Psalm 16: Pleasures Forevermore
January 16, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
David is asking to be saved, or for his life to be “preserved.” He senses the need of rescue. Perhaps he is in some dire situation or other. Perhaps he is overwhelmed with responsibility and feels as if the burden is about to kill him. Perhaps there are enemies of God and God’s kingdom who are banding together against him.
At any rate, he asks God to preserve his life, to save him from death. Perhaps you are in such a predicament today. You have met a situation or circumstance which is beyond your ability to solve, and you, quite frankly, need help. You are even reading this devotional this morning because you are looking for such help from God. On what basis can you ask God to “preserve” your life?
David shows us the kind of relationship with God we need so that we can confidently expect God to answer our prayer for our life to be “preserved”—and also what the delicious and delightful fruit is of that relationship with God. David asks God to preserve his life because of his relationship with God, his relationship to God’s people, and his uncompromising avoidance of idolatry.
His relationship with God means he is trusting God: “for in you I take refuge” (16:1). There is no point asking God for help if at the same time we are rejecting God. But David is taking refuge in God, trusting God, is a part of the covenant of God. In fact, he is “all in.” “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’” David is banking everything on God. He is the One in whom David finds all his good. And without God he has nothing good at all. What is more, David is no loner.
He is committed not only to God, but also to his relationship to God’s people. He delights in the “saints in the land” (16:3); that is, those who are following God in truth and righteousness. In him is “all his delight.” He does not sneer at them, keep a distance from them, or rarely go to church. He is all in with God’s people too. And naturally enough, therefore, by contrast, he has seen through the smoke and mirrors of those who follow after other so-called gods.
He is uncompromising in his avoidance of their idolatry, their “drink offerings” (16:4). So he is committed to his relationship with God, he is committed to his relationship with God’s people, and, what is more, he is committed to avoiding being compromised by those who oppose God. Because of this kind of relationship with God, David therefore enjoys the fruit of such “refuge in God.” He is content. “The LORD is my chosen portion and cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (16:5-6).
David is not chasing after the winnings of gambling and the lottery; his lot is God. David is not constantly fearing that he has missed out on life. Life, for David, is God; and he has God! This is a “beautiful inheritance.” David would certainly not be arguing with his siblings over the last will and testament of their parents! He has God! What or who else does he need? Nothing! He has everything already.
He is content. He is secure. The LORD gives him “counsel,” and so even at night his “heart instructs him” (16:7). He is not floundering around wondering what to do. He is committed to God, and the wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord is increasingly his instinct and his intuition. Because he has “set the Lord always before” him, because he is focused on pleasing God, he knows that he “shall not be shaken” (16:8). He who has the Lord for his friend need fear having no one else as his enemy.
He is joyful. His “heart is glad.” His “whole being rejoices” (16:9). Why? He knows where he is going. He will not be abandoned to the grave; ultimately, even his “flesh” will not see corruption. David here, the apostle Paul later tells us, ultimately prophesies of the resurrection of the Christ (see Acts 13:35). The resurrection of Christ is how God will accomplish that of which even David in the Old Testament spoke: He will not be abandoned to “Sheol” (16:10).
And then, to summarize, in one of the most majestic verses of the Bible, David lays out his experience and his argument that God is best of all:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (16:11).
Perhaps you are in a predicament today. Would you ask God to preserve your life? For if you have David’s kind of relationship with God, you can have this kind of delightful fruit. Content. Secure. Joyful. And eternally, pleasures forevermore.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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