Psalm 78:57
They turned back and were faithless like their fathers, twisted like a faulty bow.
A Deceitful BowS. Conway Psalm 78:57
Whole Psalm: Warnings Against UnbeliefS. Conway Psalm 78:1-72
Disobeying the KingPsalm 78:56-57
The Deceitfulness of the Heart as to DutyJ. Jamieson, M. A.Psalm 78:56-57
The Unfaithfulness of God's PeopleW. Gurnall.Psalm 78:56-57

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.

And kept not His testimonies: but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully their fathers.
I. AS TO THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY, the heart discovers its power of deceit.

1. By diverting a person from those duties that are most spiritual in their nature. It will plead. as to self-examination and meditation on the Word, that these duties are of too difficult a nature; that they require too close an attention; that it is very provoking to God to perform them carelessly; and therefore insist for the neglect of them, and for giving a preference to those of a more general nature.

2. By endeavouring to prevent any real communion with God, and to distract the mind by wandering in duty.

3. By inciting to hypocrisy. The people of God are sometimes disposed to appear to Him more fervent in duty than they really are, to make professions of love to Him which they do not presently feel, to express a hatred of sin and desire of His favour, without the immediate sense of either in their hearts.

4. By prompting the possessor to retain sin in his heart, even when he draws near to God.

5. By exciting a person to rely on his own strength.

6. By pleading uprightness of intention as an apology for a multitude of defects.

7. There are many, on the other hand, who please themselves with the form of duty, without any regard to the intention.

8. By stirring up the believer to spiritual pride after enjoying the Divine presence in duty.

9. By dissuading the Christian from duty, when the observation of it is attended with no comfort.

10. By making the person seek comfort from the mere performance of duty.

11. By inspiring one with greater boldness in duty, because of former comfort in the observation of it.


1. The heart urges the delay of duty, and thus discovers its deceitfulness, by promising a future opportunity.

2. It persuades us to omit duty by calling in the world to its aid. This is a faithful ally to the corrupt heart, always willing to lend its aid in turning us away from God.

3. It presents evil in opposition to present duty. When God presents an opportunity of serving Him, to which the renewed will consents, the deceitfulness of the heart offers a temptation to evil; and by the artfulness or force of the temptation endeavours to divert the believer from the good that he designs.

4. It dissuades from duty, because of insufficiency for performing it aright. The deceitful heart will often contradict itself, rather than fail of its intention, to baffle all the attempts of the believer in the service of his God. If engaged in duty, it persuades him to depend on his own strength. If he be convinced of the folly of this proposal, it will try to hinder him from duty, because of felt inability.

5. It prompts the Christian to resist the present call to duty, for want of a proper temper. By this is meant a right disposition of heart, liveliness of affections, a present feeling of the comforts of religion. A comfortable warmth of affections is most desirable, indeed, in the service of the Lord. But it is not essential to acceptable worship. A duty may be performed in the exercise of faith, while no sensible comfort is attained. But wilfully to omit any one for want of this is to renounce the true foundation of our access to God, which is only through Christ.

6. It dissuades from duty, by representing that an eminent measure of holiness is not necessary to salvation.

7. It inclines to the neglect of duty, lest others should construe it as presumption or hypocrisy. This is a modesty, for which God may be provoked so to chasten His people as to give them just cause of shame, and to cover their faces with deserved confusion.We shall conclude with the following directions: —

1. Beware of neglecting the season of duty. God's time is always the fittest for His own service.

2. Do not plead the world as an excuse for the omission of duty. God hath given you abundance of time to yourselves. "To everything there is a season," etc. You may easily accomplish all your worldly business, and yet devote that time to God which He requires.

3. Be extremely suspicious of every excuse that your heart offers for the neglect of duty.

4. Quench not the Spirit, when exciting you to duty. This is grieving to the Holy Ghost, by whom you are sealed to the day of redemption.

5. Carry on, in the strength of promised grace, a constant war against the carnality of your hearts, against that opposition which is in them to duty.

(J. Jamieson, M. A.)

When the bow is unbent, the rift it has may be undiscerned, but go to use it by drawing the arrow to the head and it flies in pieces; thus doth a false heart when put to the trial. As the ape in the fable, dressed like a man, when nuts are thrown before her, cannot then dissemble her nature any longer, but shows herself an ape indeed; a false heart betrays itself before it is aware, when a fair occasion is presented for its lust; whereas sincerity keeps the soul pure in the face of temptation.

(W. Gurnall.)

To break the king's laws is punishable, but to pull him out of his throne, and set up a scullion in it and give him the honour and obedience of a king, this is another kind of matter, and much more intolerable. The first commandment is not like the rest, which require only obedience to particular laws in a particular action, but it establisheth the very relations of sovereign and subject, and requires a constant acknowledgment of these relations, and make it high treason against the God of heaven in any that should violate that command. Now, this is the sin of every worldling: he hath taken down God from the throne in his soul and set up the flesh and the world in His stead; these he valueth and delighteth in; these have his very heart, while God that made it and redeemed it is set lightly by.

( Richard Baxter.)

Asaph, David, Ham, Jacob, Joseph, Psalmist
Acted, Aside, Bow, Deal, Dealt, Deceitful, Disloyal, Drew, Faithless, Fathers, Faulty, Hearts, Treacherous, Treacherously, Turn, Twisted, Unfaithfully, Unreliable, Untrue
1. An exhortation both to learn and to preach, the law of God
9. The story of God's wrath against the incredulous and disobedient
67. The Israelites being rejected, God chose Judah, Zion, and David.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 78:57

     5236   bow and arrow
     5973   unreliability
     6163   faults
     8331   reliability
     8741   failure

Psalm 78:55-64

     8705   apostasy, in OT

Psalm 78:56-57

     5473   proof, through testing

Psalm 78:56-59

     8743   faithlessness, nature of
     8840   unfaithfulness, to God

Memory, Hope, and Effort
'That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.'--PSALM lxxviii. 7. In its original application this verse is simply a statement of God's purpose in giving to Israel the Law, and such a history of deliverance. The intention was that all future generations might remember what He had done, and be encouraged by the remembrance to hope in Him for the future; and by both memory and hope, be impelled to the discharge of present duty. So, then, the words
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Turning Back in the Day of Battle
I. We will first consider for a little while WHAT THESE MEN DID. They turned their backs. When the time for fighting came they ought to have shown their fronts. Like bold men they should have kept their face to the foe and their breast against the adversary, but they dishonorably turned their backs and fled. This, I am sorry to say, is not an unusual thing amongst professing Christians. They turn back; they turn back in the day of battle. Some do this at the first appearance of difficulty. "There
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 12: 1866

Limiting God
Among such sins of the first table is that described in our text. It is consequently one of the masterpieces of iniquity, and we shall do well to purge ourselves of it. It is full of evil to ourselves, and is calculated to dishonor both God and man, therefore let us be in earnest to cut it up both root and branch. I think we have all been guilty of this in our measure; and we are not free from it even to this day. Whether we be saints or sinners, we may stand here and make our humble confession that
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Fifteenth Day for Schools and Colleges
WHAT TO PRAY.--For Schools and Colleges "As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord: My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LoThe future of the Church and the world depends, to an extent we little conceive, on the education of the day. The Church may be seeking to evangelise the heathen, and be giving up her own children to secular
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Fourteenth Day for the Church of the Future
WHAT TO PRAY.--For the Church of the Future "That the children might not be as their fathers, a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God."--PS. lxxviii. 8. "I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thy offspring."--ISA. xliv. 3. Pray for the rising generation, who are to come after us. Think of the young men and young women and children of this age, and pray for all the agencies at work among them; that in association and societies
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Centenary Commemoration
OF THE RETURN OF BISHOP SEABURY. 1885 THE RT. REV. SAMUEL SEABURY, D.D. FIRST BISHOP OF CONNECTICUT, HELD HIS FIRST ORDINATION AT MIDDLETOWN, AUGUST 3, 1785. On the ninth day of June, 1885, the Diocesan Convention met in Hartford. Morning Prayer was read in Christ Church at 9 o'clock by the Rev. W. E. Vibbert, D.D., Rector of St. James's Church, Fair Haven, and the Rev. J. E. Heald, Rector of Trinity Church, Tariffville. The Holy Communion was celebrated in St. John's Church, the service beginning
Various—The Sermons And Addresses At The Seabury Centenary

"Thou Shalt Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. "
From this Commandment we learn that after the excellent works of the first three Commandments there are no better works than to obey and serve all those who are set over us as superiors. For this reason also disobedience is a greater sin than murder, unchastity, theft and dishonesty, and all that these may include. For we can in no better way learn how to distinguish between greater and lesser sins than by noting the order of the Commandments of God, although there are distinctions also within the
Dr. Martin Luther—A Treatise on Good Works

Indiscreet Importunity.
"I gave thee a king in mine anger." HOSEA xiii. 11. "Ye know not what ye ask." MATTHEW xx. 22. PSALM lxxviii. 27-31. That God sometimes suffers men to destroy themselves, giving them their own way, although He knows it is ruinous, and even putting into their hands the scorpion they have mistaken for a fish, is an indubitable and alarming fact. Perhaps no form of ruin covers a man with such shame or sinks him to such hopelessness as when he finds that what he has persistently clamoured for and refused
Marcus Dods—How to become like Christ

The Mystery
Of the Woman dwelling in the Wilderness. The woman delivered of a child, when the dragon was overcome, from thenceforth dwelt in the wilderness, by which is figured the state of the Church, liberated from Pagan tyranny, to the time of the seventh trumpet, and the second Advent of Christ, by the type, not of a latent, invisible, but, as it were, an intermediate condition, like that of the lsraelitish Church journeying in the wilderness, from its departure from Egypt, to its entrance into the land
Joseph Mede—A Key to the Apocalypse

The Second Continental Journey.
1827-28. PART I.--GERMANY. After John and Martha Yeardley had visited their friends at home, their minds were directed to the work which they had left uncompleted on the continent of Europe; and, on their return from the Yearly Meeting, they opened this prospect of service before the assembled church to which they belonged. (Diary) 6 mo. 18.--Were at the Monthly Meeting at Highflatts, where we laid our concern before our friends to revisit some parts of Germany and Switzerland, and to visit
John Yeardley—Memoir and Diary of John Yeardley, Minister of the Gospel

The World's Bread
'And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 31. And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 33. And the people saw them departing, and many knew Him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Out of the Deep of Loneliness, Failure, and Disappointment.
My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass. I am even as a sparrow that sitteth alone on the housetop--Ps. cii. 4, 6. My lovers and friends hast Thou put away from me, and hid mine acquaintance out of my sight--Ps. lxxviii. 18. I looked on my right hand, and saw there was no man that would know me. I had no place to flee unto, and no man cared for my soul. I cried unto Thee, O Lord, and said, Thou art my Hope. When my spirit was in heaviness, then Thou knewest my path.--Ps. cxlii. 4, 5.
Charles Kingsley—Out of the Deep

The Good Shepherd: a Farewell Sermon
John 10:27-28 -- "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." It is a common, and I believe, generally speaking, my dear hearers, a true saying, that bad manners beget good laws. Whether this will hold good in every particular, in respect to the affairs of this world, I am persuaded the observation is very pertinent in respect to the things of another: I mean bad manners,
George Whitefield—Selected Sermons of George Whitefield

Adam and Zaretan, Joshua 3
I suspect a double error in some maps, while they place these two towns in Perea; much more, while they place them at so little a distance. We do not deny, indeed, that the city Adam was in Perea; but Zaretan was not so. Of Adam is mention, Joshua 3:16; where discourse is had of the cutting-off, or cutting in two, the waters of Jordan, that they might afford a passage to Israel; The waters rose up upon a heap afar off in Adam. For the textual reading "In Adam," the marginal hath "From Adam." You
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.' Exod 20: 15. AS the holiness of God sets him against uncleanness, in the command Thou shalt not commit adultery;' so the justice of God sets him against rapine and robbery, in the command, Thou shalt not steal.' The thing forbidden in this commandment, is meddling with another man's property. The civil lawyers define furtum, stealth or theft to be the laying hands unjustly on that which is another's;' the invading another's right. I. The causes of theft. [1] The internal causes
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

"The Sun of Righteousness"
WE SHOULD FEEL QUITE JUSTIFIED in applying the language of the 19th Psalm to our Lord Jesus Christ from the simple fact that he is so frequently compared to the sun; and especially in the passage which we have given you as our second text, wherein he is called "the Sun of Righteousness." But we have a higher justification for such a reading of the passage, for it will be in your memories that, in the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul, slightly altering the words of this
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

A Jealous God
I. Reverently, let us remember that THE LORD IS EXCEEDINGLY JEALOUS OF HIS DEITY. Our text is coupled with the command--"Thou shalt worship no other God." When the law was thundered from Sinai, the second commandment received force from the divine jealousy--"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 9: 1863

Mosaic Cosmogony.
ON the revival of science in the 16th century, some of the earliest conclusions at which philosophers arrived were found to be at variance with popular and long-established belief. The Ptolemaic system of astronomy, which had then full possession of the minds of men, contemplated the whole visible universe from the earth as the immovable centre of things. Copernicus changed the point of view, and placing the beholder in the sun, at once reduced the earth to an inconspicuous globule, a merely subordinate
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World

Privilege and Experience
"And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." --Luke 15:31. The words of the text are familiar to us all. The elder son had complained and said, that though his father had made a feast, and had killed the fatted calf for the prodigal son, he had never given him even a kid that he might make merry with his friends. The answer of the father was: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." One cannot have a more wonderful revelation of the heart of
Andrew Murray—The Deeper Christian Life

Stones Crying Out
'For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. 11. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. 12. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Deaf Stammerer Healed and Four Thousand Fed.
^A Matt. XV. 30-39; ^B Mark VII. 32-VIII. 9. ^b 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech [The man had evidently learned to speak before he lost his hearing. Some think that defective hearing had caused the impediment in his speech, but verse 35 suggests that he was tongue-tied]; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue [He separated
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Purity and Peace in the Present Lord
PHILIPPIANS iv. 1-9 Euodia and Syntyche--Conditions to unanimity--Great uses of small occasions--Connexion to the paragraphs--The fortress and the sentinel--A golden chain of truths--Joy in the Lord--Yieldingness--Prayer in everything--Activities of a heart at rest Ver. 1. +So, my brethren beloved and longed for+, missed indeed, at this long distance from you, +my joy and crown+ of victory (stephanos), +thus+, as having such certainties and such aims, with such a Saviour, and looking for such
Handley C. G. Moule—Philippian Studies

The Baptismal Covenant Can be Kept Unbroken. Aim and Responsibility of Parents.
We have gone "to the Law and to the Testimony" to find out what the nature and benefits of Baptism are. We have gathered out of the Word all the principal passages bearing on this subject. We have grouped them together, and studied them side by side. We have noticed that their sense is uniform, clear, and strong. Unless we are willing to throw aside all sound principles of interpretation, we can extract from the words of inspiration only one meaning, and that is that the baptized child is, by virtue
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church

An Exhortation to Love God
1. An exhortation. Let me earnestly persuade all who bear the name of Christians to become lovers of God. "O love the Lord, all ye his saints" (Psalm xxxi. 23). There are but few that love God: many give Him hypocritical kisses, but few love Him. It is not so easy to love God as most imagine. The affection of love is natural, but the grace is not. Men are by nature haters of God (Rom. i. 30). The wicked would flee from God; they would neither be under His rules, nor within His reach. They fear God,
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

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