Vs. 1 states the conviction of believers that blessings have come from God;
Vs. 2-14 state the difficulty for the believer when the wicked are blessed;
Vs. 15-22 resolve the troubling conflict in faith;
Vs. 23-28 show renewed confidence in the Lord God.
Asaph was “the seer” (prophet), and with David’s words (2 Chronicles 29:30), wrote 12 Psalms (50, 73-83). When Israel was restored to their land, they were reminded of these Psalms (Nehemiah 12:46). A major stumbling-block for believers is: “Why to the wicked prosper?” This Psalm answers that question. Please re-read my study of Psalm 37.
Verse 1: The only other time this expression (“pure in heart”) is used is by Jesus (Matthew 5:8), and to “see God” (Hebrews 12:14) is to be aware of His “good” that He does (Ephesians 1:17-18).
Verses 2-14: It is a slippery slope for a believer to “envy” the “prosperity of the wicked (verses 2-3). David covered this subject (Psalm 37:1-6), Solomon echoed it (Proverbs 23:17), and Paul damned it (Galatians 5:19-21). But it appears the wicked have it easy, even in death (verse 4; Job 21:7, 13). Obviously the believer is incorrect at overlooking all the wicked who die horrible deaths (Jezebel, King Saul, Absalom, Ahithophel, Hitler, Mussolini, ad nauseum). The worldly-minded are always looking out for themselves (verse 5; Luke 16:8), while the righteous are trying to love God and man (Mark 12:29-31). Believers must take a look at the dark side of the wicked’s life: “pride” and “violence” (verse 6); covetousness (verse 7); their perverse language (verses 8-9) cannot be trusted. In the words of Edward Parry: “Their tongue walketh through the earth, and leaves nothing unspoken of. If men be poor, they talk of oppressing and mastering of them; if they oppose, they discourse of violence and suppressing… If in this perambulation they meet with truth, they darken it with lies and home made inventions; if with innocence, they brand it with false accusations and bitter aspersions; if with a strict government and good laws, then they cry, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us;’ if with religion, they term it heresy, or superstition; if with patience, they term it obstinacy and perverseness; if with the church, they think of nothing less than devouring it, and cry, ‘Let us take the houses of God in possession;’ if with the thoughts of a resurrection, and of future hopes, ‘Let us eat and drink,’ cry they, ‘for tomorrow we shall die.’ Thus no corner is left unsearched by their abusive tongue, which walks through the earth.” Even the ungodly are emboldened by this one-sided thinking, for they: drink his cup of sins (verse 10); falsely assume that God doesn’t know of their sins (verse 11); seem to have it easy and are rich (verse 12). Meanwhile, the righteous begin thinking, “Why am I knocking myself out to be right?” (verse 13), and “Why do I question the right-ness of everything I do?” (verse 14).
Verses 15-22: If the believer voiced these doubts, it could undermine the faith of others (verse 15), because just the thought of it is “too painful” for one (verse 16). The answer is found by going to church (verse 17)! When Moses built the tabernacle, God said, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). That “sanctuary” then was the gathering place for God’s People to worship God. Today, the temple of God is the church of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16), which no church building actually is (Hebrews 8:2)! Since “church” means “assembly,” THEN CHRISTIANS WHO ASSEMBLE TO HEAR BIBLE PREACHING WILL BE TAUGHT THE ANSWER TO THIS MOST TROUBLING QUESTION! Bible lessons include the destruction of the wicked (verses 18-20), and the foolishness and ignorance of believers who forget these lessons (verses 21-22)!
Verses 23-28: The believer must resolve to be led by faith (verse 23) and saved by God (verse 24). Faith revolves around these truths: (1) God is faithful in Heaven (verse 25; 2 Corinthians 1:18); (2) we must be faithful on earth (verse 26; 2 Timothy 2:11-13); (3) God destroys those who “desert” Him (verse 27; Proverbs 13:9; Matthew 7:21-23); (4) our lives are best when we “draw near to God” (verse 28; James 4:7-8).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.