by John Calvin
Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. When troubles and dangers arise, when terrors assail us on every side, when even death presents itself to our view, it is difficult to realise the secret and invisible power of God, which is able to deliver us from all anxiety and fear; for our understandings, which are gross and earthly, tend downward to the earth. That our faith, therefore, may ascend by degrees to the heavenly power of God, he is here introduced armed, after the manner of men, with sword and shield. In the same way, also, when he is in another place termed a man of war, it is doubtless in adaptation to the imperfection of our present state, because our minds, from their limited capacity, could in no other way comprehend the extent of that infinite power, which contains in itself every form of help, and has no need of aid from any other quarter. This, therefore, is a prayer that God, by the exercise of his secret and intrinsic power, would show that he alone is able to encounter the whole strength and forces of the ungodly.
Say to my soul, I am your salvation. David desires to have it thoroughly fixed in his mind, and to be fully persuaded that God is the author of his salvation. This he was unable, from the present aspect of things, to ascertain and determine; for such is the insensibility and dullness of our natures, that God often delivers us whilst we sleep and are ignorant of it. Accordingly, he makes use of a very forcible manner of expression, in praying that God would grant him a lively sense of his favour, so that being armed with this buckler, he might sustain every conflict, and surmount every opposing obstacle; as if he had said, Lord, whatever may arise to discourage me, confirm me in this persuasion, that my salvation is assuredly in you; and although temptations drive me hither and thither, recall my thoughts to you in such a manner, as that my hope of salvation may rise superior to all the dangers to which I shall be exposed; nay, more, that I may become as infallibly certain as if you had said it, that through your favour I shall be saved.
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John Calvin, A Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin on the Psalms, is copyright © 1999 by P & R Publishing Company, all rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—except for brief quotations for the purpose of review or comment, without the prior permission of the publisher, P & R Publishing Company, P.O. Box 817, Phillipsburg, New Jersey 08865-0817.
Unless marked by an asterisk, italic Scripture excerpts preceding Calvin's exposition are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House, all rights reserved. Phrases of Scripture within Calvin's exposition are based on an unidentified older translation, or in rare instances modified to conform to the NIV excerpts preceding Calvin's exposition.
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