After these things the word of the L-RD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

The phrase “Do not be afraid” appears fifty eight times in the Tanakh. Sometimes it is
G-D who is speaking it to Abram, Moses or Joshua, saying, “Do not be afraid”. Sometimes Moses, Joshua, or Joseph are telling the children of Israel “Do not be afraid.”

It is G-D, the guarantor that makes a statement like that possible. If HaShem is your
G-D, if He is my G-D, when He is our guarantor, our shield, our exceedingly great reward, fear should not be in the equation. So what are we afraid of or should I ask why are we are afraid.

I’m afraid to take that next step of faith, that step that might change my life and I love what I do and don’t want to loose it. Yet how do I know that the next step of faith will change that area of my life, it may but then again it may not. The simple act of faith may change it to be better.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in G-D, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”

I say you’re my G-D and I call you Adonai, L-RD. I say I love you and I like to think I love you with my whole heart, mind, strength and soul… But do I? I often say “I will do what I do until He wants me to move somewhere else and do something else, yet I am afraid to give Him liberty to take this useless lump of clay and let him turn it into a vessel for his glory, whether it be here or there.

I guess I don’t love Him as much as I think I do or wish I did. If I did love Him with my whole heart I would trust Him more and take that step. Whatever that step is in my life He wants me to take it, and whatever that step is in your life, He wants you to take.

There is still too much of me that gets in His way and I need to be empted of self, of my desires, even of my will. If the bottle is full of sand how can it ever be filled with water? The sand needs to be emptied out first; if not I will we will die of thirst.

African hunters have a clever way of trapping monkeys. They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the bush, and wait.

Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips its hand through the small hole, grasps the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won’t come out; it’s too big for the hole.

To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger it is in. While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters approach and capture the monkey by throwing a net over it. As long as the monkey keeps its fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey is trapped. The only way the monkey could save its life is to let go of the orange and flee.

I have to let go and “Do not be afraid” why because of the next eight words, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”