|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!
Verse 14. - In the daytime also he led them with a cloud. The "pillar of the cloud" is, of course, intended (see Exodus 13:21, 22; Exodus 14:19, 24; Exodus 40:38; Numbers 9:15; Numbers 10:34; Numbers 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:33). And all the night with a light of fire. The "pillar of fire" (Exodus 13:21; Exodus 40:38; Numbers 9:16, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In the daytime also he led them with a cloud,.... Which was in the form of a pillar, and went before them, and the Lord in it, and directed their way, and protected them from heat; see Exodus 13:21, Nehemiah 9:12 this was typical of Christ, who is a shadow and security from the heat of a fiery law, the flaming sword of justice, the wrath of God, which is poured forth like fire, the fiery darts of Satan, and from hurt by any enemy whatever; see Isaiah 4:5, and who leads his people through the wilderness of this world by his Spirit, by his word, and by his own example; and who is the best and safest guide to follow:
and all the night with a light of fire; which also was in the form of a pillar, and went before them, and gave light in the night, and the Lord was in it; and this also was typical of Christ, who is the light of his people amidst all their darkness in this world.
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