Saturday, January 23, 2010


In the four sections of chapter 5 that I read this morning, the overarching theme was God's sovereignty over all. He shows his power in creation through many ways whether it is through thunder and lightning, huge waves at sea, earthquakes or other "natural" events. His might which is displayed in creation should cause us to ponder his eternity and his goodness. His goodness is why he fashioned all of creation, and his goodness shown in creation should draw us closer to him.

God's works in relation to his people is another sign of his supreme power. "...he clearly shows himself the protector and vindicator of innocence, while he prospers the life of good men with his blessing, relieves their need, soothes and mitigates their pain, and alleviates their calamities; and in all these things he provides for their salvation.[emphasis mine]" This does not mean that life for good men is without trials and tribulations nor does it mean that life for evil men is full of adversity. God hates sin and punishes it either now or later. When good things happen to bad people, God is at work showing his kindness to them to draw them away from their wayward lives.

In section 1.5.8 God's sovereign sway over the life of men, Calvin uses Psalm 107 as his reference. Take some time today and read this psalm. It wonderfully describes a number of situations where God's hand came in and took care of his people. Calvin writes about this psalm, "By setting forth examples of this sort, the prophet shows that what are thought to be chance occurrences are just so many proofs of heavenly providence, especially of fatherly kindness." Later he writes, "And certainly however much the glory of God shines forth, scarcely one man in a hundred is a true spectator of it!" Most people who know me know that I do not believe in coincidences. If something seems to have happened by chance, I look for how God worked in the situation to reveal himself to me. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is outside of God's control, so we should recognize when his hand is at work.

The final section of this morning's reading deals with the fact that we should not engage ourselves in idle speculation about God, but we should accept what he has shown to us through his works. It is in these works that he "renders himself near and familiar to us, and in some manner communicates himself." He concludes this section with a reference to St. Augustine. "And as Augustine teaches elsewhere, because, disheartened by his greatness, we cannot grasp him, we ought to gaze upon his works, that we may be restored by his goodness."

In everything we do, we should recognize God's power over all of creation. We should recognize that he is active in our lives. We should recognize him in the "chance occurrences" around us. And we should recognize that we are incapable of comprehending him, but we should apprehend him in his works.

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