by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. —Zechariah 1:14
When God says that he was moved with great zeal for Jerusalem and Zion it is according to the common language of Scripture. For as God cannot otherwise sufficiently express the ineffable favor which he has towards his elect, he is pleased to adopt this similitude, that he undertakes the defence of his people, according to what is done by a husband who fights with the greatest zeal for his own wife. This is the reason why he says that he was zealous for Jerusalem.
And we ought especially to notice this mode of speaking, that we may not think that God is indifferent when he delays and defers his aid; for as we are hasty in our wishes, so we would have God to be hasty in the same manner, and we impute to him indifference when he does not hasten according to our desires.
These doubts God checks when he testifies that he is zealous: for he intimates that his slowness did not proceed from neglect, or because he despised or disregarded them; but that there was another reason why he held them in suspense.
We may therefore be fully persuaded that even when God withholds his aid, he is not otherwise affected towards us than the best of fathers towards his own children. And further, that the signs of his love do not appear because it is not always expedient for us to be delivered soon from our troubles.
Let this then be our shield against all hasty desires, so that we may not indulge our too ardent wishes, or think that our salvation is neglected by God, when he hides himself for a time and does not immediately stretch forth his hand to help us. —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.