Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant.” (Psalm 78:37, ESV)

This comment is about the generation of the Exodus which becomes in the rest of the Bible the fundamental metaphor for unfaithfulness to the Lord.  The psalmist lists two reasons that the Exodus generation failed in their commitment to the Lord:

  1. There heart was not steadfast toward him. The word translated “steadfast” can also be translated “loyal,” so the people were not devoted to the Lord with unwavering focus and commitment.  They built the golden calf; they murmured and complained when they had no water; and they complained when all they had to eat was manna.

    The obvious application point for we who read these events now is that we must be steadfast in our commitment to the Lord.  This does not mean perfect and sinless, it does mean that when we sin we quickly turn back to the Lord and confess it and he is faithful to forgive us.

  2. They were not faithful to his covenant. God was faithful to his covenant because he cannot be anything but faithful to his covenant.  The people of the Exodus, in contrast, were unfaithful to the covenant that they were in with God. They pursued and worshiped other gods; they complained that Moses was the one intercessor who spoke directly with God; and some even rebelled against God.

    What does it mean to be faithful to our God in the commitment that we have made to him?  It means that we value God above and beyond all other things; it means that we pursue God first and foremost, and that he is the aim and purpose of our lives. This is a difficult and humbling truth because I find that I’m always prone to drifting away from God and pursuing created things rather than the One who created them.