A Time for Courage
James Scott Trimm
I would like to share with you some words of wisdom: The world is facing a crisis and it is a time for us to exhibit the virtue of courage. Solomon lists “courage” as one of the labors of wisdom which are virtues:
5 If riches are a desirable possession in life,
what is richer than wisdom who effects all things?
6 And if understanding is effective,
who more than she is fashioner of what exists?
7 And if any one loves righteousness,
her labors are virtues;
for she teaches self-control and prudence,
justice and courage;
nothing in life is more profitable for men than these.
(Wisdom of Solomon 8:5-7 RSV)
In Fourth Maccabees we read:
21 Now when Elohim fashioned man, he planted in him emotions and inclinations,
22 but at the same time he enthroned the mind among the senses as a sacred governor over them all.
23 To the mind he gave the Torah; and one who lives subject to this will rule a kingdom that is temperate, just, good, and courageous.
At times such as this, fear is an irrational response, and a poor substitute for another of the virtues , or labors of wisdom: rational prudence.
We should not react with fear, but we should react with rational prudence, and we must not confuse the two, even as others do.
In a world crisis such as this, it is important to understand that there are things that we can control and much more that we cannot control. Worry is a form of fear, and there is no real reason to worry. Why do I say there is no real reason to worry? Because whatever issue you are facing, you can either do something about it, or you cannot. If you can do something about it, then there is no reason to worry, because you can do something about it. If you cannot do anything about it, then there is no reason to worry, because there is nothing you can do about it. This is what Yeshua meant when he said:
 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
(Matthew 6:25-34 KJV)
One final word of wisdom. Philo of Alexandria quite wisely said:
“…the Torah corresponds to the world and the world to the Torah, and that a man who is obedient to the Torah, being, by so doing, a citizen of the world, arranges his actions with reference to the intention of nature, in harmony with which the whole universal world is regulated.
(Philo; On Creation 3)
“…the man who adhered to these laws, and clung closely to a connection with and obedience to nature, would live in a manner corresponding to the arrangement of the universe with a perfect harmony and union, between his words and his actions and between his actions and his words.
(On the Life of Moses 2, 48)
YHWH created the universe with natural laws. These natural laws reflect the way YHWH designed the universe to run. We may therefore conclude that the natural laws, are the way YHWH likes His universe to function. The super-natural is the rare exception that typically goes against the way YHWH designed His universe to run. We should arrange our actions with reference to the intention of nature, rather than with an expectation of supernatural intervention. This is not to deny the supernatural, or to have a lack of faith in YHWH, but simply to have a rationally prudent arrangement of ones action in agreement with the intentions of nature as expressed by natural laws.
This is why we read in the Wisdom of Ben Sirah:
 Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him.
 For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king.
 The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration.
 The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.
 Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known?
 And he hath given men skill, that he might be honoured in his marvellous works.
 With such doth he heal [men,] and taketh away their pains.
 Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth,
 My son, in thy sickness be not negligent: but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole.
 Leave off from sin, and order thine hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness.
 Give a sweet savour, and a memorial of fine flour; and make a fat offering, as not being.
 Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him: let him not go from thee, for thou hast need of him.
 There is a time when in their hands there is good success.
 For they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper that, which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.
 He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hand of the physician.
(Ben Sirah 38:1-15 KJV)
With this in mind, when given the option, one should not take actions that might, in the course of nature, expose oneself, or a group, to a disease, with the expectation of supernatural protection. If one is in a burning house, one would exit the house, not stay there expecting supernatural protection. Yes miracles happen, but by definition, they run contrary to the way the universe was designed to function, and therefor contrary to the way YHWH likes His universe to run.
So DON’T PANIC! Face this crisis with courage and rational prudence. Don’t worry. If you can do something about an issue you face, then don’t worry, because you can do something. If you cannot do anything about a given situation, then leave that to YHWH. Don’t discount YHWH’s use of Physicians to help us. Do take actions in harmony with the arrangement of nature, and do not take actions expecting supernatural intervention, because natural laws are the Creator’s intention for the universe in which we live.
May YHWH give us courage to accept the things we cannot control, and to act on things we can control, and give us the rational prudence to distinguish the one from the other.
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