17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.
20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
Siffleur Falls and Canyon come to mind when reading this portion of Psalm 77. One side of the canyon is a sheer, jagged drop while the other is a smooth slope. The mist from the falls and churning river below keep the sloped side moist and very slippery. The hike up to the falls features danger signs about standing too close to the slippery slope. Some have actually died from foolishly stepping too far out on the slope only to be swept into the icy rapids below.
From his new perspective, Asaph sees the ease, wealth, comfort, good health, and security of the ungodly are clearly temporary. A life of worldliness is its own undoing; it contains the seeds of its own destruction. Gradually, then suddenly, the ungodly will be faced with the emptiness and consequences of their life’s pursuits
Asaph had no reason to envy the ungodly. Ironically, their prosperity would contribute to their downfall.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is my portion forever.
This psalm puts the spotlight on the struggles believers have concerning disparity of lifestyle. After all, shouldn’t it make sense that the godly should enjoy life while the ungodly should go with less!? To persist in trusting God when the ungodly prosper is a maturing test of faith. In those times, the believer can struggle with envy, futility, and weariness (c.f. Psalm 73).
Asaph’s renewal underscores the importance of regularly placing yourself in the path of God’s influence, especially in times of great doubt. The mature understand, albeit with difficulty, that the immediate benefits of the “good life” the ungodly live will come at the price of the eternal “better life” with God. Oh, what a challenge these times can be!
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:17-18)