The Determined Sinner's Regular Round
Psalm 78:34
When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired early after God.

There are regions to which so many tourists go, and the notable places in which they usually visit in an almost fixed order, that the way they take has come to be known as and called "the regular round." This psalm and this verse seem to set forth another regular round which sin-hardened souls do perpetually take. We will -


1. They start with sin, and on and on they go, with occasional misgivings, which, however, soon grow less along the broad, attractive, much-frequented road.

2. But next they come to where the punishment of God has to be met and endured. This is a dreary place, and they cry out in their pain. But they cannot avoid this stage. However slowly they may seem to travel, they reach it one day, and a dark day that is. They had no business along the road at all, and God will have them know that; and hence this punishment stage is placed right across it, that men may either be deterred from going by the road at all, or else turn speedily back. But if they will still go on in it, they are certain to come to this terrible place.

3. They are in a great hurry to get away, and so they alter their course. They seem to repent of their previous journey altogether. "When he slew them, then they sought him." "The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be." How often Pharaoh, when he had got to this miserable stage, made as if he would amend his way! And it very often seems as if such as he really had done so. The sham repentance is, to our poor bleared eyes, so much like the real, that we are quite deceived, and we help the sinner to deceive himself.

4. Then next is the stage of the hardened heart. The will unsubdued, the mind determined on its own way. Hidden away, deep down underneath the decorous disguise of a temporarily altered conduct, there is the stone-like heart, the will resolute in its own way. It is not going to change, though it may be prudent to seem for a time as if it were. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."

5. Then there is reached, not long after, the first stage whence the wretched round began. The soul is back at its sin again.

II. THE POINT WHERE THE SOUL MAY BREAK AWAY. It is at the repentance stage. Some one has said that what we call the ten plagues might rather be called Pharaoh's ten opportunities of turning from his sin to God. And undoubtedly they were such. The pang of repentance which he felt might have led right away from God's judgments.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." And in the affairs of the soul that tide at flood is the hour when God shows us the wretchedness of our sin, and bids us turn to him.


1. It is evidently possible, The road branches where you are: one way leads to God - the way along which God's voice is surely calling you; the other leads to the hardened heart, - it is the way along which you have come.

2. Now call upon God for help to answer his call.

3. Break away in actual conduct. Books, companions, amusements, all that is to you occasion of and temptation to sin; break away resolutely and at once from them; have done with them altogether.

4. All the while keep calling upon God. He has promised to save you. Put in the cheque of his promise, and claim payment of it. Trust him, expect him to make good his word - and he will. Credo experto. - S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired early after God.

WEB: When he killed them, then they inquired after him. They returned and sought God earnestly.

Israel's Hypocritical Repentance
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