An Asaph Psalm
11-5 No doubt about it! God is good—
good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
looking up to the people
At the top,
envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
not a care in the whole wide world.
6-10 Pretentious with arrogance,
they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,
decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;
they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,
loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words.
11-14 What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?
Nobody’s tending the store.
The wicked get by with everything;
they have it made, piling up riches.
I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;
what has it gotten me?
A long run of bad luck, that’s what—
a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.
15-20 If I’d have given in and talked like this,
I would have betrayed your dear children.
Still, when I tried to figure it out,
all I got was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture:
The slippery road you’ve put them on,
with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In the blink of an eye, disaster!
A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!
We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing.
There’s nothing to them. And there never was.
21-24 When I was beleaguered and bitter,
totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox
in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence,
but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,
and then you bless me.
25-28 You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—
oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
God, I’m telling the world what you do!
The End of the Wicked Contrasted with That of the Righteous.
A Psalm of Asaph.
1Truly God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death,
Their body is fat and pampered.
They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment [like a long, luxurious robe].
Their eye bulges from fatness [they have more than the heart desires];
The imaginations of their mind run riot [with foolishness].
They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak loftily [with malice].
They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue swaggers through the earth.
Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance [offered by the irreverent] are [blindly] drunk by them.
They say, “How does God know?
Is there knowledge [of us] with the Most High?”
Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who always prosper and are at ease [in the world]; they have increased in wealth.
Surely then in vain I have cleansed my heart
And washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long have I been stricken,
And punished every morning.
If I had said, “I will say this,” [and expressed my feelings],
I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
When I considered how to understand this,
It was too great an effort for me and too painful
Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood [for I considered] their end.
Surely You set the wicked-minded and immoral on slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are completely swept away by sudden terrors!
Like a dream [which seems real] until one awakens,
O Lord, when stirred, [You observe the wicked], You will despise their image.
When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within [as with the fang of an adder],
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to honor and glory.
Whom have I in heaven [but You]?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the rock and strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful and have abandoned You.
But as for me, it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge and placed my trust in Him,
That I may tell of all Your works.