Read Psalm 16
A miktam of David.
1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 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.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 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.
We are made for life with God. Without God’s presence in our lives, we have an insatiable desire in our hearts for more. It might be more money, more pleasure, or more comfort; whatever it is, we think it will satisfy but it never does. We’ll always need more apart from God because our needs aren’t met apart from Him. But in this psalm we get to see what life lived with God looks like. Since David was a king, he could get whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. All he had to do was snap his fingers and he would be given anything he desired. But in this moment, as he surveyed all he had, he realized that he truly didn’t want anything other than God. Indeed apart from God, he had no good thing (v. 2).
David isn’t the only one who felt this way. In John 6 after a hard teaching, many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and stopped following Him. Jesus then turned to His closest friends and asked if they were going to leave Him too. Peter replied to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68). Peter couldn’t fathom leaving Jesus for anything else because in Jesus was life itself. Apart from Jesus, Peter had no good thing.
This is the story of following God. The more you live with Him, the more you realize He is all you need. You don’t need all that this world is trying to throw at you. All of those things are just temporary pleasures– they won’t ever satisfy. The deepest joys and the greatest comforts will only be found in God. Your heart will only find rest when you give it to the One it was made for.
- What stood out to you about how David speaks about God in this chapter?
- Which verse in this passage do you most connect with?
- What distracts you from God on a daily basis?
By the way
This psalm is often called a Messianic psalm because it is quoted in the New Testament as referring to the resurrection of Jesus. Both Peter and Paul quoted Psalm 16 when speaking of the resurrection (Acts 2:25-28; 13:35-37).
1 thought on “Psalm 16”
David demonstrates what it looks like to follow hard after God. He knows protection and refuge are in no other but God. He observes the righteous ones in the land and delights in them, but acknowledges the sorrows of those who have turned away from the one true God. All are given a choice of where allegiance lies. David choses the faithfulness of God, secure in that his present and future life is held in the capable, loving hands of God. David found the secret to contentment and great joy, and we can, too. Through Christ’s completed work on the Cross we can confidently have strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, no matter what we face. As the words of the hymn Thomas Chisholm penned proclaim, “All I have needed thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.” Best of all we get his presence, that’s worth celebrating!