by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. —Zechariah 4:10
This doctrine may also be applied to us; for God, to exhibit the more his power, begins with small things in building his spiritual temple; nothing grand is seen, which attracts the eyes and thoughts of men, but everything is almost contemptible.
God indeed could immediately put forth his power, and thus rouse the attention of all men and fill them with wonder; he could indeed do so; but as I have already said, his purpose is to increase, by doing wonders, the brightness of his power; which he does when from a small beginning he brings forth what no one would have thought; and besides, his purpose is to prove the faith of his people; for it behooves us ever to hope beyond hope.
Now when the beginning promises something great and sublime, there is no proof and no trial of faith; but when we hope for that which does not appear, we give due honor to God, for we depend on his power and not on the proximate means.
Thus we see that Christ is compared to a shoot which arises from the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). God might have arranged that Christ should have been born when the house of David was in its splendor, and when the kingdom was in a flourishing state; yet his will was that he should come forth from the stem of Jesse, when the royal name was almost cut off.
Again, he might have brought forth Christ as a full-grown tree; but he was born as an insignificant shoot. So also he is compared by Daniel to a rough and unpolished stone cut off from a mountain (Dan. 2:45). The same thing has also been accomplished in our age, and continues still at this day to be accomplished.
If we consider what is and has been, the beginning of the growing gospel, we shall find nothing illustrious according to the perceptions of the flesh: and on this account the adversaries confidently despise us; they regard us as the offscourings of men, and hope to be able to cast us down and scatter us by a single breath. —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.