7. Hear, O Jehovah! my voice, with which I cry unto thee; have mercy upon me, and answer me. 8. My heart said to thee,1 Seek ye my face; therefore,2 thy face, O Jehovah! will I seek. 9. Hide not thy face from me; east not away thy servant in thy wrath: thou hast been my strength; leave me not, neither forsake me utterly, O God of my salvation!
"I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God," (Zechariah 13:9.)
David accordingly says, that in this way the door was opened for him to seek God:he brings forward this promise, and thus responds, as it were, to God.3 And, certainly, if this symphony does not precede, no man will conduct aright the chorus of the invitation. As soon, therefore, as we hear God presenting himself to us, let us cordially reply, Amen; and let us think with ourselves of his promises, as if they were familiarly addressed to us. Thus true believers have no need to seek any subtle artifice or tedious circuits to introduce themselves into God's favor, since this preface prepares so easy a way for them, "However unworthy we are to be received by thee, O Lord, yet thy commandment, by which thou enjoinest upon us to come to thee, is sufficient encouragement to us." The voice of God, therefore, ought to resound in our hearts, like an echo in hollow places, that from this mutual concord there may spring confidence to call upon him.
The term, face, is commonly explained to mean help or succor; as if it had been said, Seek me. But I am persuaded that the allusion here is also to the sanctuary, and that David refers to the mode of manifestation in which God was wont to render himself in some degree visible. No doubt, it is unlawful to form any gross or carnal idea of him, but as he appointed the ark of the covenant to be a token of his presence, it is, without any impropriety, every where denominated his face. It is indeed true, that we are far from God so long as we abide in this world, because faith is far removed from sight; but it is equally true, that we now see God as in a mirror, and darkly, (1 Corinthians 13:12,) until he shall openly show himself to us at the last day. Under this word, therefore, I am persuaded, are represented to us those helps by which God raises us to his presence, descending from his inconceivable glory to us, and furnishing us on earth with a vision of his heavenly glory. But as it is according to his own sovereign pleasure that God vouchsafes us to look upon him, (as he does in Word and sacraments,) it becomes us steadily to fix our eyes on this view, that it may not be with us as with the Papists, who, by means of the wildest inventions, wickedly transform God into whatever shapes please their fancy, or their brains have conceived.
1 "Ou dit de toy." -- Fr. marg. "Or said of or concerning thee."
2 "Pourtant." -- Fr.
3 Calvin's meaning appears to be this:- God has given us in his word that gracious command or invitation, "Seek ye my face," inviting us to seek him by prayer and the other exercises of religion. Now, when David says, "My heart said to thee, Seek ye my face," he means that his heart reminded God of his command or invitation; and by this he encouraged himself to seek God's face, which he expresses his resolution to do in the following clause, "Thy face, O Jehovah! will I seek."
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