notice that the dog is attached to a leash and the leash is held by the dog’s owner. Now you feel safe, knowing that the situation is under control. In the same way, when we recognize that God is the owner of everything in the world, we can feel secure. Moreover, when we acknowledge that God “holds the leash,” so-to-speak – that He maintains control over everything in the world – we know that we are protected.
I want to encourage us to focus on God today and shift our faith to Him, no matter what may come our way. Whether we face a dangerous situation or simply a difficult person at work, at home, or in the street, remember that God is in control and with His help “we will gain the victory.”
Join us on Facebook this Thursday, May 6, for a day of fasting and prayer during the Fellowship Fast 2021. Learn how you can get involved here.