the Rev. Dvid Freeman
On Being Slandered: A Meditation on the Seventh Psalm
1 O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:
2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.
3 O LORD my God, If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)
5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.
6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.
7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.
8 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.
9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.
11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
Some of the most sainted of men have been the most slandered and maligned. The Devil delights to make them a target for his malice and hatred. When there is no fault to he found in a godly person, it is easy enough for envy and ill will to invent one.
While some of Cod's children have a few enemies, the Psalmist had many to harass and molest him. It is no wonder he cried out to God for deliverance. Who is sufficient for a world set against those who love the Lord, but the Lord Himself? We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places. Back of all evil is the Evil One.
A Heavy Burden
Of all the burdens the children of God are called upon to bear, this is one of the heaviest. And if they can, in such a trial, still hope in God, it is a true indication of an abiding faith. This is indeed a heavy cross to hear, but no cross ever won a brighter crown if borne patiently for Jesus' sake.
It was for no offence of David's that he was spoken against. The blessing of God comes to those against whom all manner of evil is falsely spoken. The 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."
Now the true man of God examines himself to see whether or not the things said of him are so. He does not nonchalantly dismiss them. Only if false, as he knows in his heart before the all-knowing and righteous God, is he ready tn ask God to defend him. If our case is not right, if we have not done according to truth and honor, we cannot hope that God will take our side. It is an affront to God to ask Him to be party to a matter that will not stand the light of His justice and righteousness. Are we worthy of the help of God if we give occasion to those who oppose us?
"Love Your Enemies"
Not only did David do no wrong to the innocent, but he did good to his enemies. Even to those who hated him without a cause, and from whom he suffered grievous wrongs, he showed kindness and mercy. No man could justly say that he received any harm from his hands. It was no new commandment when our Lord said, "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you," It was binding upon every Old Testament saint. In obeying it David proved himself to be a child of his heavenly Father. This commandment involves the putting away of all rancour towards an adversary; to do him all the real offices of kindness that opportunity shall lay in our way; and to pray for him. Love so manifested to an enemy reaches up to heaven. It will not lose its reward. The gospel enjoins a greater love to our enemies than men, for the most part, today show their friends.
(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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