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.
More than once the children of God in this, world have been hard pressed on every hand. In fact, their history has been one of trial and tribulation. This is promised them in God's Word: "In the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16: 33).
The odds were overwhelmingly against David. He was fleeing from his son, Absalom, and the nation was in open rebellion against him. Humanly speaking there was no hope for him. He must inevitably be overcome by his ever-increasing number of enemies. David was fully aware of his hopeless position. He cried, "How many are mine enemies," "Many rise up against me," "Ten thousands of the people have set themselves against me."
It was a bitter sorrow that carne to this man of God. Many whom he had favored and trusted had joined the conspiracy of his own household, which arose through the treason of his own son.
The enemies of God's kingdom, as established then by God through David, were very happy to see him in distress. They looked upon his troubles as evidence that God had rejected him. They even said that he deserved no help from God. This is the way of God's enemies. They speak of that about which they know nothing at all. Ignorant, they pry into the counsels of the Almighty and insolently take the reigns of His government into their own hands. To this they add impious lies, hoping that by them they may the more distress His servants.
Have we not seen similar things in this our day? Have we not heard men say of the Lord's own works that the Lord is not in them and has not falsehood been resorted to in order to accomplish the destruction of God's saints?
But all that man might do is only to the body. Our Lord said, "My friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do." Our striving cannot be losing because God is on our side. Suffering for Him can only mean victory because it will tell for the furtherance of the gospel. The apostle Paul wanted men to know that the things that happened to him were for the greater advance of the kingdom of God. Should we not rejoice that God uses even His enemies to bring glory to His name?
(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!
© 2022 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church