Reflections on Psalm 16
Reflections on Psalm 16
A Mikhtam of David.
Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good besides You."
As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, nor will I take their names upon my lips.
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support and maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my mind (reins) instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol (the grave); nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay (corruption).
You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
(New American Standard Bible)
psalm begins with a prayer (which is a cry of faith) that God should
preserve him. David's mikhtam (a technical term whose meaning is not fully known) shows that he has full assurance in God and completely trusts in Him. (May we also learn to trust in the Lord Jesus in the same way!)
There are eight clear assertions of faith regarding the LORD. The LORD (Jehovah) of the Old Testament is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, though sometimes Jehovah seems to refer to God the Father. This is one of the mysteries of the Trinity.
First, the psalmist declares that the LORD is his Lord, 16:2. So also those who are born-again and have become the children of God should declare, 'The Lord Jesus Christ is my personal Saviour and Lord.'
Then, he categorically states that he has no goodness apart from Him, 16:2b. So Paul in Rom 7.18 confesses: 'There is nothing good in me.' Paul goes on to cry out, 'O wretched man that I am!' We need to perceive our wretchedness apart from Jesus Christ. He is our goodness; there in none good except God. And, remember, Jesus is God! He lives in our heart through the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, the psalmist declares that God's people are his delight, 16:3. He not only delights in the Lord, but he delights in the fellowship of God's people; what the Old Testament calls the assembly of the righteous, the congregation of the saints; and what the New Testament reveals as the church. Clearly he does not associate with worldly people; he separates himself from the ungodly (unbelievers). He affirms that the saints are 'majestic ones' ('excellent', KJV) - good, noble and upright. He clings to the Lord and hates idols. He will worship none other than Jesus Christ. He will not take the names of other gods on his lips, 16:4. Alas, in our churches in Asia we find so-called Christians having the names of heathen gods. Even after baptism they carry their old heathen names, because they want to be accepted by the world. They do not separate themselves from world, but are still influenced by the world and follow worldly customs and ideas.Let us be frank! many do not take Christian or Bible names, because they are ashamed of Christ!
Fourthly, the psalmist says that the Lord is his inheritance, 16:5-6. He has no portion in this world. His inheritance, like the inheritance of the Levite in the Old Testament, is the Lord Himself. The Lord is his 'cup'; which means, his delight and satisfaction is from the Lord. He loves to abide in the Lord, to dwell in the heavenly places and feed on the Lord's faithfulness. He knows there are spiritual realms above, for the Lord has set him high upon a rock. Like Abraham he leaves the valley (with the attractions of Sodom) and journeys to dwell in the heights of Hebron. Sadly, many (unlike Abraham) are satisfied with material blessings and position, prominence and popularity in this perishing world.
Fifthly, he praises the Lord for His counsel and guidance, 16:7. [Read also Psalm 32.8, Isa 28.29]. He experiences the leading of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the word of God. As he meditates upon God during the silence of the night, the Lord instructs him in his reins [inner man] - just as we today are instructed by the Holy Spirit in our quiet time. He keeps his eyes upon the Lord, 16:8, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith.
Sixthly, he is secure, 16:8b. The Lord is at his side, at his right hand; he shall not be moved. As Psalm 121 says, the Lord is his keeper; the Lord is his shade upon his right hand. Not only is he safe in his spirit, but his flesh [his body] is secure. The Lord's angels are guarding him. He is fully protected because he is in the hands of the Lord.
Seventhly, he has the unshakeable hope of resurrection, 16:9-10. His flesh shall rest in hope; meaning to say, that though he die and his body is eaten by worms, yet he shall rise again. The Lord declared: 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.' John 11:25. As the Lord rose again on the third day, so we will rise again. 'O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?' 1 Cor 15.55. Death has no hold over us, for we have eternal life.
In this verse, 16:10, we see a Messianic reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. 'Thou wilt not suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.' Yes, our Lord rose again the third day. Peter in his sermon on the day of Pentecost declared about the Lord Jesus that 'His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption', Acts 2:31.
Eighthly and lastly, we have the blessed hope that one day we shall see Jesus face to face. We shall dwell in His presence, and experience the fullness of joy. 'Eye has not seen, nor ear has heard, nor has it entered the heart of man, to know the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.' 1 Cor 2.9. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. At His right hand, there are pleasures forevermore.
© Roland Oliver/Pratonix