Verse 40. How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness. Times enough did they rebel: they were as constant in provocation as he was in his patience. In our own case, who can count his errors? In what book could all our perverse rebellions be recorded? The wilderness was a place of manifest dependence, where the tribes were helpless without divine supplies, yet they wounded the hand which fed them while it was in the act of feeding them. Is there no likeness between us and them? Does it bring no tears into our eyes, while as in a glass, we see our own selves?
And grieve him in the desert. Their provocations had an effect; God was not insensible to them, he is said to have been grieved. His holiness could not find pleasure in their sin, his justice in their unjust treatment, or his truth in their falsehood. What must it be to grieve the Lord of love! Yet we also have vexed the Holy Spirit, and he would long ago have withdrawn himself from us, were it not that he is God and not man. We are in the desert where we need our God, let us not make it a wilderness of sin by grieving him.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 40. How oft did they provoke, etc. They provoked God at least ten times (Nu 14:2
- during the first two years of their journey through the wilderness:
- at the Red Sea ( Exodus 14:11-12 ):
- at the waters of Marah ( Exodus 15:24 ):
- in the wilderness of Sin (Ex 16:2):
- when they kept the manna until the following day ( Exodus 16:10 ):
- when the manna was collected on the Sabbath ( Exodus 16:27 ):
- in Rephidim, where there was no water ( Numbers 20:2 Numbers 20:13 ):
- at Horeb when a molten calf was made ( Exodus 22:1 &c.):
- at Taberah ( Numbers 11:1-3 ):
- when they lusted for flesh ( Numbers 11:4 ): (1
- when they murmured at the news brought by the men, who had been sent to search the land ( Numbers 14:1 , &c.) Daniel Cresswell.
Verse 40. How oft. God kept an account how oft they provoked him, though they did not, Numbers 14:22 : "They have tempted me these ten times." Matthew Henry.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS