Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Divine Providence

Psalm 106:44-46

In those actions, which in themselves are neither good nor bad and concern the corporeal rather than the spiritual life, the liberty which man possesses has not yet been explained. Some have conceded a free choice to man in such actions.

While I admit that those who hold that man has no ability in himself to do righteousness hold what is most necessary to be known for salvation, I think it ought not to be overlooked that we owe it to the special grace of God whenever, on the one hand, we choose what is for our advantage and our will inclines in that direction; and whenever, on the other, with heart and soul we shun what would otherwise do us harm.

And the interference of Divine Providence goes to the extent not only of making events turn out as was foreseen to be appropriate, but of giving the wills of men the same direction. If we look at the administration of human affairs with the eye of sense, we will have no doubt that, so far, they are placed at man's disposal. But if we lend an ear to the many passages of Scripture which proclaim that even in these matters the minds of men are ruled by God, they will compel us to place human choice in subordination to his special influence.

Who gave the Israelites such favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, that they lent them all their most valuable commodities (Ex. 11:3)? They never would have been so inclined of their own accord. Their inclinations, therefore, were more overruled by God than regulated by themselves. And surely, had not Jacob been persuaded that God inspires men with diverse affections as seems to him good, he would not have said of his son Joseph (whom he thought to be some heathen Egyptian), "God Almighty give you mercy before the man" (Gen. 43:14). When the Lord was pleased to pity his people, he made them also to be pitied of all them that carried them captives (Ps. 106:46).
—John Calvin

Readings taken from Day by Day With John Calvin


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