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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYerah 4-5

And he appeared

Genesis 21:5-21

And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will kill me for my wife's sake.

Gen. 20:11 MKJV

What is the best way to hold back sin?

King Avimelech had taken Sarah as his wife because Avraham had said that she was his sister. Avraham knew that if only a key ingredient was missing in these people’s souls, he would be in danger of death for his beautiful wife’s sake. That key ingredient was fear of the Most High.

In the Hebrew text it is written: rak ein yirat Elohim ba makom haze רק אין יראת אלהים במקום הזה  - “only there is no fear of the Almighty in this place”. There was only one thing needed for that society not to surrender to unlimited sin – fear of heaven.

Fear of heaven is the best way to hold sin back in human beings. Where there is no fear of heaven sin can spread and multiply freely.

In Exodus 20:20 it is written: “Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin." (ESV) And in Jeremiah 32:40 it is written: “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” (ESV) And in Deuteronomy 10:12-13 it is written: “"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? (ESV)

The Eternal intervened in this critical situation by speaking to the Philistine king in dreams. He told him that if he didn’t bring Sarah back to Avraham he would die along with all his people. This caused a lot of fear in him and his men.

The one who understands that the Almighty who is in heaven can do everything, sees all and judges the entire world; becomes aware that if he doesn’t do the right thing he is in danger of death. The one who doesn’t know that “...the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Rom. 1:18 ESV); and the one who doesn’t know that “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” (Psal. 7:11 ESV) does not mind his thoughts, nor control his tongue, nor hold his hand from evildoing. The one who knows that “...no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13 ESV) is afraid of sinning. He who knows that sin carries grave consequences minds his behaviour.

When the men at Gerar found out that the Eternal was watching everything and that He rebuked the king’s behaviour, even if he acted out of innocence, trusting Avraham and Sarah’s half truth, they were very afraid.  A seemingly innocent incident against an anointed prophet of the Eternal caused sterility in the whole people and the risk of dying before time.

In Psalm 147:11 it is written: “The LORD is pleased with those who fear him, with those who wait with hope for his mercy.” (Godīs Word)

Let’s serve the Eternal with fear and trembling,


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