|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 39. - For he remembered that they were but flesh (comp. Genesis 6:3). Flesh is weak, erring, frail - "in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:17) - God, therefore, who had made them "flesh," had compassion on their weakness. A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again (comp. Job 7:7). Man is a mere passing breath - as light, as fleeting, as transitory - "a vapour that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For he remembered that they were but flesh,.... Or "children of flesh", as the Targum; poor, frail, weak, mortal creatures, unable to bear the weight of his displeasure, the stroke of his hand, and the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his wrath; that they must be crushed before him, and would sink, and fail, and die; see Psalm 103:14, or that they were naturally sinful and corrupt, prone to evil, easily drawn into sin; it was what their depraved natures inclined unto; they were impotent to that which is good, and unable to withstand temptations to evil; all which was taken notice of and considered by the Lord in his condescending goodness, and therefore he dealt gently with them; see Genesis 6:3,
a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again; such is the life of man; it may be fitly compared to the wind, which moves swiftly, and, passing on, loses its strength and subsides; so the life of man is quickly gone, his days move swiftly on, he dies, and returns not again to his former state, to a mortal life; and though the spirit returns to the body again, yet not till the resurrection; and then not of itself, but by the power of God; see Job 7:7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
39. a wind … again—literally, "a breath," thin air (compare Ps 103:16; Jas 4:14).
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