the Rev. David Freeman
When the Childen of God Are Hard Pressed: A Meditation on the Third Psalm
1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
Believers Are Not Forsaken
God is not one to withhold help from His needy. He is the covenant God. "The Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil." He cannot deny His word or go back on His promises. No matter how men may deride, yet God will not forsake His own. When they are afflicted, He draws even nearer as a shield strong and mighty.
What was David's plea in seeking help from God? It was a rare faith which he manifested when stricken with great fear; he dared to lay his complaint in the bosom of God. He came boldly to the throne of grace. True, he had not deserved the ill usage which he received from even his friends, but at the same time he did not bring before God his own innocence as a ground or cause for God to bestow favor upon him. It was rather the righteousness of God that he adored and to which he submitted. He looked to God for the conferring of that righteousness upon him as a sinner. On the basis of free grace and mercy he hoped in God (Rom. 4:6).
Absalom promised himself the favor of God. Trampling under foot the decrees of God he set out to make a way for himself in the nation. He would make God bow to his desires. He was self-appointed and self-directed. But no man can make himself favorable in God's sight, because there is nothing in man in himself that is worthy of merit (Jer. 17:9). Acceptance of man is wholly God's right, for He owes no man anything. Out of His great love and grace He delights to show mercy upon whom He will have mercy.
Did not God choose David according to His own wise counsels from all eternity? He was not made king of his own volition, but he was set apart to that high office according to the decree of God. How can God's help he withheld from those whom He has called? He "hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (IT Tim, 1: 9). God has pledged Himself to us, having given His Son to die for us. This electing love of God is the basis of our confidence that He will not forsake us, as it was of David's and that of all the people of God. We rejoice in tribulation not because we have chosen God to be our portion, but because He has chosen us and ordained us to life everlasting (John 15: 16).
Confidence in God Is Reasonable
God is the Light, Teacher, Guide, Comforter of His people. His salvation is from temporal dangers and eternal misery. With such a God on his side David determined that he would not yield to fear, even if a whole army should march in battle array to wage war against him.
David was often delivered out of trouble and danger. When he called for help, God answered. As in former limes we have committed ourselves by faith and prayer to the divine protection, so what should hinder us from betaking ourselves to God in the present emergency?
Every temporal deliverance should be received as an earnest of eternal salvation. It is God's way of showing Himself mighty to save.
What of our light afflictions if we look unto Jesus and contrast His glory and His grace with the conlempt and cruelty with which He was treated? "For consider him that endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have nol yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin" (Heb. 12:3, 4).
"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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