February 12, 2023

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

This is a beautiful psalm of trust.  David speaks of God's attributes as a refuge and provider and names the many good things God has provided and will provide for him because he belongs to God.  I feel like it wouldn't hurt to memorize this one!

At the writing of this psalm, David needs (as many of the psalms have demonstrated through Psalm 16) protection from his enemies.  King Saul wants him dead.  But he knows that he is God's anointed, chosen to be the next king of Israel.  This psalm is an expression of trust in him and in praise of who God is and what he does and will do.  Knowing God has and will keep him safe, is his portion and his cup, and is always present with him not only gives David personal confidence and security; it impacts how he relates to others, to idols, even to death.  And the tone of the psalm is joy and praise.  David delights in God's people, forsakes all other gods, and proclaims that it is God who has set him up, continues to direct him, and will keep him from being shaken.

Because of all of the truth he knows about God, David also responds from within his very being, trusting the Lord with his death as much as his life.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure.

In fact, without knowing it (I assume) his subsequent words are picked up by the apostles in Acts as prophesy of how God did not let Jesus' body see decay but raised him from the dead!

David responds to knowledge of and relationship with God in his living and being.  On display for us here is a picture of the shalom that God established for the world at creation, and that all of creation presently longs to have restored.  Shalom is not a simple absence-of-war peace, but rather a flourishing and well-being to the core for all of creation and for each individual.  We find it only in God and surrender to his authority and care.  David says it this way:

I say to the LORD, "You are my LORD;
apart from you I have no good thing.

Friends, we walk with, know, and have been chosen, redeemed, adopted, and made righteous by the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David!  Shalom, though not yet in its fullness on earth, is ours in Christ!  To me, the only logical question in response to reading a psalm like this is

Will we join David in expressing trust in God today?

Will we let our hearts be glad in God, despite enemy assault; will we declare the praises of God who has called us out of darkness and into his wonderful light; will we walk in the paths of life he has shown us; will we praise him with our words and in relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith? 

Oh, let's!  We belong to God!

Turning our minds and hearts back to what is true, then saying it out loud, truly will make our hearts glad and loosen our tongues to rejoice.  It doesn't mean the hard will go away automatically or perhaps ever in this life, but we know our Creator-King God knows and is in it with us with the love and power each situation requires.

The boundary lines have fallen for [us] in pleasant places;
surely, [we] have a delightful inheritance.

My dear siblings in Christ, God is keeping us safe.  He is our refuge.  He is our portion.  He is our cup.  
We have a delightful inheritance.  God is faithful to his people in life and in death.  Let us join our brother, King David, and keep our eyes always on the Lord. 


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