Evidently, Asaph wrote this Psalm (v1). In it, he recounts and acknowledges his temptation to envy the wicked. He saw the wicked prospering. Trouble seemed far from them. He saw the righteous distressed by affliction. In his fleshly mind, he mistakenly concluded that there was no profit in serving Christ. It makes me shudder, even now, as I write this, that such an horrid thought could be mine! But with such confessions by God’s beloved saints in His word (Ps. 38:18; Ps. 51; Rom. 7), I am emboldened to also confess that my thoughts are far worse! I don’t deserve to be on the same earth with this man (Heb. 11:38)! Nevertheless, I take this Psalm as God’s word, as my Father’s counsel, as my Savior’s comfort and as the instruction of God’s own Spirit to me, for that is what it is intended to be. It is a powerhouse of instruction and an ocean of comfort. Read it again and again, and as you read, pray what you read...
v21) The Psalmist says he was grieved in his heart and pricked in his mind, which he called his “reins”, or kidneys, as Mr. Strong explains. Pain in your organs is pain you can’t ignore. It never stops crying. This man’s envy was that pain. His old man, which he received from Adam, his “flesh”, was envious of the wicked when he saw their prosperity. That sinful flesh would not be silent. He could not silence his own envy. When our sinful thoughts rise up, tempting us to doubt and cast off and deny the truth of Christ, it greatly troubles us, so much, that it makes us ache and ill in our souls that we could be so wicked (Rom. 7:24-25; Lev. 16:29-31 - “afflict your souls”)!
v22) He admits and confesses his own foolishness. He agreed with God, that his thoughts were no more spiritual than an ignorant, stupid, spiritless beast, having no understanding of God and His truth.
v23) When he sees what he is and confesses his foolishness, the Spirit of God floods his soul with this comfort. “Nevertheless, I am continually with thee...” Oh, how many times have you and I been in the pit of despair because of our sin and foolishness, and when the Lord turns us again (Ps. 80), we find that Christ is ever with us! Though Asaph’s thoughts opposed the truth, and in so doing, opposed Christ who is the Truth (John 14:6), and the God of all truth (Ps. 31:5), nevertheless, God’s grace flooded His soul to remind him of His promise. Oh that blessed “nevertheless!” In spite of the fact that in himself he was no better than a lost, spiritually stupid beast, the Lord was with Him, and with him continually! We are saved because our God is faithful (Lam. 3:22)! “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He will never, no never, leave His own. He has said, “Not at all will I leave you; not at all will I forsake you; never” (Heb. 13:5; Deut. 31:6, LITV)!
v24) Not only comfort, but guidance and counsel are given this believing sinner! What is God’s counsel? What is His wisdom? It is Christ crucified, the preaching of the cross (1 Cor. 1:17-18, 23-24; 2:2; Acts 20:24-27)!? He is the Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3; Prov. 8:12)! He is the wonderful Counsellor (Isa. 9:6)! He is all of God’s eternal counsel, and that, to His people.
v25) The counsel of God, Christ and Him crucified, leads us to Christ Himself. The Gospel is the “Gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). It is “the testimony of God” (1 Cor. 2:1). It is the “Gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16). It concerns God’s Son, our Mediator. It concerns who He is and what He has done to fulfill the everlasting will and counsel of God to save His people to the praise of the glory of His grace (Rom. 1:3; Heb. 1:1-3; 10:7; 13:20; 2 Sam. 23:5; Eph. 1:6, 9, 11). It is not only from God, but it is about His Son. And God gave it to His Son to declare to sinners (Isa. 61:1l; 42:1-9). Christ is therefore both the Messenger and the message; "the Messenger of the covenant" of God’s everlasting grace, and the subject of the Gospel, the object of our faith (Mal. 3:1; Heb. 1:1-2; Gal. 2:20)! The Gospel is from Him. It is declared by Him. It is about Him. And He has fulfilled it by Himself alone (Heb. 1:3)! That is the the counsel of God to His adopted sons: look to Christ (John 1:29; 3:14-15)! Seeing God’s eternal love and everlasting covenant in Christ for us assures us that we have One in heaven! He is our Father. He is our Redeemer. He is our Advocate. He is our Shepherd. He is our Beloved, our Husband, our all! “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song 2:16). I have but One in heaven who is for me, and none on earth that I desire in comparison with Christ, the Son of God, the one God with the Father and the Spirit (Col. 2:9-10; John 1:1-3), the Lamb of God. What an endearing declaration from heaven this is to the heart of every sinner! What a word to take to heart and plead in prayer! What a guard in temptation, what a comfort in falling and what a support in every trial! I have One in heaven, and having Him, I need none else, for He is all (1 Cor. 3:21-23)!
v26) The Psalmist sums it all up. My experience in this life never gets beyond this: “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Ps. 73:26)! My body is failing. It’s too late to do anything about it. It has been too late since the fall (Gen. 2:17). My strength is impotence. That is the declaration of God’s own word (John 15:5; Rom. 5:6). And that is the experience of my life. But “Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Though I have no strength in myself, though this body will soon fail, though all I am in myself is a wretched man (Rom. 7:24), yet “God is the strength of my life.” He is the strength of my spirit. He is my portion forever. I need not look for things in this world. There is nothing in this world I want to take to the next, except the spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2, 10; Eph. 4:24)! I want to leave it all behind. God is my portion forever! Christ is all my inheritance. “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). This is God’s word to His people. By God-given faith, this is my comfort in life and will be my comfort in death and delight to all eternity!