Throwback Thursday: John Calvin on Psalm 139

Throwback ThursdayI would never even consider visiting a historic location without my wife, Erica. She has eyes that see things I just can’t see. It’s hard not to be amazed and overcome with emotion when visiting Gettysburg. The battlefields, nostalgic town, and careful placement of canons and flags makes missing the grandeur and importance of that historic Civil War battle nearly impossible.
Still, when Erica and I visited Gettysburg a couple years ago, she saw things that I hadn’t even thought to look for. I would see the house where a certain General was stationed, but she would see a bullet hole on the far side of the house. As we drove around that hallowed ground, she continually pointed out the little intricacies I would not have seen without her. My joy was increased in Gettysburg because of Erica’s keen eye for intricate details. That is the role of a good Bible study resource or commentary.

As I have worked through John Calvin’s commentary on the Psalms over the past few weeks, it has served as a significant daily devotion for my soul. I think commentaries make the best devotionals. They deal directly with the text and are usually written with more biblical integrity and insight than most traditional devotionals. I would recommend the abridged version of Calvin’s commentary on the Psalms as a resource to accompany your Bible reading, particularly if you are reading through the Psalms. It will be a great friend to help point out the intricacies of the Psalms that you would otherwise miss.

As an example of Calvin’s eye for the small, yet significant biblical details, note his comment on Psalm 139:6, 11-12. Here you will feel a scathing cut to the heart in a practical comment. Marvel with Calvin at the grand, immense, unreachable, and penetrating knowledge of God.

David now exclaims against the folly of measuring God’s knowledge by our own, when it rises infinitely high above us. Many stupidly think of God as if he was like themselves, but David confesses him to be beyond comprehension. The divine knowledge has neither bounds nor measure; therefore to think we can determine its extent is patently beyond our feeble capacity…If even the speed of light cannot help us to evade God, perhaps the darkness might give us some respite from his all-seeing gaze. But God sees equally well in the darkness as at noon-day. Both verses have the same meaning. We all pay lip-service to the divine omniscience; however, although we are ashamed to let others witness our wrong-doings, how many of us are indifferent to what God may think of us as if our sins could be veiled from his inspection. Unless such stupidity is reproved, our limited light will be soon changed into darkness.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.


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