The Treasury of David

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The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.


Psalm 78

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
Other Works


TITLE. Maschil of Asaph. This is rightly entitled an instructive Psalm. It is not a mere recapitulation of important events in Israelitish history but is intended to be viewed as a parable setting forth the conduct and experience of believers of all ages. It is a singular proof of the obtuseness of mind of many professors that they will object to sermons and expositions upon the historical parts of Scripture as if they contained no instruction in spiritual matters: were such persons truly enlightened by the Spirit of God, they would perceive that all Scripture is profitable, and would blush at their own folly in undervaluing any portion of the inspired volume.

DIVISION. The unity is well maintained throughout, but for the reader’s convenience, we may note that Ps 78:1-8 may be viewed as a preface, setting forth the psalmist’s object in the epic he is composing. From Ps 78:9-41 the theme is Israel in the wilderness; then intervenes an account of the Lord’s preceding goodness towards his people in bringing them out of Egypt by plagues and wonders, Ps 78:42-52. The history of the tribes is resumed at Ps 78:53 and continued to Ps 78:66, where we reach the time of the removal of the ark to Zion and the transference of the leadership of Israel from Ephraim to Judah, which is rehearsed in a song from Ps 78:67-72.


Verses 30-31. They were not estranged from their lust. Lust grows upon that which it feeds on. If sick of too much flesh, yet men grow not weary of lust, they change the object, and go on lusting still. When one sin is proved to be a bitterness, men do not desist, but pursue another iniquity. If, like Jehu, they turn from Baal, they fall to worshipping the calves of Bethel. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, before they could digest their coveted meat, it turned to their destruction. The wrath of God came upon them before they could swallow their first meal of flesh. Short was the pleasure and sudden was the doom. The festival ended with a funeral. And slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. Perhaps these were the ringleaders in the lusting; they are first in the punishment. God’s justice has no respect for persons, the strong and the valiant fall as well as the weak and the mean. What they ate on earth they digested in hell, as many have done since. How soon they died, though they felt not the edge of the sword! How terrible was the havoc, though not amid the din of battle! My soul, see here the danger of gratified passions; they are the janitors of hell. When the Lord’s people hunger God loves them; Lazarus is his beloved, though he pines upon crumbs; but when he fattens the wicked he abhors them; Dives is hated of heaven when he fares sumptuously every day. We must never dare to judge men’s happiness by their tables, the heart is the place to look at. The poorest starveling believer is more to be envied than the most full-fleshed of the favorites of the world. Better be God’s dog than the devil’s darling.

Singing Psalms 78

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