1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
Asaph is the autrhor of this psalm and many we will be studying now. Asaph was the music director in David’s kingdom, and it is obvious he studied under David just by the heart he shows in his writings. He starts out by acknowledging God is good to Israel if they have a clean heart. We have seen in previous psalms David saying that he had a clean heart and asking God to judge him righteously. This showed his confidence and the fact that he was clean of iniquity at the time. It is one thing to recognize when you have sin in your life. It is another to recognize when you are walking in an up right way with the Lord and talking to Him about that. That is not the case in this psalm
We say that Asaph is having a tough time justifying his clean heart before God because he was envious at the foolish and he saw the prosperity of the wicked. We see that today and sometimes we are envious of the foolish. It seems like they get away with everything because their strength is firm, they don’t seem to be in trouble and they’re not plagued. It’s like they’re getting away with their wicked ways. And on top of that they’re prideful and violent. And it seems like God really isn’t doing anything about it. So I get envious of them and wish I could have a life like that. They’re so free-flowing and not worried about the cares of this world. Your money can buy whatever it wants and you can have all the fun you want.
7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
But then just Asaph starts to talk about the bad side of these guys. They have more than the heart could wish, they’re corrupt and they speak wickedly and loftily, they sett their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue travels around the Earth. These guys really think there’s something – they seem to almost think they’re like gods. Have you met people like this? They have the money to do what they want so they both we go around doing just that? They can be rowdy and wicked and depressed people. They don’t acknowledge God in their lives because they made it on their own.
And they feel like they’re getting away with it. They say how does God know? The Most high doesn’t have any knowledge of what I’m doing. He doesn’t really care about me. I mean look at the shape of this world. If there was a god out there who cared he’d do something about it. Isn’t that what you hear? He doesn’t know anything. Asaph says behold those people who prosper in the world and increase and riches are ungodly
13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
14 For alltheday long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
Asaph feels like he cleanses his heart and brain and he washed his hands in innocencey to no avail. All day long he gets plagued by his enemy and chastised every morning and these rich, prideful, arrogant, violent, merciless men get away with anything they want. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it. Don’t we think that today?
And then he talks about the fact that if he will speak about their evils, he’s worried about offending the generation of their children. As we all do he’s hoping that the sins of the parent will not pass down to the children. So he doesn’t want to open his mouth. Because when he thought about that it was very painful for him. The last thing Asaph wanted to do was hurt the children
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
Then Asaph went to the house of the Lord. I’m assuming he was there for a time of worship and praise and prayer and to hear the word of God. He doesn’t really say. But when he comes out he understood how these people described previously will end up. He realizes that God set them in slippery places and He will cast them down to destruction in the end. They will be brought down in a moment. They will be consumed with terrors. When God wakes to their terribleness He will despise their image.
David talked about God waking up a couple times. Now we see Asaph use the same thought. It seems like Asaph is going through a time when it feels like God was sleeping because he wasn’t answering his prayers. I know that we’ve talked about this before but do you ever feel like God is sleeping? I do! I sometimes think God is taking a nap when I’m praying. But I know better. His word says he’s always listening and he’s always ready to hear our prayer. Jeremiah 33:3 just call on me and I will answer you. That’s all I need to know
21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
So Asaph’s heart was grieved now because he was foolish and ignorant to the fact that they were going to be taken care of. H he acknowledges that he is always with God.
Do we know that we are continually with God? And that He holds us by his right hand? He said God is always by your side ready to hear your prayer, ready to come to your aid, ready to give you strength, ready to guide you through life. There is never a moment that God is not ready to help. That is our hope and it’s found it in our faith. Our God is a god of Mercy and Grace and He is always pouring it out to us in a steady stream of love. He’s all that we have in heaven and there should be none in heaven or on earth that we desire except him
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.
Asaph says his heart and his flesh fails. I know my heart and my flesh fails without God strengthening me day by day. He is my portion. He is my deliverer. He is my helper. He is my stronghold. He is my refuge. He is my Fortress. He is my strong and mighty tower. He is my salvation. He is my Savior. He is my healing. He is my everything.
Those that are not going to walk after God will perish. They will be destroyed. But it is good for me to draw near to God. And I need to do this on a continual basis as we talked about before. We want to choose when we come close to God and when we stay far away. But God desires us to always put our trust in him. I always go back to my signature verse – Proverbs 3 5 trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. When we do this then we can fulfill verse 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him. We need to give him continual glory and declare his works all the time. Other people need to hear that God is still alive. And that God is still doing great works in our lives.