by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: —Zechariah 7:9
"Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Judge the judgment of truth and show kindness and mercies, everyone to his brother." The people were so devoted to their ceremonies as to think that the whole of religion consisted in fasting and in similar exercises.
And as we are by nature prone to this evil, we ought carefully to consider what the prophet has taught us—that fasting is not simply, or by itself, approved by God, but on account of the end designed by it. Having already shown to the Jews their error, in thinking that God could be pacified by ceremonies, he now reminds them of what God mainly requires in his law—that men should observe what is just and right towards one another.
It is indeed true that the first part of the law refers to the service due to God; but it is a way which God has commonly adopted to test the life of men by the duties of the second Table, and to show what this part of the law especially requires.
God then in this passage as in many others, does not command righteousness towards men so as to depreciate godliness; for as this far excels everything in the whole world, so we know that in rightly forming the life, the beginning ought ever to be made by serving God aright.
But as the prophet had to do with hypocrites, he shows that they only trifled with God, while they made much of external things and at the same time neglected uprightness and the duties of love. —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.