by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. —Psalm 38:1
"O Jehovah! rebuke me not in thy wrath." David does not expressly ask that his afflictions should be removed, but only that God would moderate the severity of his chastisements.
Hence we may infer that David did not give loose rein to the desires of the flesh, but offered up his earnest prayer in a duly chastened spirit of devotion. All men would naturally desire that permission should be granted them to sin with impunity. But David lays a restraint upon his desires, and does not wish the favor and indulgence of God to be extended beyond measure, but is content with a softening of his affliction; as if he had said, Lord, I am not unwilling to be chastised by thee, but I entreat thee, meanwhile, not to afflict me beyond what I am able to bear, but to temper the fierceness of thy indignation according to the measure of my infirmity, lest the severity of the affliction should entirely overwhelm me.
This prayer, as I have said, was framed according to the rule of godliness; for it contains nothing but what God promises to all his children.
It should also be noticed that David does not secretly indulge a fretful and repining spirit, but spreads his complaint before God; and this he does, not in the way of sinful complaining, but of humble prayer and unfeigned confession, accompanied with the hope of obtaining forgiveness.
He has used anger and wrath as denoting extreme rigor, and has contrasted them with fatherly chastisement. —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.