Psalm 78:37
For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
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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!For their heart was not right with him - Luther renders this, "Not fast with him." The Hebrew word means "to fit, to prepare;" and the idea is, that the heart was not "adjusted" to such a profession, or did not "accord" with such a promise or pledge. It was a mere profession made by the lips, while the heart remained unaffected. See the notes at Psalm 78:8.

Neither were they stedfast in his covenant - In maintaining his covenant, or in adhering to it. Compare Psalm 25:14; Psalm 44:17. See also Psalm 78:8.

37. heart … not right—or, "firm" (compare Ps 78:8; Ps 51:10). All their confessions and petitions were but hypocritical and forced, and did not proceed from an upright heart truly grieved for their former offences, and firmly resolved to turn unto the Lord. They discovered their hypocrisy by their apostacy from God as soon as their danger was past.

For their heart was not right with him,.... Neither prepared and ready to any good work, but reprobate thereunto; nor steady, fixed, and established, as a good man's heart is, trusting in the Lord; but wavering, fickle, and inconstant; nor true, faithful, and upright; but turning aside like a deceitful bow, as is afterwards said, Psalm 78:57,

neither were they steadfast in his covenant; which was made with them at Sinai, though they promised to be obedient, and to do all the Lord said unto them; but this covenant they broke, though he were an husband to them; see Exodus 24:7.

For their {u} heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.

(u) Whatever does not come from the pure fountain of the heart is hypocrisy.

37. right … stedfast] Or, stedfast … faithful. Cp. Psalm 78:8, where the same words are used. The heart is the organ of thought and will, which determines the moral and religious character, the seat of true repentance and amendment of life (Psalm 51:10; Psalm 57:7).

Verse 37. - For their heart was not right with him. It is the worship of the heart alone which God values (see Deuteronomy 10:12; Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 23:26, etc.). If the heart be not "right with God," our worship is an offence to him. Neither were they steadfast in his covenant (comp. ver. 8). Psalm 78:37Passing over to the giving of the quails, the poet is thinking chiefly of the first occasion mentioned in Exodus 16, which directly preceded the giving of the manna. But the description follows the second: יסּע (He caused to depart, set out) after Numbers 11:31. "East" and "south" belong together: it was a south-east wind from the Aelanitic Gulf. "To rain down" is a figurative expression for a plentiful giving of dispensing from above. "Its camp, its tents," are those of Israel, Numbers 11:31, cf. Exodus 16:13. The תּעוה, occurring twice, Psalm 78:29-30 (of the object of strong desire, as in Psalm 21:3), points to Kibroth-hattaavah, the scene of this carnal lusting; הביא is the transitive of the בּוא in Proverbs 13:12. In Psalm 78:30-31 even in the construction the poet closely follows Numbers 11:33 (cf. also זרוּ with לזרא, aversion, loathing, Numbers 11:20). The Waw unites what takes place simultaneously; a construction which presents the advantage of being able to give special prominence to the subject. The wrath of God consisted in the breaking out of a sickness which was the result of immoderate indulgence, and to which even the best-nourished and most youthfully vigorous fell a prey. When the poet goes on in Psalm 78:32 to say that in spite of these visitations (בּכל־זאת) they went on sinning, he has chiefly before his mind the outbreak of "fat" rebelliousness after the return of the spies, cf. Psalm 78:32 with Numbers 14:11. And Psalm 78:33 refers to the judgment of death in the wilderness threatened at that time to all who had come out of Egypt from twenty years old and upward (Numbers 14:28-34). Their life devoted to death vanished from that time onwards בּהבל, in breath-like instability, and בּבּהלה, in undurable precipitancy; the mode of expression in Psalm 31:11; Job 36:1 suggests to the poet an expressive play of words. When now a special judgment suddenly and violently thinned the generation that otherwise was dying off, as in Numbers 21:6., then they inquired after Him, they again sought His favour, those who were still preserved in the midst of this dying again remembered the God who had proved Himself to be a "Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:37) and to be a "Redeemer" (Genesis 48:16) to them. And what next? Psalm 78:36-37

(Note: According to the reckoning of the Masora this Psalm 78:36 is the middle verse of the 2527 verses of the Psalter (Buxtorf, Tiberias, 1620, p. 133).)

tell us what effect they gave to this disposition to return to God. They appeased Him with their mouth, is meant to say: they sought to win Him over to themselves by fair speeches, inasmuch as they thus anthropopathically conceived of God, and with their tongue they played the hypocrite to Him; their heart, however, was not sincere towards Him (עם like את in Psalm 78:8), i.e., not directed straight towards Him, and they proved themselves not stedfast (πιστοί, or properly βέβαιοι) in their covenant-relationship to Him.

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