They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel:…
We have here some of the greatest words in human history, and some of the most vivid experiences of human life. We have all believed, praised, forgotten, and tempted. What is now our duty? If that question can be answered directly and solemnly and with due effect in the life, this will be as a birthtime, memorable through all the ages that are yet to dawn upon our life. "Then believed they His words." When He rebuked the Red Sea, and it was dried up, etc. Any credit due to them? Not one whit. "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." This brings us into the region of personal providential deliverances, and we have all been in that hallowed region. That such deliverances do occur every man who has read his life with any attention will instantly attest. Our whole life is a providential deliverance. So blind are we, so foolish, that we expect only to see God in the miracle that is occasional, rather than in the miracle that is constant. Now the tone changes, the wind goes round to a bitter quarter — "they soon forgat His works." How easy it is to forget favours. How possible it is to give so many favours to an ungrateful person as to cause that person to imagine he has a right to claim them as his due. The giving of favours where gratitude is not kept up proportionately with the gift is a heart-hardening process. "They soon forgat." Religious impression is most transitory. Beautiful as the morning dew while it lasts, it exhales, and we see no rainbow in the sky. It vanishes, it perishes, unless it be diligently seized and wisely deepened, yea, even cultured with all a husbandman's patient care, until it blooms into flower or develops into fruit, and is fit for the Master's plucking. Frail is the thread that binds us to heaven, mean and weak the threadlet that attaches us to the altar and the Church — a breath may break it, a little splutter of flame may crack it, and then our life may be lost. Perhaps the catastrophe ended at forgetfulness? No; further reading gives denial to that happy hope. The reading is black, and proceeds thus: "They lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert." They believed, they lusted, they sang, they tempted. It is such swift oscillation that we find in our own consciousness and experience of religious things. Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
(J. Parker, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: