the Rev. David Freeman
Suffering and Sin: A Meditation on the Sixth Psalm
1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
David was a great sufferer. But he suffered in a way in which most people do not suffer. They call that suffering which affects their fortunes in this world. It goes not beyond their physical and mental woes. David saw his sins as the cause of his misfortunes. It was not, however, that he was a greater sinner than others, but that he felt his sins more keenly than others.
True, he was stricken by calamities, but it was the sin which these things brought before him that brought pain. As blighted plants and fields in a drought droop and wither away; as one sick and feverish is weak; so far did he feel his strength dissipated. There was nothing left within or without to lean upon. One cannot conceive of a more crushed and afflicted man. He was weary with his groaning; he watered his couch with his tears; his eye was consumed with grief. The shadow of death was over him. All was dark.
Many a man has been brought low by calamity, but none have described it as this man of God describes it. The reason is that his sufferings had a deep inwardness about them. He related them to God. They touched his soul.
The Sovereign God
To a man of God nothing that happens is outside of God's plan and purpose for him. It is God who is dealing with him even though the calamity is apparently brought on by himself or by others. He is a sovereign God and with Him we ever have to do. David did not restrict God to his joys, hut he took Him into account in his sorrows as well. The Lord was ever before him.
Sin Against God
We are always offenders before God. No man can stand before Him innocent of great transgression, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no, not one. Our misfortune is not undeserved. Who can stand before God and say that he deserves more than he has received? We have rather cause to say that we have been treated better than we have deserved. We cannot say that we deserve better than we have received. What we deserve is the last ounce of God's wrath, which we richly merit because of our sins.
David knew the wickedness of his own heart. He knew he had no merit to plead; therefore he acknowledged his sins to be justly recompensed. His sad case did not lead to murmuring and repining as it does to many of us. Before the eyes of a godly man, God is always justified in His dealings. "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
We have not seen the hideousness of sin, nor the offense which it is toGod, if we do not acknowledge that we have been dealt with justly. More is not laid upon us than is due to us as sinners.
(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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