|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:1-8 These are called dark and deep sayings, because they are carefully to be looked into. The law of God was given with a particular charge to teach it diligently to their children, that the church may abide for ever. Also, that the providences of God, both in mercy and in judgment, might encourage them to conform to the will of God. The works of God much strengthen our resolution to keep his commandments. Hypocrisy is the high road to apostacy; those that do not set their hearts right, will not be stedfast with God. Many parents, by negligence and wickedness, become murderers of their children. But young persons, though they are bound to submit in all things lawful, must not obey sinful orders, or copy sinful examples.
Verse 7. - That they might set their hope in God. Instruction in God's Law, and in his treatment of their forefathers, would naturally tend to make the Israelites "set their hope in God," who in the past had done so much for them. And not forget the works of God. They could not well forget, it' they were perpetually reminded of them. But keep his commandments. If they bore God's works - i.e. his many mercies - in mind, they would be the more disposed to obedience.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That they might set their hope in God,.... And not in the creature, nor in any creature enjoyment; see Job 31:24, the Lord is the only proper object of hope and confidence; Christ, who is truly God, is the hope of his people, and in him they place it, as they have great reason to do; since with him there is mercy, the mercy of God is proclaimed in him; and with him there is redemption, which includes the blessings of peace, pardon, and righteousness; and a plenteous one, a redemption from all sin; and it is the Gospel which points out these things in Christ, and encourages a firm and settled hope and trust in him: and this shows that that is meant by the law and testimony; since the law of Moses gives no encouragement to hope in God; it convinces of sin, but does not direct to a Saviour, and so leaves without hope; it works wrath, terror, and despair; it is in the Gospel only Christ is set before men, as the object of hope to lay hold on, and which is as an anchor sure and steadfast, where they may securely place it:
and not forget the works of God; which the Gospel declares; not only the miracles of Christ recorded by the evangelists, but the works of grace, redemption, and salvation; the remembrance of which is kept up by the ministry of the word, and the administration of ordinances:
but keep his commandments; the commandments of Christ, and which are peculiar to the Gospel dispensation; and are to be kept in faith, from a principle of love, through the grace and strength of Christ, and to the glory of God by him; see John 14:15.
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