Thursday, October 8, 2009

Calvin on Psalm 32 part 3

Psalm 32:5-7
5. I have acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess
against myself to Jehovah my wickedness; and thou didst remit the guilt of my sin. Selah. 6.
Therefore shall every one that is meek pray unto thee in the time of finding thee; so that in a flood of many waters, they shall not come nigh unto him. 7. Thou art my hiding-place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

I have acknowledged my sin unto thee. The prophet now describes the issue of his misery,
in order to show to all the ready way of obtaining the happiness of which he makes mention. When his feeling of divine wrath sorely vexed and tormented him, his only relief was unfeignedly to condemn himself before God, and humbly to flee to him to crave his forgiveness. ...

The phrase, "upon myself," or "against myself," intimates that David put away from him all the excuses and pretences by which men are accustomed to unburden themselves, transferring their fault, or tracing it to other people. David, therefore, determined to submit himself entirely to God’s judgment, and to make known his own guilt, that being self-condemned, he might as a suppliant obtain pardon.

"And thou didst remit the guilt of my sin." This clause is set in opposition to the grievous and
direful agitations by which he says he was harassed before he approached by faith the grace of God. But the words also teach, that as often as the sinner presents himself at the throne of mercy, with ingenuous confession, he will find reconciliation with God awaiting him. ...

In the flood of many waters. This expression agrees with that prophecy of Joel, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be delivered.” (Joel 2:32) The meaning is, that although the deep whirlpools of death may compass us round on every side, we ought not to fear that they shall swallow us up; but rather believe that we shall be safe and unhurt, if we only betake ourselves to the mercy of God. We are thus emphatically taught that the godly shall have certain salvation even in death, provided they betake themselves to the sanctuary
of God’s grace. Under the term flood are denoted all those dangers from which there appears no means of escape.

At last the Psalmist gives himself to thanksgiving, and although he uses but few words to
celebrate the divine favor, there is, notwithstanding, much force in his brevity. In the first place, he denies that there is any other haven of safety but in God himself. Secondly, he assures himself that God will be his faithful keeper hereafter; for I willingly retain the future tense of the verb, though some, without any reason, translate it into the past. He is not, however, to be understood as meaning that he conceived himself safe from future tribulations, but he sets God’s guardianship over against them. Lastly, whatever adversity may befall him, he is persuaded that God will be his deliverer. By the word compass, he means manifold and various kinds of deliverance; as if he had said, that he should be under obligation to God in innumerable ways, and that he should, on every side, have most abundant matter for praising him. We may observe in the meantime, how he offers his service of gratitude to God, according to his usual method, putting songs of deliverance instead of help.

Calvin's summing up here is simply great as he explicates the Psalmist situation. Do we also recognize God's guardianship over future trials and embrace the fact that He is our Deliverer?
Let us pause today as we start our week in this sinful world to remember these gracious promises.

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