Psalm 78 Poem by Isaac Watts
The punishment of luxury and intemperance
When Israel sins, the Lord reproves
And fills their hearts with dread;
Yet He forgives the men He loves,
And sends them heav’nly bread.
He fed them with a liberal hand,
And made His treasures known;
He gave the midnight clouds command
To pour provision down.
The manna, like a morning shower,
Lay thick around their feet
The corn of Heav’n, so light, so pure,
As though ’twere angels’ meat.
But they in murmuring language said,
Manna is all our feast;
We loathe this light, this airy bread;
We must have flesh to taste.
Ye shall have flesh to please your lust,
The Lord in wrath replied,
And sent them quails like sand or dust,
Heaped up from side to side.
He gave them all their own desire,
And greedy as they fed,
His vengeance burnt with secret fire,
And smote the rebels dead.
When some were slain, the rest returned
And sought the Lord with tears;
Under the rod they feared and mourned,
But soon forgot their fears.
Oft He chastised and still forgave,
Till, by His gracious hand,
The nation He resolved to save
Possessed the promised land.
Sin punished and saints saved.
Great God, how oft did Israel prove
By turns Thine anger and Thy love?
There in a glass our hearts may see
How fickle and how false they be.
How soon the faithless Jews forgot
The dreadful wonders God had wrought!
Then they provoke Him to His face,
Nor fear His power, nor trust His grace.
The Lord consumed their years in pain,
And made their travels long and vain;
A tedious march through unknown ways
Wore out their strength, and spent their days.
Oft when they saw their brethren slain
They mourned, and sought the Lord again;
Called Him the Rock of their abode,
Their high Redeemer, and their God.
Their prayers and vows before Him rise
As flattering words or solemn lies,
While their rebellious tempers prove
False to His covenant and His love.
Yet did His sovereign grace forgive
The men who not deserved to live;
His anger oft away He turned,
Or else with gentle flame it burned.
He saw their flesh was weak and frail,
He saw temptations still prevail;
The God of Abraham loved them still,
And led them to His holy hill.