The Power of Teshuvah – Day 22
For Your Protection
Despite the uplifting reality of yirah, most people do not feel awe all day every day. We understand that yiras Shamayim can save us from sin, much like a pain in one’s chest can provide the warning that will save a person from a fatal heart attack. We also understand that the stark awareness of God’s presence helps us control our words and actions.
Even so, most people find the awareness of such close Divine scrutiny to be uncomfortable. Making it a constant mind-set is therefore even more difficult. Very few people would feel at ease in having their every move monitored by a video camera, even if they behaved in an exemplary fashion. Yet the sense of yirah sets up just such a situation, in which we must always have in mind that everything we do and say is seen, recorded, and judged.
On a deeper level, however, there is a feeling of comfort in living one’s life in awe of God. A person who continually senses God’s awesome presence consistently senses His protection. As King David writes: “Gam ki eileich b’gei tzalmaves lo irah ra ki Atah imadi, Though I walk in the valley overshadowed by death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Five-year-old Dovid can’t wait to ride his new bike up and down the sidewalk in front of his house. It sits in the driveway waiting for him and his little heart is brimming with eagerness to get out there and ride.
At the same time, he’s scared. The big boy who lives across the street might run over and swipe his new bike out from under him, just as he swiped Dovid’s ball, his kite, and his watergun. Worse yet, his other neighbor’s frisky little puppy might race out of the yard and chase him. There’s another danger too; Dovid knows he has to be very careful to stay on the sidewalk, because if his father sees him riding in the road, he’ll lose his bike privileges for a whole week. “Why do parents have to be so strict?” he mumbles to himself.
The little boy’s desire to ride his bike far outweighs his anxieties and he asks his father permission to go outside.
“Go and enjoy your new bike,” his father says. “But pay very careful attention to stay on the sidewalk. I will be watching you and checking on you every few minutes, so don’t forget!”
Dovid leaves the house happy. His father will be watching. If the puppy chases him or the bully bothers him, his father will protect him. True, he has to stay on the sidewalk rather than riding in the road like the older kids. But even this, he knows, is for his own protection. Being loved, being protected, being watched — it all comes from the same source.
The heart of this child reflects the comfort and security yiras Shamayim confers upon those who are willing to make their Creator the foremost presence in their lives.
Points to Ponder:
- Even though yirah is an essential tool of our spiritual lives, the constant awareness of God’s presence may be uncomfortable.
- With God’s constant scrutiny comes His constant protection.
- In building yirah, we not only prevent ourselves from sinning, but foster a sense of security in our lives.