Psalms 78:17 MEANING

Psalm 78:17
(17) They sinned yet more and more.--This implies the discontent which had already shown itself before the miraculous supply of water.

Verse 17. - And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the Most High in the wilderness. The two provocations of a demand for bread (Exodus 16:3) and a demand for flesh (Numbers 11:4) are joined together in the present passage, as the two occasions of giving water are in vers. 15, 16. Only the second of these two provocations was subsequent to the (first) giving of water; but the psalmist does not allow himself to be bound by considerations of strict chronological accuracy. He is a poet, and not an historian; though at present he is treating of history.

78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!And they sinned yet more against him,.... Or, "and they added yet to sin against him" (c); which was great ingratitude; they had sinned before, and it might have been hoped that the goodness of God to them would have engaged them to have sinned no more, at least at such a rate, and in such a manner, as they had done; but instead of sinning less, they sinned more and more, they added sin to sin; such is the corrupt heart of man, notwithstanding the grace of God, and the blessings of it vouchsafed unto him:

by provoking the most High in the wilderness; everything is aggravating; the object against whom they sinned was the most High, which betrays their impiety, folly, and vanity; and they did not slightly sin against him, but did those things which were highly provoking and exasperating; and that in the wilderness, where they received so many favours, and where they must have been starved and perish, and could not have lived, without immediate provision, support, and protection, from the hand of the Lord.

(c) "et addiderunt adhuc ad peccandum ei", Montanus, "vel peccare", Musculus, Gejerus, Michaelis.

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