Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin
by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity. —Job 36:10
We must be moved to think upon our sins and be sorry for them, and then to note that Elihu adds that God then opens our ears. That saying can mean two things in Scripture. Sometimes it merely means to speak to us: and sometimes it means to touch our hearts in such a way that we hear what is said to us.
God therefore opens our ears when he sends us his Word and causes it to be set before us; and again he opens our ears, or uncovers them (for that is what the Hebrew word means), when he does not allow us to be deaf to his doctrine, but causes it to find entrance into us that we may receive it, and be moved by it, and that its power may show itself. These are the two ways of opening our ears which we see that God daily uses toward us.
Also he opens the ears of those whom he afflicts, in that he gives them some sign of his wrath, thereby to teach them to bethink themselves better than they have done. If a man ask, "What then; does not God speak to us in prosperity?" Yes, surely he does, but his voice cannot reach us, because we are preoccupied with our own delights and worldly affections.
And undoubtedly we see that when men have their fill of good cheer and make merry at their own good pleasure, and live in health and wealth, they are overjoyed. There is then no other conversation but about pleasure. God is no longer heard among them. But afflictions are messengers of his wrath, and then we are touched with his wrath, so that we come to our senses again. So afflictions in general ought to serve for instruction to those that receive them, so that they may draw near to God, from whom they had previously been estranged.
...Yet, however, men do not let themselves be governed by God until he has softened their hearts by his Holy Spirit and opened the passage for the warnings that he gives and pierced men's ears in order that they may dedicate themselves to his service and obedience...
But since we are hard to prick, and, what is more, we are utterly stubborn and deaf to all the warnings that he gives us, it behooves us to pray to him to pierce our ears and to open them in such a way to his instructions that the same may turn to our profit: and that he suffer not the air to be beaten without touching our heart; but that he move us to come and return to him. Otherwise let us know that we shall do nothing but provoke him and reject his corrections, as experience shows in most men that those who are beaten with God's rods do not improve thereby, but rather grow worse. —Sermons
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.