the Rev. David Freeman
Be Not Afraid: A Meditation on the Fourth Psalm
1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Fear destroys peace and robs the believer of joy. The children of God have no cause to fear. David of all men might have surrendered himself to sorrow and discouragement. The adverse judgments of men and the slanderous reports of his enemies and onetime friends were sufficient to overwhelm a mightier man than he. Yet he was not cast down.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." These evil reports are not sent without His permission, that the soul might lean the more heavily upon Him who is the God of all righteousness. With such a God as the Lord, who is the friend and advocate of His people, why should one be given to tearfulness?
There have been but few truly godly men that have escaped the slander of the world. The history of God's people abounds with examples of men whose only appeal was to heaven. It is a mark of great grace in the soul when it can look away from the wrongful abuse of men and place itself directly in the presence of God and His holy angels. Paul, the apostle, did this when he said, "He that judgeth rne is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." (I Cor. 4:4-5.)
The Weapons Against Fear
The Christian's attitude should be one of constant prayer, but especially should he betake himself to this exercise when hemmed in by the malice of men. This is part of the armor of God which enables him to stand against the wiles of the devil. The enemy only throws his missiles in vain with such a protection. Prayer is the vantage ground of the saint. A clear conscience, one that is void of offence, will give serenity and calm. God will take the side of him who has loved mercy, done justly, and walked humMy with Him, and in this fellowship there is repose.
It is true that a man should not put his own righteousness before God, for the cleanness of man is filthiness before God, yet for God's honor, and not man's, it is proper to present to God what He has Himself wrought" a well-assured conscience. This plea of a good conscience is often made by the servants of God in Holy Scripture. Paul before Felix said, "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." This even gave him cause for great rejoicing as he says in another place, "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." (II Cor. 1:12).
A man cannot expect freedom from a troubled mind if his ways have not been according to the commandment of God. On the other hand, the world is no match for him who has called upon God to defend his integrity.
(to be continued)
"Lift Up Your Heart" is a series of devotionals by the late Rev. David Freeman, an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for most of his life. These devotionals, in fact, are part of the early history of our denomination. The first of them was published in The Presbyterian Guardian in 1935; the denomination now known as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church was officially formed in 1936. We believe that "the Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8; see 1 Peter 1:25). Thus it is no surprise that meditations based on that Word have continued relevance today. Dr. Freeman's devotionals are proof of that fact.
David Freeman was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.B., 1928; Th.M. , 1930) and of Dropsie Univiersity (Ph.D., 1951). He served as pastor at Grace (later New Covenant) Presbyterian Church (OPC), Philadelphia, PA (1936-1946), Knox Presbyterian Church (OPC), Philadelphia, PA (1949-1962), and Grace Presbyterian Church (OPC), Fall River, MA (1962-1967). He authored many articles and (along with his son, David H. Freeman) is the author of the book A Philosophical Study of Religion, which appeared in 1964. He went to be with the Lord in 1984.
There is one change from the way the daily devotional was handled in the past with John Skilton's Think On These Things: New devotionals for the new series appear on weekdays only (Monday through Saturday. It is suggested that you use your pastor's sermon text(s) as the basis for your mediations on the Lord's Day.
We trust that you will find these devotionals, once again made available seventy years after they first appeared, to be a personal help in your own Christian walk today!
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