Verse 39. For he remembered that they were but flesh. They were forgetful of God, but he was mindful of them. He knew that they were made of earthy, frail, corruptible material, and therefore he dealt leniently with them. Though in this he saw no excuse for their sin, yet he constrained it into a reason for mercy; the Lord is ever ready to discover some plea or other upon which he may have compassion.
A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. Man is but a breath, gone never to return. Spirit and wind are in this alike, so far as our humanity is concerned; they pass and cannot be recalled. What a nothing is our life. How gracious on the Lord's part to make man's insignificance an argument for staying his wrath.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 39. A wind that passeth away.
"The secret wheels of hurrying time do give
So short a warning, and so fast they drive,
That I am dead before I seem to live.
And what's a life? a weary pilgrimage,
Whose glory in one day doth fill thy stage
With childhood, manhood, and decrepid age.
And what's a life? the flourishing army
Of the proud summer meadow, which today
Wears her green plush, and is tomorrow hay.
And what's a life? a blast sustained with clothing,
Maintained with food, retained with vile self loathing,
Then weary of itself, again to nothing." Francis Quarles.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 39,35. God's memory of his people and their memory of God.