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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 78

 

 

Verses 1-72

Psalm 78:1-72. Title. It is probable that Asaph wrote this psalm some time after the death of David. As nothing is . referred to, later than David"s advancement to the throne, and his subsequent conduct, there is no ground for supposing that it was written at a much later period.

V:1 . The word rendered law, in this connexion, evidently means the doctrine, or instruction, which the Psalmist was divinely inspired to set before the people : to which, in the name of the Lord, he demanded their reverent attention. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalm 19:7-11. Psalm 119:1.)

V:2. The Evangelist says that this was fulfilled, when Christ spake to the people in parables. (Notes, Psalm 49:1-4. Matthew 13:34-35.) Yet the psalm contains nothing but a plain narrative of facts, without any thing of parable or riddle in it; except as the history of Israel, like the parables of Christ, was a picture, or similitude, of heavenly things; and these records would remain, in this respect, dark sayings to those who understood not the typical meaning of them. (Marg. Ref. Notes, 1 Corinthians 10:1-10.)

V:3- 8. The Israelites were frequently and earnestly instructed, to render their children, by every means, familiiirly acquainted with the works and commandments of God : and as the Psalmist, and his contemporaries, had derived the benefit of this most useful information from their ancestors, he was determined, and aimed to induce others also, to deliver down the same to the rising race, and through them to the next generation, and thus successively to the end of time. For this was the proper method of bringing them to trust in God and obey him; to imitate the faith and holiness of their pious ancestors; and to take warning not to copy the rebellion, unbelief, and ungodliness of such as had brought the judgments of God upon them by their sins.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalm 71:17-18. Psalm 145:4-7. Exodus 13:11-16; Exodus 5:14. Deuteronomy 6:6-9.) The word testimony is used for the ark, and for the law written on tables of stone put within the ark, and covered with the mercy-seat. This testified the Lord"s gracious presence with his people, and seemed to point out to them both the way of access and acceptance, and the standard or rule of their duty. (Note, Exodus 25:10-21.)

V:9 -11 . Nothing is recorded in the history of Israel, concerning the cowardice of the Ephraimites, as distinct from that of the other tribes : some therefore think, that " the children of Ephraim " is put by a figure of speech, for the nation in general. Others suppose, that this tribe greatly influenced their brethren, when they refused to go up and possess the land, at the express command of God, who promised to fight for them : and then, after the sentence of exclusion was irrevocably passed, they armed themselves, and presumptuously would go up, contrary to the warning of God by Moses; but when the Amorites came out against them, they fled, and were chased like bees to Hormah. (Notes, Numbers 14:1-45 :) But the passage may relate to the defeat of Israel by the Philistines, when the ark of God was taken. Sliiloh was situated in the lot of Ephraim : and perhaps the men of that tribe led on the battle; but, giving way, their misconduct brought on a general defeat. (Notes, 1 Samuel 4:1-22 :) In either case, the cowardice of the people was the effect of their unbelief and disobedience. They answered not the expectations formed of them; " they kept not the covenant of God, and re" fused to walk in his law; and forgat his works and his " wonders that he shewed them." These verses however may be understood of Israel, who, in their general conduct, imitated that of Ephraim, in some notorious instances of cowardice and ill behaviour.

V:12. The reader must once for all be referred to the notes upon the parts of the preceding history, pointed out in the margin, in which all the events here recapitulated have been fully considered. This poetical abstract would greatly assist the people, in becoming acquainted with their most instructive history, and preserving a ready remembrance of it. Zoan was a principal city of Egypt, in which perhaps Pharaoh kept his court. (Marg. Ref43- 49.)

V:13- 16. These verses are read in some versions in the pluperfect tense : " He had divided, &c." He had wrought these miracles (or Israel, before those rebellions which the Psalmist was enumerating; and this rendered their unbelief and disobedience the more inexcusable. Two rocks were smitten in the wilderness.

(Notes, Exodus 17:1-7 Numbers 20:8-13.) " Let us," says Bishop Taylor, " by the aids of memory and fancy, consider the children of Israel in the wilderness, " in a barren and dry land where no water was," marching in " dust and fire, not wet with the dew of heaven, but " wholly without moisture, save only what dropt from their own brows : . . . suppose, I say, these thirsty souls hearing Moses promise that he will smite the rock, and that a river should break forth from thence; observe how presently they run to the foot of the springing stone thrusting forth their heads and tongues to meet the water, impatient of delay, crying out that the water did not move, " like light, all at once : and then suppose the pleasure of " their drink, the insatiableness of their desire : . . . they took in as much as they could, and they desired much " more. This was their sacrament, and this was their manner of receiving it. And if that water was a type of our sacrament, or a sacrament of the same secret blessing, then is their thirst a signification of our duty."

V:17- 31. Some time after the manna and the water rom the rock had been vouchsafed, the people began again to murmur and rebel against God, and some of them were consumed by lightning; " and yet for all this his anger " was not turned away," because they murmured still more. The table, which they insolently required, was not he manna; for that had been sent with a multitude of quails also, before the water from the rock. (Note1;, Ex. icvi.) But they loathed and despised manna as light bread; and wanted such provisions, as the inhabitants of cultivated countries live upon, which they thought God was to not able to provide in the desert. Perhaps they endeavoured to persuade themselves, that the manna, and the water from the rock, were supplied from natural resources; and only directed or regulated in a supernatural manner by JEHOVAH"S power : but they supposed it to be impossible even for Omnipotence to furnish bread and flesh to so vast a multitude. This conclusion, after all the works of God which they had witnessed, and his special favours and express promises to them, was exceedingly provoking : he therefore determined to vindicate the honour of his own name, by shewing that he was able to feast, as well as feed them, in the wilderness : and then amidst their excessive indulgence, to punish their unbelief and rebellion, by cutting off the most powerful, healthy, and luxurious among them. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Numbers 11:1-23; Numbers 11:31-34.) Manna, descending from the clouds, is here called " the " corn of heaven," and " angels" food," or " the bread of " the mighty; " perhaps, because it rendered the people healthy, and vigorous for their marches and wars. But it typified " that Bread which came down from heaven, and " giveth life to the world; " by which man is brought to feed on angels" food, and to participate their felicity. (Notes, John 6:30-35; John 6:41-58.) " The blessings chosen " for us by God are blessings indeed, and, like the manna, " bring no sorrow with them; but when we chuse for our- " selves, and are so unhappy as to be gratified in that " choice, our portion too often proves a curse; and while " the much loved morsel is yet between our teeth, " the * " wrath of God comes upon us," for making a wrong " choice. This will always be the case, . . . whenever earth is " preferred to heaven, and sense to faith." Bp. Home.

V:32 , 33. Here, that instance of unbelief and rebellion, which provoked God to exclude the whole generation from the promised land, is peculiarly adverted to : for that sin, they were condemned to die in the wilderness, without ever enjoying or witnessing the comforts of a cultivated country, and a settled abode. Their lives, even more than those of other men, were indeed spent in vanity; and as scarcely any of that vast multitude had arrived at the age of sixty, when their wanderings were ended, (" for the hand of the LORD was against them to consume them,") it might well be said, " their years were " consumed in trouble " or perturbation of mind. (Marg. Ref. Notes and P. O. Numbers 14:1-45 :) " Though they traveiled up and down, very much and long, yet it was to " no purpose; for they were never the nearer to their " journey"s end; nor were ever free from one plague or " other, till they " (that generation) " were utterly destroyed." Bp. Patrick.

V:34. " Who, that hath been conversant in the house " of mourning, and about the bed of sickness, but must " have seen frequent instances of a temporary and deceit" ful repentance ? " Bp. Home. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Jeremiah 22:20-23. Hosea 5:15. Luke 17:11-19.)

V:35. Redeemer."] That Isaiah , from Egyptian bondage; for the bulk of the people did not understand the spiritual redemption, which was typified by that transaction. (Marg. Ref.)

V:36 , 37. " Such was their hypocrisy, that they sought " unto God for fear of punishment, though in their heart " they loved him not." " Whatsoever cometh not from the " pure fountain of the heart, is hypocrisy." (Marg. Ref.)

Right. (37) constant. (Note, Psalm 51:10.)

V:38. " Had God stirred up all his wrath, the Israelites must have been exterminated in the wilderness. But " then the promises made to Abraham and to all mankind " had failed. Therefore they were forgiven and not destroyed; judgment was executed from time to time upon " . . . offenders; but the nation subsisted, until the Seed " came, to whom the promise was made. Nay, . . . the race " is yet marvellously preserved, and, we trust, preserved for " mercy, to be shewn them in the last days." Bp. Home.

(Notes, Numbers 14:13-19; Numbers 14:27-30.)

V:39. (Marg. Ref.) The frailty of Prayer of Manasseh , as incapable of enduring the wrath of God, is here emphatically described; as well as the divine compassion for such feeble worms : but it is not to be supposed, nor can the language be fairly interpreted to mean, that God considers man"s sinful nature as a palliation of his actual rebellions; yet the passage is sometimes thus explained.

(Notes, Genesis 6:3. Matthew 26:40-41.)

V:41. Limited."] The Israelites did not believe, that God could and would destroy the Anakims before them, and give them the land of Canaan : but in this and many other instances they set bounds to his power, as if some things were beyond it.

(Notes, 17- 31. John 11:20-32.)

V:4245. Notes, Ex. vii9: Devoured. (45) This word shews, that, besides the loathsomeness of flies, and their maggots; a variety of venomous insects, reptiles, or animals, were sent among the Egyptians, to bite, and sting, and harass them; and that in many instances their bite or sting was mortal. Indeed the word rendered " divers sorts " of flies," is so general, that even devouring wild beasts may be meant by it, as well as insects and reptiles. (Note, Exodus 8:21.)

V:46- 49. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 9:1-35; Exodus 10:1-29 :) Perhaps evil angels terrified the Egyptians, during the plague of darkness : they were, however, permitted to deceive and harden them to their destruction. They were " horribly4astonished, and troubled with strange apparitions. For " neither might the corner that held them keep them from " fear : but noises as of waters falling down sounded about " them; and sad visions appeared unto them with heavy " countenances. No power of the fire might give them " light; neither could the bright flames of the stars endure " to enlighten that horrible night. . . . Though no terrible " thing did fear them; yet being scared with beasts that " passed by, and hissing of serpents, they died for fear." Wwdom of Song of Solomon , Psalm 17:3-5; Psalm 17:9-10. Such were the traditions of the Jews on this subject, when this apocryphal book was written.

V:50 , 51. The preceding miracles and judgments, during which the long suffering of God had given the Egyptians space for repentance, had only proved anoccasion to them of filling up the measure of their sins; and this made a way (or, weighed a path, marg.) for the execution of his righteous vengeance in a still more awful manner, by the sudden destruction of all the first-born in the land, as by a pestilence. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 12:29-30. 2 Samuel 24:15-16.)

V:52-55. Notes,

Psalm 77:19-20; Psalm 80:1. Genesis 9:24-25. Exodus 14:21-31. Hebrews 11:29. Purchased. (54) Or, claimed, and taken possession of, for the inheritance of his chosen people. The whole land of Canaan seems to have been intended. Notwithstanding Israel"s multiplied rebellions, and the terrible judgments inflicted on them, mercy at last prevailed, and the nation enjoyed the promised inheritance. (Marg. Ref. Note, Exodus 15:13.)

V:56- 60. The history of Israel, from the death of Moses to that of Eli, as contained in the books of Joshua and Judges , and the first four chapters of the first of Samuel, forms the best comment on these verses.

(Notes, Psalm 106:7-46. 2 Kings 17:7-23. Nehemiah 9:7-35. Jeremiah 7:1-25; Jeremiah 26:3-9. ) " We can " hardly read two chapters in the book of Judges , but we " meet with the words, " And the children of Israel did " " evil in the sight of the Lord." " Bp. Home. These continually repeated apostasies of the Israelites to idolatry rendered them like a deceitful bow, that never sends the arrow to the Mark , but always disappoints the archer"s expectations. (Notes, 9- 1136 , 37.)

V:61. His strength.] That Isaiah , The ark, the symbol of JEHOVAH"S protecting presence with his people, and which, as typifying the harmonious display of his perfections in the salvation of Christ, is also called " his glory," or his beauty.

(Notes, Exodus 25:10-21. 2 Chronicles 6:41-42.)

V:63. The wrath of God gave up the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines, to be consumed as by fire. Thus their young men perished, their enemies triumphed, and their virgins were not praised, (marg.) according to the custom of commending them in Song of Solomon , when they were married. Either they remained single or in a time of publick calamity, amidst the insulting oppressions of their enemies, all the customary tokens of joy were omitted. (Notes, 1 Samuel 4:1-22 :)

V:64. The wife of Phinehas, hearing of his death, soon expired, and so did not survive to lament her loss : others, perhaps, had been previously taken off; or they were made captives, and dared not Lamentations , lest they should enrage their conquerors. (Marg. Ref.)

V:65 , 66. While the Philistines were inflicting deserved punishment on the Israelites, the Lord seemed like one asleep, and as not regarding either his people, or even " the Ark of his strength." But when their resentment or their ambition had accomplished his purposes, he suddenly and effectually interposed to rebuke the impious triumphs of the idolaters, and to put them and their idol to a perpetual shame: (Note, Ixxvi10:) even as a mighty man of valour would rest, or refresh himself, not with- standing the advance of the enemy, till the moment arrived for executing his own plan; and then he would burst forth on them with unexpected and irresistible fury. (Notes, Isaiah 42: 13- 17; 519-11.) By the emerods, the Lord disgraced as well as discomfited the Philistines, and constrained them to send back the ark : and by the gollden images of the emerods and of the mice that marred the land, they were led to publish and perpetuate their own disgrace.

V:67-69. (Marg-. Ref. Notes, Psalm 132:6-17. Genesis 49:8-10. John 4:19-24.) These verses shew that the Psalm was written after the building of the temple, and consequently not sooner than eleven or twelve years after the death of David. For the language cannot suit the tabernacle which he placed on mount Zion; as that was soon to be superseded by a magnificent temple, which was at length erected so strong, that it appeared likely to stand as long as the earth endured. It was, however, destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar: and though Zion continued the centre of JEHOVAH"S worship, till the coming of Christ; yet it has now been trodden under foot of the Gentiles for above seventeen hundred years. (Note, Luke 21:20-24.)

V:70- 72. (Notes, Psalm 89:19-37. 1 Samuel 15:26-28; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 Samuel 17:1-58 : 2 Samuel 5:1-2; 2 Samuel 7:8-11. Isaiah 40: 9- 11. Ezekiel 34:23-31.) What an emphatical attestation to the excellence of David"s general conduct, as king of Israel, does this passage contain !

(Notes, 2 Samuel 23:3-4. 1 Chronicles 29:10-19; 1 Chronicles 29:26-28. 2 Chronicles 31:20-21.) In this especially he was a type of our Saviour, and a pattern both to rulers, and to Christian ministers. " Tire qualifi" cations, requisite for the due discharge of high offices, " are best learned, at first, in an inferior station; especially " if it be one that will inure them to labour and vigilance." Bp. Home.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V:1-11.

The instructions of the sacred word are dark sayings to the inattentive and self-confident : and yet they are very plain to the humble, diligent, and obedient enquirer, who earnestly prays for the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and reduces to practice, and realizes in his experience, what he learns from thence. (Notes, Proverbs 1:1-6; Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 14:6.) The truths, precepts, and works of God, which have been recorded and transmitted to us by our progenitors, form a sacred deposit, which we must hand down to posterity : " shewing to the generation to come the praises of " the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works " that he hath done; that they . . . should arise, and declare " them to their children; that they might set their hope " in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his " commandments." (Note, Romans 3:1-2.) To perform this important duty to good purpose, we must enforce our instructions by a consistent example : and it is awful to think how many parents, by their negligence and wickedness, become the murderers of the souls of their children. But should any young persons read these observations, who cannot but know that their parents are stubborn and rebellious : let them remember, that, though they must not expose their faults, or neglect to submit to them in all things lawful; yet they must neither obey their sinful orders, nor copy their examples. On the contrary, they are bound to requite their kindness in things temporal, by earnestly praying for their conversion : and by recommending the profession of the gospel to them, with the most respectful, obliging, and affectionate behaviour; and by such modest hints, as may consist with the honour due to that superior relation. The lax principles, the disobedience, and the apostasy of many professed Christians shew, that they never set their hearts aright, and that their spirit was never stedfast with God : they were never duly humbled and set against sin; they never were weaned from the world, or prepared for the cross and the conflict; they never cordially received the Lord for their Portion and Salvation, counting all but loss in comparison of him. In time of temptation, therefore, like the cowardly Ephraimites, though armed as soldiers, they basely turn their backs on the enemy; " they renounce the covenant of God, and " refuse to walk in his law."

V:12-54.

We cannot avokl repeating, that in Israel"s history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives, and a compendium of the history of the world, and of the church. (P. O. Nehemiah 9:1-38 :) The common benefits afforded by the Creator to the whole human race, when viewed in connexion with our conduct towards him, evidently leave us without excuse. His sun rises to give us light, his rain descends to make the earth fruitful, and the seasons in succession pour forth an exuberance for our use and indulgence : yet these blessings are generally received with unthankfulness, and abused in intemperance; few are content with meat for their use, but almost all crave provision for their lusts, and are unwilling to trust the power and goodness of God for the future. Insensible of the protecting hand of him, " in " whom they live, and move, and are," most men spend their lives in rebellion : and when he is provoked to bring them into troubles and dangers, there are but few who seem to return to him and enquire after him; and the event proves, that most of these few only " flatter him " with their mouth, and lie unto him with their tongues." So that the patience of God, and the warnings and mercies which he sends, " to lead men to repentance," embolden them to harden their hearts, and treasure up wrath, until the measure of their iniquities is full; and then he casts upon them the fierceness of his wrath, and gives them up to be hardened and destroyed. The history of nations is in many respects the same. God has not indeed dealt with any nation, in every respect, as he did with Israel : but increasing affluence and prosperity have almost uniformly produced proportionable pride, luxury, licentiousness, and impiety: and judgments and mercies have generally been neglected, or very superficially attended to, until the measure of national guilt was filled; and then some other people were employed to execute the vengeance of God upon them. This has appeared with peculiar evidence, in nations favoured with the word of God and professing his truth. The outward means of grace have been to them, like the pillar of cloud and fire, and the Bread and Water of life; and manifold providential favours have been vouchsafed. But where is that nation professing Christianity, which has not copied Israel"s example ? Certainly Britain is no exception to this rule. On us the manna has been rained all around our habitations; and wells of salvation have been opened, and the waters of life have flowed, in almost every corner of our land. We have been equally favoured by an indulgent Providence, and have experienced many former and later extraordinary deliverances : but neither judgments nor mercies have prevented the rapid increase of infidelity, profligacy, impiety, and oppression. And if, under any pressing calamities, we have seemed sensible of our obligations and dependence; and have returned, and enquired after God " our Rock and our Redeemer; " the event has detected our base hypocrisy. Hitherto, the Lord, being full of compassion, has spared us : but if we still forget his mercies, and neglect and abuse his gospel, what can we expect, but that he will cast us off, and number us with the hardened Egyptians; that he will make a way for his anger, and glorify himself by inflicting judgments on us, as singular as our mercies have been?

Even in those collective bodies, which have made a stricter profession of his truth, the case has been similar. Distinguished advantages have not prevented churches, one after another, from degenerating into formality or neresy, from forsaking the covenant of God, and casting off his commandments. The profession and knowledge of the truth have in many instances only increased pride and presumption; men have administered the sacred ordinances as mere external forms; and they have rested upon;he baptism of water, and the sacramental bread and wine, without the inward and spiritual grace signified by them. [Notes, 1 Corinthians 10:1-12.) Many religious societies have split into parties, and turned aside unto vain jangling; many have evidently returned back into the world; and others have declined to superstition and will-worship, and provoked God to jealousy with their high places and graven mages : and neither warnings, mercies, nor judgments lave stopped their course, till their candlesticks have been removed, and their privileges given to others. Nor has any collective body yet been found, which has been durably preserved from such declensions. Let those " who " think they stand, take heed lest they fall."

Even true believers are not unconcerned. Many of them can recollect, that for years they perverted the kindness of Providence into an occasion of sin. The Lord"s patience emboldened them in their evil courses; his bounty increased their self-indulgence; and even the warnings of his word, and their convictions of conscience, served only to discover their obstinacy in rebellion. Perhaps a near prospect of death sometimes frighted them to their devotions, but upon recovery they relapsed into ungodliness. They must therefore now admire the Lord"s compassion and forbearance, in that he did not stir up all his wrath against them and destroy them. At length he came with an outstretched arm for their deliverance : and he found them slaves of Satan and in love with their bondage, nor could they be persuaded to accede to his invitations; nay, they hated and resisted his truths and convictions, until his new-creating grace had powerfully made them willing. Then he broke off their chains, and rescued them from their oppressor; he forgave their sins, and supplied their wants, and opened their way to liberty : and their salvation in its full latitude, far exceeded in love and power, that which Israel experienced when brought up out of Egypt. Since that time of mercy, he has guided and guarded them : they have fed upon the Bread of heaven, and drunk water from the wells of salvation. But though many of them have been mercifully preserved from scandalous offences; yet how often have they grieved his Holy Spirit, and provoked his chastening rod ! Frequently they have been discontented with their temporal provision, and " craved meat for their lusts:" they have secretly murmured at his appointments, and distrusted his power and love; they have limited him to their methods, and doubted whether he could otherwise provide or deliver ! Alas ! we have all provoked him by our unbelief, forgetfulness, and ingratitude; and have often been chastened, by having our inordinate desires granted in anger. Severe afflictions have been necessary to recover us from our backslidings; and though we were not mere hypocrites in returning to the Lord, yet we have soon forgotten the salutary lesson if our hearts have perhaps been sincere, yet they have not been stedfast with him. So that " it is of the Lord"s mercies, that we are not consumed " with our fellow-sinners : and we have cause to review, with shame and gratitude every stage of our journey through the wilderness. Ant when we shall come to our inheritance, how shall we admire the Lord"s patience and mercy, who led us forth like a flock, safely, and without cause of fear; who destroyed our enemies, and brought us, through every intervening difficulty, to the " purchased possession" of his heavenly kingdom ! Then indeed we shall no more distrust or dishonour our God; we shall no more rebel or be ungrateful In the mean time we should walk humbly and watchfully trusting only in his mercy, and cheerfully submitting to the discipline and chastisement, which our remaining peverseness renders necessary; and praying daily and fer vently that we may profit by all our trials, our miscarriages.

and our mercies.

V:55-72.

The power and mercy of God have been as conspicuous, in preserving the church at large from being ruined by intestine corruptions, as in protecting her against external violence. Her history, from the first promise to fallen Adam, to the coming of the Redeemer, has appeared to be a constant succession of gracious interpositions of God in her behalf, requited with continual rebellions and apostasies. Often did the Lord pour contempt upon the externals, in which his professing people confided; and even delivered " the ark of his glory and strength " into captivity, and suffered their priests to be massacred by the heathen : yet in due time he arose again for their help, and put their enemies to shame, or cast them down into destruction. This appears very remarkably in the history of Israel till the days of David, whom he took from the sheepfolds to rule and feed his people, and to promote their prosperity and religious advantage. And their subsequent history, until the coming of the Son of David, is of the same kind. Then Christianity succeeded to the Mosaic dispensation; and Jerusalem being desolated, the Jews as a nation were deprived of all their distinguished privileges. Under the rule and guidance of the good Shepherd, who feeds his flock with most perfect integrity and skilfulness, one would have expected a better state of affairs : yet the history of the Christian church hitherto has been of the same cast; and nothing but the patience of God could have borne with the abominations, which have prevailed among men who are called by the name of Christ ! Nor are matters yet much mended : and the result of all the methods, by which God has made trial of human nature, under every dispensation, confirms his testimony, " that " the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately "" wicked : " and that nothing but a new creation by the power of the Holy Spirit, can cure any of the human race, of their propensity to ungodliness and iniquity. May the Lord then arise as one awaked out of sleep, and put his enemies to a perpetual reproach ! may he purify and unite his church; and raise up kings and pastors like David, and like Christ, under whom his work may prosper, and true religion spread throughout the earth! And let us. not limit our God : he can do all things, and can easily form proper instruments and make them successful, and render true piety as universal as iniquity has hitherto been. But let every reader fear the doom of his enemies, and read with reverent attention, in the history of the Egyptians, and of those Israelites whose " days were consumed in " vanity and their years in trouble," the power of the wrath of God against the workers of iniquity. Let us all diligently seek the privileges of his true people, whom he spares and " pities, as a father doth his children; " " for " he remembereth, that they are but flesh; a wind that " passteth away and comcth not again : " (Notes, Psalm 103:11-18 :) but .let us be careful not to grieve our kind Friend, by distrust and .ingratitude, and forgetfulness of his mercies, which will tend to our own loss. And if we would be useful and honourable in our generation, we must learn to stoop, to labour, to deny ourselves, and to be faithful and diligent in lower situations. For persons of this character have often been advanced to more eminent stations : and if as magistrates or ministers they feed the Lord"s flock with integrity and skill, by the allowance of candid and liberal men; it will prove no real objection or reproach to them, in the judgment of the wise and holy, though they have been formerly employed with Moses, with Amos , and with David, in tending sheep, with Elisha in following the plow, or with the apostles in the fisherman"s boat, or even at the receipt of custom.

(Notes, Exodus 2:16-21. 1 Kings 19:19-21. Amos 7:14-17. Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 9:9.)

 


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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 78:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-78.html. 1804.

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Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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