The Power of Faith
Yael Eckstein | August 17, 2022
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. — Deuteronomy 8:18
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Eikev, which means “therefore” or “heel,” from Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25.
There’s an old parable about faith that I’ve always loved. A man was in the ocean when a storm destroyed his boat. Flung into the water, he grabbed onto a wooden beam floating nearby, holding on for dear life. He turned to heaven. “Almighty God. I have been Your faithful servant, never questioning You and always living according to Your Word. Please show me Your love and send a miracle to save me.”
A few minutes later, a boat came by. “No thank you,” he said, clinging to his floating beam of wood, “God will save me.” The men in the boat were astonished, but the storm was getting worse, and they needed to get to shore to save themselves. Then, a helicopter appeared overhead, a rope ladder lowered to rescue him. Again, he refused the offer of help, insisting that God would save him. Predictably, the man eventually drowned.
In heaven he was brought before God. “Why God? Why didn’t you save me in my time of distress?” “Why didn’t I save you?” God replied. “First, I sent a boat and then I sent a helicopter. It was you who refused to be saved.”
The Power of Faith
We see the lesson that faith doesn’t mean that we passively wait for God in this week’s Torah portion: “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
In this verse, the Hebrew word for “wealth” is chayil, which actually means “strength” or “power.” A chayal — from the same root — is the word for “soldier.”
This verse teaches us that faith, remembering God, is not meant to make us passive, simply waiting for God to bestow blessings and miracles on us. On the contrary, we need the power of faith to give us the confidence and courage we need to make choices and succeed in all our endeavors.
Are you waiting for God? Are you putting off a big decision that you are hesitant about? Pray to God for the courage and strength to move forward.