SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
A psalm by Asaph.
Certainly God is good to Israel,
and to those whose motives are pure!
2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my feet almost slid out from under me.
3 For I envied those who are proud,
as I observed the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For they suffer no pain;
their bodies are strong and well-fed.
5 They are immune to the trouble common to men;
they do not suffer as other men do.
6 Arrogance is their necklace,
and violence covers them like clothing.
7 Their prosperity causes them to do wrong;
their thoughts are sinful.
8 They mock and say evil things;
they proudly threaten violence.
9 They speak as if they rule in heaven,
and lay claim to the earth.
10 Therefore they have more than enough food to eat,
and even suck up the water of the sea.
11 They say, “How does God know what we do?
Is the Most High aware of what goes on?”
12 Take a good look! This is what the wicked are like,
those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer.
13 I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure
and maintained a pure lifestyle.
14 I suffer all day long,
and am punished every morning.”
15 If I had publicized these thoughts,
I would have betrayed your people.
16 When I tried to make sense of this,
it was troubling to me.
17 Then I entered the precincts of God’s temple,
and understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Surely you put them in slippery places;
you bring them down to ruin.
19 How desolate they become in a mere moment!
Terrifying judgments make their demise complete!
20 They are like a dream after one wakes up.
O Lord, when you awake you will despise them.
21 Yes, my spirit was bitter,
and my insides felt sharp pain.
22 I was ignorant and lacked insight;
I was as senseless as an animal before you.
23 But I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me by your wise advice,
and then you will lead me to a position of honor.
25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?
I desire no one but you on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may grow weak,
but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.
27 Yes, look! Those far from you die;
you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is all I need.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
as I declare all the things you have done.