Verse 8. Harden not your heart. If ye will hear, learn to fear also. The sea and the land obey him, do not prove more obstinate than they!
"Yield to his love who round you now
The bands of a man would east."
We cannot soften our hearts, but we can harden them, and the consequences will be fatal. Today is too good a day to be profaned by the hardening of our hearts against our own mercies. While mercy reigns let not obduracy rebel. "As in the provocations, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness" (or, "like Meribah, like the day of Massah in the wilderness"). Be not wilfully, wantonly, repeatedly, obstinately rebellious. Let the example of that unhappy generation serve as a beacon to you; do not repeat the offences which have already more than enough provoked the Lord. God remembers men's sins, and the more memorably so when they are committed by a favoured people, against frequent warnings, in defiance of terrible judgments, and in the midst of superlative mercies; such sins write their record in marble. Reader, this verse is for you, for you even if you can say, "He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture." Do not seek to turn aside the edge of the warning; thou hast good need of it, give good heed to it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. Harden not your hearts. An old man, one day taking a child on his knee, entreated him to seek God now -- to pray to him, and to love him; when the child, looking up at him, asked, "But why do not you seek God?" The old man, deeply affected, answered, "I would, child; but my heart is hard -- my heart is hard." -- Arvine's Anecdotes.
Verse 8. Harden not your heart. -- Heart is ascribed to reasonable creatures, to signify sometimes the whole soul, and sometimes the several faculties appertaining to the soul.
- It is frequently put for the whole soul, and that for the most part when it is set alone; as where it is said, "Serve the Lord with all your heart", 1 Samuel 7:20 .
- For that principal part of the soul which is called the mind or understanding. "I gave my heart to know wisdom", Ecclesiastes 1:17 . In this respect darkness and blindness are attributed to the heart, Ephesians 6:18 , Romans 1:21 .
- For the will: as when heart and soul are joined together, the two essential faculties of the soul are meant, namely, the mind and will: soul put for the mind, heart for the will "Serve the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul", Deuteronomy 6:13 .
- For the memory. "I have hid thy word in my heart", saith the prophet, Psalms 119:11 . The memory is that faculty wherein matters are laid up and hid.
- For the conscience. It is said that "David's heart smote him", that is, his conscience, 1 Samuel 24:5 2 Samuel 24:10 . Thus is heart taken, 1 John 3:20-21 .
- For the affections: as where it is said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind", Matthew 22:37 . By the mind is meant the understanding faculty; by the soul, the will; by the heart, the affections.
Here in this text the heart is put for the whole soul, even for mind, will, and affections. For blindness of mind, stubbornness of will, and stupidity of affections go together. -- William Gouge.
Verse 8. In Massah -- in Meribah. Our translators say, in the provocation, in the day of temptation. But the places were denominated by names taken from the transactions that occurred in them; and the introduction of those names gives more liveliness to the allusion. See to the same effect Psalms 81:7 ; where the Bible translation retains the proper name. --Richard Mant.
Verse 8. Let us not fail to notice, that while it is the flock who speak in Psalms 95:1-7 , it is the Shepherd who takes up their expostulating words, and urges them home himself at Psalms 95:8 , to the end, using the argument which by the Holy Ghost is addressed to us also in Hebrews 3:7-19 . There is something very powerful in this expostulation, when connected with the circumstances that give rise to it. In themselves, the burst of adoring love, and the full out pouring of affection in Psalms 95:1-7 are irresistibly persuasive; but when ( Psalms 95:8 ) the voice of the Lord himself is heard (such a voice, using terms of vehement entreaty!) we cannot imagine expostulation carried further. Unbelief alone could resist this voice; blind, malignant unbelief alone could repel The flock, and then the Shepherd, inviting men now to enter the fold. --Andrew A. Bonar.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Israel's fearful experiment in tempting God.
- The awful result.
- Let it not be tried again.