Verse 13. They soon forgat his works. They seemed in a hurry to get the Lord's mercies out of their memories; they hasted to be ungrateful.
They waited not for his counsel, neither waiting for the word of command or promise; eager to have their own way, and prone to trust in themselves. This is a common fault in the Lord's family to this day; we are long in learning to wait for the Lord, and upon the Lord. With him is counsel and strength, but we are vain enough to look for these to ourselves, and therefore we grievously err.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. They soon forgat his works. They forgat, yea, "soon"; they made haste to forget, so the original is: "They made haste, they forgat." Like men that in sleep shake Death by the hand, but when they are awake they will not know him. --Thomas Adams.
Verse 13. How may we know that we are rightly thankful? When we are careful to register God's mercy, 1 Chronicles 16:4 : "David appointed certain of the Levites, to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel." Physicians say the memory is the first thing that decays; it is true in spirituals: "They soon forgat his works." --Thomas Watson.
Verse 13. They soon forgat. As it is with a sieve or boulter, the good corn and fine flour goes through, but the light chaff and coarse bran remains behind; or as a strainer, that the sweet liquor is strained out, but the dregs are left behind: or as a grate, that lets the pure water run away, but if there be any straws, sticks, mud, or filth, that it holds. Thus it is with most men's memories; by nature they are but, as it were, pertusa dolia, mere river tubs, especially in good things very treacherous, so that the vain conceits of men are apt to be held in, when divine instructions and gracious promises run through; trifles and toys, and worldly things, they are apt to remember, tenacious enough; but for spiritual things they leak out; like Israel, they soon forget them. --William Gouge.
Verse 13. They soon forgat his works. Three days afterwards, at the waters of Marah (Ex 15:24). --Adam Clarke.
Verse 13. They waited not. The insatiable nature of our desires is astonishing, in that scarcely a single day is allowed to God to gratify them. For should he not immediately satisfy them, we at once become impatient, and are in danger of eventually falling into despair. This, then, was the fault of the people, that they did not cast all their cares upon God, did not calmly call upon him, nor wait patiently until he was pleased to answer their requests, but rushed forward with reckless precipitation, as if they would dictate to God what he was to do. And, therefore, to heighten the criminality of their rash course, he employs the term counsel; because men will neither allow God to be possessed of wisdom, nor do they deem it proper to depend upon his counsel, but are more provident than becomes them, and would rather rule God than allow themselves to be ruled by him according to his pleasure. That we may be preserved from provoking God, let us ever retain this principle, That it is our duty to let him provide for us such things as he knows will be for our advantage. And verily, faith divesting us of our own wisdom, enables us hopefully and quietly to wait until God accomplishes his own work; whereas, on the contrary, our carnal desire always goes before the counsel of God, by its too great haste. - -John Calvin.
Verse 13. They waited not. They ought to have thought, that so great works of God towards themselves were not without a purpose, but that they invited them to some endless happiness, which was to be waited for with patience; but they hastened to make themselves happy with temporal things, which give no man true happiness, because they do not quench insatiable longing: "for whosoever", saith our Lord, "shall drink of this water, shall thirst again." John 4:13 . --Augustine.
Verse 13. They waited not for his counsel. Which neglect of theirs may be understood two ways. First, that they waited not for his open or declared counsel, to direct them what to do, but without asking his advice would needs venture and run on upon their own heads, to do what seemed good in their own eyes. Secondly, that they waited not for the accomplishment of his hidden and secret counsel concerning them; they would not tarry God's time for the bringing forth and bringing about his counsels. Not to wait upon God either way is very sinful. Not to wait for his counsel to direct us what to do, and not to wait for his doing or fulfilling his own counsel, argues at once a proud and an impatient spirit; in the one, men so even slight the wisdom of God, and in the other vainly presume and attempt to prevent his providence. --Joseph Caryl.
Verse 13. They waited not for his counsel. A believer acting his faith, hath great advantage of an unbeliever. An unbeliever is froward and passionate, and heady and hasty, when he is put to plunge; he waits not for the counsel of God. He leaps before he looks, before he hath eyes to see his way; but a believer is quiet and confident, and silent and patient, and prayerful, and standing upon his watch tower, to see what God will answer at such a time. --Matthew Lawrence, in "The Use and Practice of Faith", 1657.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Mercies are sooner forgotten than trials: "They soon forgat", etc. We write our afflictions on marble, our mercies upon sand.
- We should wait for God, as well as upon God: "They waited not", etc.
- Immoderate desire for what we have not of worldly goods, tempts God to deprive us of what we have: Psalms 106:14 .
- Prayer may be answered for evil as well as for good: "He gave them their request", then smote them with a plague.
- Carnal indulgence is inimical to spiritual mindedness: Psalms 106:15 . Better have a lean body and healthy soul, than a healthy body and leanness of soul. "Poor in this world, rich in faith." There are few of whom it can be said," I wish thou mayest prosper and be in health", etc. (3Jo 2). --G.R.