Yes, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
I. This is the crime of IDOLATRY AND HEATHENISM. Let us beware how we create an image of God in our minds, dishonourable to Him, and, by its limitation to our poor faculty, become the means of limiting the Holy One of Israel.
II. Idolatry is the growth of a seed deeper than itself, and that seed is SIN. Sin limits the Holy One of Israel: the corrupt influence in the mind — in the heart, the perverted imagination, the perverted will. Sin closes the avenues by which God enters the human soul, and narrows the Divine Being in the conception. How dreadful does it seem, that man should build for himself a prison in which he shelters himself from the Almighty! Here at least the Almighty cannot come, hither He cannot penetrate; into the malignity of this heart, into the impurity of the world, He cannot descend.
III. By UNBELIEF, OR DOUBT, we limit the Holy One of Israel. Doubt is constantly taking the circumference of God with the compasses of man, and measuring His movements by earthly moths. rustics, and estimating His force and His ages by our notations and mechanics. How frequently men, Christian men, walk amidst the very mysteries and eternities of Godhead only to limit the Holy One of Israel. You talk of the boundlessness of His being — they run to and fro with a measuring line to take the dimensions of it. They limit the Holy One of Israel.
IV. There is a disposition in some philosophers to limit the Holy One of Israel even in the OPERATIONS OF NATURE. "Night," it has been eloquently said, "has had three daughters, Religion, Superstition, and Atheism." The firstborn, the eldest and loveliest, is Religion; it is through her guiding that all the "stars are heard to sing together," and it is her voice which proclaims, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmaments show His handiwork." But Superstition was early born of the visions of the night; she named the Zodiac — she named the longest known of the planets — she hung over them the veil of fate, and made them the arbitrary mistresses and ministers of Destiny. But these latter ages have given birth to the third daughter of the dark hours — Atheism.
(E. P. Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.