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"Fret Not Thyself"

Psalm 37.1.

It is sad to reflect upon the number of spiritual lives that have either been greatly impeded in the Lord's service, or alas! have ceased entirely to bear fruit to God's glory because of the evil trait of fretfulness, resulting also in eternal loss at the judgement-seat of Christ.

David was a wonderful man of God, and his pathway to the throne led through experiences of suffering and hardship. At one time the daughters of Israel were singing his praises because by the strength of God he had been the saviour of Israel, but later he is seen fleeing from the jealous wrath of king Saul, and the one who had been anointed by Samuel as king of Israel finds himself an outcast in the cave of Adullam, supported only by a handful of men. He was hunted as a partridge on the mountains and his trials appeared to have reached their limit when he returned to fire-razed Ziklag and those men, who had followed him faithfully and loved him dearly, turned against him and spake of stoning him (1 Samuel 30.6). The day came, however, when he occupied the throne of Israel; then, reflecting upon the vicissitudes of his chequered life and the wonderful way God had dealt with him, he was used by the Spirit of God to write many precious psalms which have been the means down the ages of binding up broken hearts, uplifting the fallen in spirit and strengthening the weak. He knew something of the danger of fretfulness and of the awful havoc that follows in its train.

Fretfulness causes its victim to feed on grudges and grievances, Satan always being ready at hand to make matters worse. How easy it would have been for Joseph to succumb to feelings of self-pity and lapse into a fretful frame of mind as he lay in the dungeon, suffering for righteousness' sake, and enduring the pain caused by the iron fetters.! But he endured and the day came when the dark clouds which had obscured God's purposes for a time were rolled away and in the light of their fulfilment he could say to his brethren-"As for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50.20).

Satan would doubtless have loved to stir up in the heart of Caleb a spirit of jealousy and fretfulness when Joshua was appointed by the LORD to lead the armies of Israel into the promised land. Had not these two brethren spied out the land together along with the fearful ten? Had not Caleb marched with Joshua through those eventful forty years in the wilderness and seen the flower of Israel's manhood fall and perish because of the faithlessness and faintheartedness manifested at Kadesh-Barnea? And did not he belong to the tribe of Judah? How easy therefore, it might have been for Caleb to covet Joshua's position, just as Korah and his three accomplices sought the position of Moses and Aaron. But no! Joshua and Caleb were men who were far to6 spiritual for this.

A lovely picture of happy fellowship is presented to us in Joshua 44.18, 14. "And Joshua blessed him (Caleb) and he gave Hebron unto Caleb for an inheritance ... because that he wholly followed the LORD, the God of Israel." The gold refiner sat before the crucible containing the precious metal, watching intently lest the fire become one degree hotter than necessary to purge away the dross, and we can visualize his smile of satisfaction as the purified metal reflects his own face.

Job could say, in the midst of his awful suffering, "But He knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23.10).

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, in which there were contentions, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man I have put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 43. 14). Fretting is childishness. "Brethren, be not children in mind; howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men" (1 Corinthians 14.20). In Psalm 37, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, gives the warning concerning fretfulness and the remedy for it, having behind him a wealth of experience. He had been young and now was old (verse 25). Thrice he warns against fretting : "Fret not thyself because of evil-doers" (verse 1). "Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way" (verse 7) and "Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil-doing" (verse 8). What about the remedy? Here it is in fivefold fulness" mist in the LORD " (verse 3), "Delight thyself also in the LORD " (verse 4), "Commit thy way into the LORD" (verse 5), and finally, "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him" (verse 7).