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Psalms 78:37

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Their heart was not right - When the heart is wrong, the life is wrong; and because their heart was not right with God, therefore they were not faithful in his covenant.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For their heart was not right with him - Luther renders this, “Not fast with him.” The Hebrew word means “to fit, to prepare;” and the idea is, that the heart was not “adjusted” to such a profession, or did not “accord” with such a promise or pledge. It was a mere profession made by the lips, while the heart remained unaffected. See the notes at Psalm 78:8.

Neither were they stedfast in his covenant - In maintaining his covenant, or in adhering to it. Compare Psalm 25:14; Psalm 44:17. See also Psalm 78:8.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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!
Ellen G. White
Education, 45

“They sat down at Thy feet; everyone shall receive of Thy words.”

Wherever in Israel God's plan of education was carried into effect, its results testified of its Author. But in very many households the training appointed by Heaven, and the characters thus developed, were alike rare. God's plan was but partially and imperfectly fulfilled. By unbelief and by disregard of the Lord's directions, the Israelites surrounded themselves with temptations that few had power to resist. At their settlement in Canaan “they did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.” Their heart was not right with God, “neither were they steadfast in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away.... For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” Psalm 106:34-36; 78:37-39. Fathers and mothers in Israel became indifferent to their obligation to God, indifferent to their obligation to their children. Through unfaithfulness in the home, and idolatrous influences without, many of the Hebrew youth received an education differing widely from that which God had planned for them. They learned the ways of the heathen. Ed 45.1

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 410

From Kadesh the children of Israel had turned back into the wilderness; and the period of their desert sojourn being ended, they came, “even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh.” Numbers 20:1. PP 410.1

Here Miriam died and was buried. From that scene of rejoicing on the shores of the Red Sea, when Israel went forth with song and dance to celebrate Jehovah's triumph, to the wilderness grave which ended a lifelong wandering—such had been the fate of millions who with high hopes had come forth from Egypt. Sin had dashed from their lips the cup of blessing. Would the next generation learn the lesson? PP 410.2

“For all this they sinned still, and believed not for His wondrous works.... When He slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned and inquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:32-35. Yet they did not turn to God with a sincere purpose. Though when afflicted by their enemies they sought help from Him who alone could deliver, yet “their heart was not right with Him , neither were they steadfast in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away.... For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” Verses 37-39. PP 410.3

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 457

God calls upon His creatures to turn their attention from the confusion and perplexity around them and admire His handiwork. As we study His works, angels from heaven will be by our side to enlighten our minds and guard them from Satan's deceptions. As you look at the wonderful things that God's hand has made, let your proud, foolish heart feel its dependence and inferiority. How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble oneself when it is too late! CT 457.1

The psalmist declares, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8. The whole of this psalm should find a place in the reading and spelling lessons of the school. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered—they forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Consider also the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. CT 457.2

These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come; and should they not be studied in our schools? The word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth? CT 457.3

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