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.
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 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.
Verse 36. Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth. Bad were they at their best. False on their knees, liars in their prayers. Mouth worship must be very detestable to God when dissociated from the heart: other kings love flattery, but the King of kings abhors it. Since the sharpest afflictions only extort from carnal men a feigned submission to God, there is proof positive that the heart is desperately set on mischief, and that sin is ingrained in our very nature. If you beat a tiger with many stripes you cannot turn him into a sheep. The devil cannot be whipped out of human nature, though another devil, namely, hypocrisy may be whipped into it. Piety produced by the damps of sorrow and the heats of terror is of mushroom growth; it is rapid in its springing up—”they enquired early after God”—but it is a mere unsubstantial fungus of unabiding excitement. And they lied unto him with their tongues. Their godly speech was cant, their praise mere wind, their prayer a fraud. Their skin-deep repentance was a film too thin to conceal the deadly wound of sin. This teaches us to place small reliance upon professions of repentance made by dying men, or upon such even when the basis is evidently slavish fear, and nothing more. Any thief will whine out repentance if he thinks the judge will thereby be moved to let him go scot-free.
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