by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. —Psalm 50:22
Now consider this, ye that forget God.... While the Psalmist threatens and intends to alarm them, he would, at the same time, hold out to them the hope of pardon, upon their hastening to avail themselves of it. But to prevent them from giving way to delay, he warns them of the severity, as well as the suddenness, of the divine judgments. He also charges them with base ingratitude, in having forgotten God.
And here what a remarkable proof we have of the grace of God in extending the hope of mercy to those corrupt men, who had so impiously profaned his worship, who had so audaciously and sacrilegiously mocked at his forbearance, and who had abandoned themselves to such scandalous crimes!
In calling them to repentance, without all doubt he extends to them the hope of God being reconciled to them, that they may venture to appear in the presence of his majesty. And can we conceive of greater clemency than this, thus to invite to himself, and into the bosom of the Church, such guilty apostates and violators of his covenant, who had departed from the doctrine of godliness in which they had been brought up?
Great as it is, we would do well to reflect that it is no greater than what we ourselves have experienced. We, too, had fallen away from the Lord, and in his singular mercy he has brought us again into his fold. It should not escape our notice that the Psalmist urges them to hasten their return, as the door of mercy will not always stand open for their admission—a needful lesson to us all! lest we allow the day of our merciful visitation to pass by, and be left, like Esau, to indulge in unavailing lamentations. —Commentaries
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, 0 ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. —Job 19:21
Whoever thinks of himself shall find himself worthy to be punished as grievously as those whom he sees distressed. And therefore we ought to look on them with pity and compassion; and so our vices and sins must cause us to humble ourselves. Behold a poor wretch; I see that God punishes him; it is a terrible thing. But what of it? There is good reason that God should punish me as well. Then it behooves me to humble myself, and to behold myself as in a mirror in the person of this man.
Again when we see a man sorely punished by God's hand, let us consider not only that he was created after the image of God, but also that he is our neighbor, and in a sense one with us. We are all of one nature, all one flesh, all one mankind, as it may be said that we have all issued out of one spring. Since it is so, should we not be considerate of one another? I see moreover a poor soul that is going to destruction. Ought I not to pity him and to help him, if it be in my power to do so? And even if I should not be able, I ought to desire to do it.
These, I say, are two reasons which ought to move us to pity when we see that God afflicts those who are worthy of it. If we think on ourselves, either we are hard hearted and dull witted, or else we shall pity those who are like ourselves. We shall consider, "Here is a man formed after the image of God; he is of the selfsame nature as I; here is one purchased with the blood of the Son of God. If he perishes, ought we not to be grieved?" —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.