In the first portion of Psalm 78, we heard the psalmist’s warning and were reminded of God’s works.
Now in Psalm 78:19-36, the psalmist describes the faithless people of God. He brought them out of Egypt and showed his power, yet, the Israelites still complained.
Their complaints made God angry, but despite their faithlessness, God heard their cries and gave them what they wanted. He did this because regardless of our faithlessness, God always remains faithful.
In verses 23-29, the psalmist is recounting God’s miraculous provision of manna and quail from Exodus 16. This is when God literally rained down manna, a type of bread, from heaven in the mornings. “It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31).
He also made quail come and cover the camp in the evenings so that there was meat to eat. Yet, “in spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe” (Psalm 78:32).
Miracles on top of miracles, and yet, they remained faithless. They complained at every turn.
However, when God began to turn on them, and they began to die, only then did they begin to believe again.
“When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues.”Psalm 78:34-36
God’s miracles did not steer them towards faith, God’s wrath did, but even then it was short-lived.
Israel’s faithlessness in times of miraculous provision and their short-lived faith in times of punishment shows that neither is enough to change the wicked heart of man. Only through God’s grace and mercy, are we able to have faith and a heart that longs for him.