A Deceitful Bow
Psalm 78:57
But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

Note -


1. That they should be as a bow. That is a weapon, and for him. Christians are to be aggressive, a power in the hands of God against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

2. That they should be powerful. In the case of the bow, that depended on the elasticity of the wood, or the temper of the steel, of which the bow was made, also on the skill shown in its construction. Fault in either so much lessened the value of the bow. And God would have us a power in his hands; he can use weak things, but he would have us strong for himself.

3. True. The bow made of the right material and in right manner would send the arrow straight to the mark and up to the mark, so that it would not fall short or swerve aside. But how many of us, in serving God, are guilty of this! We fall short, are not thorough, or are by one cause or another turned aside.

4. And that their strength should abide. It was said of Joseph, "His bow abode in strength." As a good bow would retain its tenacity and elasticity, so that it could be permanently relied upon. Here is the real test of our fidelity; it is not so much our having strength - at the beginning we all have this more or less - but it is the keeping it, the standing the year-in-and-year-out strain. This is what God desires in us.


1. The bow was a very effective weapon. Hence no army was sent forth without a large body of trained archers. Its silent, swift, distant, deadly effect made it a weapon not only very valued, but indispensible. And God has such servants. Was not Peter one such, and Paul, and many other of less distinguished name - men who so wrought for God as to render service of most effectual kind? And there are such still, men and women too, so endued with power by God that their presence and ministry are the signal at once for great victories to be won for God.

2. And it was therefore reckoned as very formidable, a force not to be trifled with by any foe. And because faithful ministers of God are such weapons for God, therefore it is that Satan strives with all his power to disarm them or to render their ministry of none effect. He knew full well what destruction the Lord Jesus would bring upon his dominion, and therefore, immediately after his baptism, he wrought during those dread forty days, by repeated and terrible temptation, to make his mission ineffectual and to baffle its design. But our Lord, as we all know, gained signal victory, as we also through him may gala like victory.


1. The bow was a trusted weapon. "I will not trust in my bow," said the psalmist (Psalm 44:6), implying how usual was the trust men had in it. The sword and the bow are constantly coupled together in Scripture as the two chief weapons of the soldier on which he was to rely. And so God trusts his servants, commits the treasures of his grace to them, entrusts them to guard and keep the souls Christ died to redeem.

2. And hence a favourite weapon. David commanded that the children of Judah should be taught the use of the bow, because it was his beloved Jonathan's favourite weapon. And it is not too much to say that the chosen means whereby God accomplishes his victories in his spiritual kingdom is through his faithful servants. Not to angels, not to the might, learning, or wisdom of this world, has God given this great charge. But to those who may be, and often are, weak and despised in the eyes of the world, but God makes them mighty.

IV. BUT, NEVERTHELESS, THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE DECEITFUL. In the bow itself, it is owing to fault in material or structure. In those whom the bow represents, it is because they are spiritually weak and untrue. The Prophet Hosea (8) uses this same figure, and shows how applicable it was to the people of his day. And there are such now.

V. THE RESULTS OF SUCH DECEIT ARE ALL SAD. God is dishonoured; the faithful Church is reviled; the enemy triumphs; the bow itself is cast away.

VI. HOW THIS MAY BE PREVENTED. By abiding in Christ, who is our Life, our Strength, our All. - S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

WEB: but turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers. They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

The Unfaithfulness of God's People
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