by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. —Ezekiel 2:3
We must bear in mind, then, this principle; when God wishes to stir us up to obedience, he does not always promise a happy result of our labor; but sometimes he so puts our obedience to the test, that he wishes us to be content with his command, even if our labor should be deemed ridiculous before men.
Sometimes, indeed, he indulges our infirmity, and when he orders us to undertake any duty, he at the same time bears witness that our labor shall not be in vain, and our industry without its recompense. Then indeed God spares us. But he sometimes proves his people as I have said, providing that whatever is the result of their labors, it is sufficient for them to obey his commands. And from this passage we readily see that our prophet was dispirited. And we read the same of Isaiah; for when he is sent by God, he is not only told that he must speak to the deaf , but what God proposes to him is still harder. Go, says he, render the eyes of this people blind, and their ears dull, and their heart obstinate (Isa. 6:9,10).
Not only therefore does Isaiah see that he would be exposed to ridicule and thus lose the fruit of his labors, but he sees that his address has but one tendency, and that the blinding of the Jews: ... God sometimes so wishes his servants to acquiesce in his government that they should labor even without any hope of fruit; and this must be diligently marked. For as often as we are called upon by God, before we apply ourselves to our work, these thoughts corne into the mind: "What will be the result of this?" and "What shall I obtain by my labor?" And then when the event does not turn out according to our wish, we despond in our minds: but this is wresting from God a part of his government.
For although our labor should be in vain, yet it is sufficiently pleasing to God himself; therefore let us learn to leave the event in the hand of God when he enjoins anything upon us; and although the whole world should deride us, and despair itself should render us inactive, yet let us be of good cheer and strive to the utmost, because it ought to suffice us that our obedience is pleasing to God. —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.