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December 9 Daily Devotional

Day 343: Psalm 131

John Calvin

My heart is not proud, O LORD. Here David teaches us a very useful lesson, and one by which we should be ruled in life: to be contented with the lot which God has marked out for us, to consider what he calls us to, and not to aim at fashioning our own lot; to be moderate in our desires, to avoid entering upon rash undertakings, and to confine ourselves cheerfully within our own sphere, instead of attempting great things. He denies that his heart is proud, for this is the true cause of all unwarranted rashness and presumption in conduct. Is it not pride that leads men, under the instigation of their passions, to dare such presumptuous flights, to hurry on recklessly in their course, and throw the whole world into confusion? Were this loftiness of spirit checked, the consequence would be, that all men would study moderation of conduct.

We see how God confounds the proud and boasted enterprises of the children of this world. They run the full course of their wild career, they turn the earth upside down at their pleasure, and put forth their hand in every direction; they are filled with complacency at the thought of their own talents and industry, and, in a moment, when all their plans have been fully formed, they are entirely overthrown, because there is no solidity in them. There are two different forms which the presumption of those takes who will not submit to the humble followers of God, but must needs run before him. Some rush forward with a reckless precipitancy, and seem as if they would build to the skies; others do not so openly exhibit the inordinateness of their desires, are slower in their movements, and cautiously calculate upon the future, and yet their presumption appears no less from the very fact, that, with a total oversight of God, as if heaven and earth were subject to them, they pass their decree as to what shall be done by them some ten or twenty years from now. These build, as it were, in the deep sea. But never shall it come to the surface, however extended may be the term of their lives; while those who, like David, submit themselves to God, keeping in their own sphere, moderate in their desires, will enjoy a life of tranquillity and assurance.


Welcome to a one-year devotional by John Calvin (1509-1564) on the Psalms. We are indebted to P & R Publishing for permission to use this copyrighted material from John Calvin: A Heart Aflame on the OPC Web site. In addition to viewing the daily devotional reading here, you may like to purchase a copy of the book A Heart Aflame from P & R Publishing or your local bookstore.

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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