Gleaners at work

Gleanings in the Psalms

Psalm 78 (Continued)

Verses 26-27. "He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens ... he rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls ..." He is Lord Paramount, above the prince of the power of the air; storms arise and tempests blow at his command. Winds sleep until God arouses them, and then, like Samuel, each one answers, "Here am I, for thou didst call me." If one wind will not serve his purpose, another will, and if need be they shall both blow at once. We speak of fickle winds, but their obedience to their Lord is such that they deserve a better name. If we ourselves were half as obedient as the winds, we should be far superior to what we now are.
C. H. Spurgeon

Verse 32. "For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works." They went on sinning, "and believed not for his wondrous works." That is, even his great miracles did not bring them to believe. Neither speculative atheism, nor atheism of heart, nor practical atheism was ever cured by seeing a miracle. It is not lack of evidence, but the lack of right disposition that keeps men from believing God.
William Plumer

Verses 34-37. "When he slew them, then they sought him ... nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth ... for their heart was not right with him ...." In these words you see plainly that these people are very quick and earnest in seeking God to take off his hand, and remove the judgments that were upon them, but not that God would cure them of those sins that had provoked him to draw his sword, and to make it drunk with their blood in the first place. They would fain be rid of their sufferings, but did not care to be rid of their sins. Ah! But a gracious soul cries out, "Lord, do but take away my sins, and it will satisfy me and cheer me, though thou shouldst never take away a heavy hand." A true Nathanael sighs it out under his greatest affliction, as that good man Augustine did, "Deliver me, O Lord, from that evil man - myself." "Lord!" says the believing soul, "deliver me from my inward burden, and lay upon me what outward burden thou pleasest.
Thomas Brooks

Verse 36. "Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues," God may be the object of their words, but self is the purpose, for a heavenly object can be made subservient to a carnal design. Hypocrisy passes a compliment on God that is called flattery: "They did flatter him with their mouth" etc. They gave him a package of good words to ensure their preservation. A hypocrite may well be termed "a religious atheist;" - an atheist masked with religion.
S. Charnock

Verse 38. "But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not; yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath." When his hand was up and giving the blow, he "called it back again," as one that could not find it in his heart to do it. And when he did it, "he did not stir up all his wrath;" he let some drops of it fall, but would not shed the whole shower of it. It is natural for the bee to give honey, yet it stings: but it stings only when it is provoked. And this we see by experience to be true of God; he suffers men, and suffers them long: they continue in their sin, and yet, he continues in his mercies, and withholds his judgments.
John Preston: The Golden Sceptre held forth to the Humble.

Verse 39. "For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again."

The secret wheels of hurrying time do give
So short a warning, and so fast they drive,
That I am dead before I seem to live.

And what's a life? A weary pilgrimage,
Whose glory in one day doth fill thy stage
With childhood, manhood, and decrepit age.

And what's a life? The flourishing array
Of the proud summer-meadow, which today
Wears her green plush, and is tomorrow hay.

And what is life? A blast sustained with clothing,
Maintained with food, retained with vile self-loathing,
then weary of itself, again to nothing.

Francis Quarles