by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. —Psalm 4:4
To commune upon one's bed is a form of expression taken from the common practice and experience of men. We know that, during our intercourse with men in the daytime, our thoughts are distracted, and we often judge rashly, being deceived by the external appearance; whereas in solitude, we can give to any subject a closer attention; and, farther, the sense of shame does not then hinder a man from thinking without disguise about his own faults.
David, therefore, exhorts his enemies to withdraw from those who witnessed and judged of their actions on the public stage of life, and to be alone, that they may examine themselves more truthfully and honestly. And this exhortation has a respect to us all; for there is nothing to which men are more prone than to deceive one another with empty applause, until each man enter into himself, and commune alone with his own heart.
Paul, when quoting this passage in Ephesians 4:26, or, at least, when alluding to the sentiment of David, follows the Septuagint, "Be ye angry and sin not." And yet he has skillfully and beautifully applied it to his purpose.
He there teaches us that men, instead of wickedly pouring forth their anger against their neighbors, have rather just cause to be angry with themselves, in order that, by this means, they may abstain from sin. And therefore he commands them rather to fret inwardly and be angry with themselves; and then to be angry not so much at the persons, as at the vices of others. —Commentaries
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.