Lord, how numerous are my enemies! Many attack me. 2 Many say about me, “God will not deliver him.” (Selah) 3 But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me. 4 To the Lord I cried out, and he answered me from his holy hill. (Selah) 5 I rested and slept; I awoke, for the Lord protects me. 6 I am not afraid of the multitude of people who attack me from all directions. 7 Rise up, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Yes, you will strike all my enemies on the jaw; you will break the teeth of the wicked. 8 The Lord delivers; you show favor to your people. (Selah)
Psalm 4:1-3, 6-8
1 When I call out, answer me, O God who vindicates me! Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place. Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer! 2 You men, how long will you try to turn my honor into shame? How long will you love what is worthless and search for what is deceptive? (Selah) 3 Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to him. 6 Many say, “Who can show us anything good?” Smile upon us, Lord! 7 You make me happier than those who have abundant grain and wine. 8 I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure.
David was fleeing for his life from his own son when he wrote this Psalm. In a moment he, though he was King, lost the freedom He had. When we consider all he had to go through prior to becoming King, the thought of returning to a similar state of hiding out in caves I am sure evoked thoughts of horror. Once he had tasted of persecution and had the resulting freedom, he probably never anticipated going through it all again. But there it was. And from his own flesh and blood.
There is a war on freedom today, felt as far away as Syria and as near as a neighboring county. Sometimes from strangers, sometimes from family and sometimes from those in authority. The familiar struggle for power from the enemy of our souls is wrought upon those he would seek to control. In particular among all of the freedoms we earn (not given), freedom of religion is perhaps chief among the freedoms that are the most difficult to maintain.
We dare not grow apathetic about our brothers and sisters who fight for their lives because of what they believe. Nor can we disregard when basic freedoms threaten to be removed in our own country, county, city or town because of someone’s misinterpretation (ill-conceived or in ignorance) of the law.
Such was the case last night when the freedom to home educate children under the religious exemption statute in Virginia was being threatened. I do not ever recall feeling more proud of home schoolers and fellow citizens than last night, seeing sincere mothers, fathers, children, citizens – speaking up for freedom, even though it might not have been their own freedom they fought for.
There is something inherently wrong about individuals or organizations thinking they have the right to come into someone’s home and tell a parent or a child what they should believe or what educational choice they should make for their child. But last night, freedom won. Common sense won. All present had the opportunity of seeing democracy fleshed out and felt the very amazing, patriotic feeling of seeing freedom being reinstated. Much like those who first came to this country for the very same reason – freedom to worship their God and live before him in accordance with their convictions without interference – witnesses of last night’s debate once again thanked God for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.
A funny thing happens when basic freedom of religion is threatened. God’s people cry out. God hears. People who had formerly forgotten that the freedoms gained must be maintained, suddenly ignite with a sense of purpose. The joy felt when justice is given and the favor of God is apparent is indescribable. Sometimes we have to almost lose a freedom to appreciate it all the more and recognize the favor of God that is upon us when we walk in accordance to His Word. Although I am certain my friends would have preferred not to undergo the persecution and threats they suffered, the result ended up in God receiving glory and their freedoms cherished by many.
Lord, help us to not take for granted the freedom we have to worship You. May we cry out to You and see once again Your favor on our land, one nation under God.