Verse 11. Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. There can be no rest to an unbelieving heart. If manna and miracles could not satisfy Israel, neither would they have been content with the land which flowed with milk and honey. Canaan was to be the typical resting place of God, where his ark should abide, and the ordinances of religion should be established; the Lord had for forty years borne with the ill manners of the generation which came out of Egypt, and it was but right that he should resolve to have no more of them. Was it not enough that they had revolted all along that marvellous wilderness march? Should they be allowed to make new Messahs and Meribahs in the Promised Land itself? Jehovah would not have it so. He not only said but swore that into his rest they should not come, and that oath excluded every one of them; their carcases fell in the wilderness. Solemn warning this to all who leave the way of faith for paths of petulant murmuring and mistrust. The rebels of old could not enter in because of unbelief, "let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should even seem to come short of it." One blessed inference from this psalm must not be forgotten. It is clear that there is a rest of God, and that some must enter into it: but "they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief, there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." The unbelievers could not enter, but "we which have believed do enter into rest." Let us enjoy it, and praise the Lord for it for ever. Ours is the true Sabbatic rest, it is ours to rest from out own works as God did from his. While we do so, let us "come into his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 11. The word swearing is very significant, and seems to import these two things. First, the certainty of the sentence here pronounced. Every word of God both is, and must be truth; but ratified by an oath, it is truth with an advantage. It is signed irrevocable. This fixes it like the laws of the Medes and Persians, beyond all possibility of alteration and makes God's word, like his very nature, unchangeable. Secondly, it imports the terror of the sentence. If the children of Israel could say, "Let not God speak to us, lest we die, what would they have said had God then sworn against them?" It is terrible to hear an oath from the mouth but of a poor mortal, but from the mouth of an omnipotent God, it does not only terrify, but confound. An oath from God is truth delivered in anger; truth, as I may so speak, with a vengeance. When God speaks, it is the creature's duty to hear; but when he swears, to tremble. --Robert South.
Verse 11. That they should not enter into my rest. There is something unusual and abrupt in the conclusion of this psalm, without any cheering prospect to relieve the threatening. This may be best explained by assuming, that it was not meant to stand alone, but to form one of a series. --J.A. Alexander.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 11. The fatal moment of the giving up of a soul, how it may be hastened, what are the signs of it, and what are the terrible results.
Verse 10-11. The kindling, increasing, and full force of divine anger, and its dreadful results.