He swore an oath to the LORD and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob. Until informed of the place of the Ark's destined residence, David was full of concern and anxiety, dwelling in his house, or when he lay upon his bed. As to the vow itself, this and other passages afford no ground for supposing, with the Papists, that God approves of whatever vows they may utter, without regard to the nature of them. To vow unto God that which he has himself declared to be agreeable to him, is a commendable practice; but it is too much presumption on our part to say that we will rush upon such vows as suit our carnal inclination. The great thing is that we consider what is agreeable to his will, otherwise we may be found depriving him of that wherein indeed his principal right lies, for with him "to obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Sam. 15:22).
Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool. On the one hand, it is a mere superstition to suppose God confined to the temple, and on the other hand, the external symbols are not without their use in the Church. In short, we should improve these as helps to our faith, but not rest in them. While God dwells in heaven, and is above all heavens, we must avail ourselves of helps in rising to the knowledge of him; and in giving us symbols of his presence, he sets, as it were, his feet upon the earth, and suffers us to touch them. It is thus that the Holy Spirit condescends for our profit, and in accommodation to our infirmity, raising our thoughts to heavenly and divine things by these worldly elements.
May your priests be clothed with righteousness. God is said to clothe us with his righteousness when he appears as our Saviour and help, defends us by his power, and shows in his government of us that we are the objects of his care. The rejoicing which is spoken of has reference to a life of happiness. The saints of God are called merciful ones because mercy and beneficence is that grace which assimilates us most to God.
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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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