by John Calvin
He has established his throne for judgment. As often as nothing but destruction presents itself to our view, to whatever side we may turn, let us remember to lift up our eyes to the heavenly throne, whence God beholds all that is done here below. In the world our affairs may have been brought to such an extremity, that there is no longer hope in regard to them; but the shield with which we ought to repel all the temptations by which we are assailed is this, that God, nevertheless, sits Judge in heaven. Yea, when he seems to take no notice of us, and does not immediately remedy the evils which we suffer, it becomes us to realise by faith his secret providence. The Psalmist says, in the first place, God sits forever, by which he means, that however high the violence of men may be carried, and although their fury may burst forth without measure, they can never drag God from his seat. He farther means by this expression, that it is impossible for God to abdicate the office and authority of judge.
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed. God delays his aid, and to outward appearance forsakes his faithful ones, in order at length to succour them at a more convenient season, according to the greatness of their necessity and affliction. From this it follows, that he by no means ceases from the exercise of his office, although he suffer the good and the innocent to be reduced to extreme poverty, and although he exercise them with weeping and lamentations; for by doing this he lights up a lamp to enable them to see his judgments the more clearly.
A stronghold in times of trouble. From this we are taught the duty of giving his providence time to make itself at length manifest in the season of need. And if protection by the power of God, and the experience of his fatherly favour, is the greatest blessing which we can receive, let us not feel so uneasy at being accounted poor and miserable before the world, but let this consolatory consideration assuage our grief, that God is not far from us, seeing our afflictions call upon him to come to our aid.
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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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