This Psalm marks the first of 11 Psalms that are attributed to Asaph (along with Psalm 50). Asaph was one of the Levites appointed by David to lead the Israelites in singing (1 Chron. 6:39). And he presided over the singing at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple.
The Temptation 1-3
The Psalmist begins with a basic statement of faith. God is good to his people (Heb. 11:6). But then Asaph confesses how his own faith in this promise was challenged when what he saw in this life did not square with what he understood God’s promise to be. He was caught by an envy of the “peace” that the wicked seemed to have.
The Luxury of the Wicked 4-9
He describes for us now the effortless luxury of the wicked. They seem to have no fear of death. And troubles do not touch them as they do others. Note the “therefore” in verse 6. Because of this apparent ease, they become proud, wearing their arrogance like a badge. And this pride drives them to mock God and his people.
Is My Obedience in Vain? 10-14
The wicked live lives of rebellion and then mockingly asks if God even notices them. Then the righteous begin to wonder the same question. What is the point of obedience if the reward for obedience is a trial, and the reward of disobedience is prosperity? The complaint sounds very similar to that of the prodigal son’s older brother (Luke 15:29-30).
The Sudden Realization 15-20
But the faithful man catches himself and sees that he is reasoning like the ungodly man (v. 13 cf v. 11). The turn comes, however, when he goes to worship. Worship opens our eyes and gives us a different and more eternal perspective. The temptations that Asaph had wrestled with were temptations that come from having a very momentary perspective. God brings a sudden change. This is why we are regularly called to wait on the Lord.
“Nevertheless” means despite all that I see around me at this moment, I know this to be true about God. He is my portion and I trust him. He takes me by the right hand and receives me to glory.