The Prayers of J.Calvin (4)

Praying with calvin- JeremiahThe next prayer of John Calvin that we post follows his third lecture on the prophecy of Jeremiah. This lecture covers vss.13-17, in which God calls His prophet to bring His Word of judgment against Judah for her sins and charges him not to fear the people or shrink from his duty to bring that harsh Word.

At the end of that lecture Calvin has this wider application for all of us and not only for God’s heralds:

This passage contains a useful doctrine, from which we learn that strength shall never be wanting to God’s servants, while they derive courage from the conviction that God himself is the author of their calling and become thus magnanimous; for God will then supply them with strength and courage invincible, so as to render them formidable to the whole world: but if they be unhinged and timid, and turn here and there, and be influenced by the fear of men, God will render them base and contemptible, and make them to tremble at the least breath of air, and they shall be wholly broken down….

And then follows this fitting prayer:

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast been once pleased to fortify thy servant Jeremiah with the invincible power of thy Spirit, – O grant that his doctrine may at this day make us humble. and that we may learn willingly to submit to thee, and so to receive and even cordially to accept what thou offerest to us by thy servant – to sustain us by thine hand, and that we, relying on thy power and protection, may fight against the world and against Satan, while each of us, in his vocation, so recumbs on thy power, as not to hesitate, whenever necessary, to expose our very life to dangers: and may we manfully fight and persevere in our warfare to the end, until having finished our course we shall at length come to that blessed rest which is reserved for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. – Amen.

Advent: The Faith-Visit of the Magi

Last week we took for part of our Sunday meditation in this Christmas season a word feature on the word “star” in the Bible. Today we will continue with that theme as we post part of an exposition of Matthew 2:1-2 Rev.George Lubbers did for The Standard Bearer (Jan.1, 1963).

magi visitLed outwardly in their journey by Christ’s star in the East and illuminated in their hearts by the Spirit of Christ through His prophetic Word, the wise men came to Bethlehem to worship the One “born King of the Jews.”

Here is a portion of Rev.Lubbers beautiful explanation of this wonder, revealing the “Star power” of Christ, the Savior of mankind. To read the full article, follow the link above.

For notice that these were men who had faith—saving faith, justifying faith; they had a faith that worked by love which was shed in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and which is worked by God through the preaching of the Gospel. Their faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For, mark you well, their faith was such that it combined spiritual things with spiritual, it combined the sign of the “star” with the fulfillment of the word of promise concerning the Messiah which was to come. For do these men not appear in Jerusalem with the certain confidence that the King of the Jews “is born,” and that He is born with the intent of becoming the renowned King, promised in the prophetic word? They say to Herod: Where is He that is born King of the Jews; for we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him! They are as certain of the fulfillment of prophecy as were the shepherds “that this thing had come to pass,” told them by the angels.

Besides, these Magi believe that this King of the Jews is worthy of worship. He is God. He is the mighty God; He is the true God and eternal life. Furthermore, there is not any doubt in their mind that Jerusalem ought to know about the birth of this long foretold King; that His birth has the birth of this long foretold King; that His birth has peculiar and unique meaning for this city of the great King.

And thus in faith these Magi are earnest seekers.

Small wonder that Matthew writes about the appearance of these men on the streets of Jerusalem, at such a time as Jesus’ birth. “Behold, there appear wise men from the East!” This was truly a unique phenomenon. It was the fulfillment of Scripture itself. For these do not come as captives of war behind the triumphal wagon in the procession of some worldly monarch and conqueror, but they come drawn by the inner compulsion of the love of God and faith wrought by the Holy Spirit. And they ask: Where is he that is born King of the Jews? They seek the Savior. This is not merely an intellectual quest, for they do not rest until they have seen the Lord’s Christ! They came toworship Him. What a longing, a hunger and a holy thirst of the soul. Is not this Christ the hope of Israel and the light of the nations?! All else has failed to satisfy the longing of their heart, the need of their souls. The secrets of heathen cults do not show them God; but here is the Mystery of God, hid in God before endless ages, but now manifest in the fullness of time! He is not a great teacher amongst other teachers; here lies in Bethlehem, in the arms of the blessed among women, the Redeemer, the God of Israel and of the Nations, who Abraham saw from afar, and of whom Baalam prophesied saying: I see Him but not now, behold! a star shall rise in Jacob. Here is the day-spring from on high!

Their hope is not put to shame.