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 LordWith 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.

As I look at verse five, I can not help but look back to the Luke 22: 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”. Are we able to pray the same prayer as our Lord prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane?   We can, once we realized that God has made our lot secure. As I travel this journey that the Lord has prepared for me I must look to these verses as coming from the heart and life of King David. For as he wrote of Christ in his psalms he also wrote words that can help us develop a closer walk with God.

This psalms helps us realized that God is our refuge and our delight. He does assign to us our portion in life and the cup we are to bear. Again we are warned in this psalm not to follow after other Gods, or those who seek fellowship with those who follow other gods. God counsels us and instructs us day and night. As long as we seek him in his word we will know he will lead us in the right path. Surely the grave is not our destiny, but being in his presence with eternal pleasures.

As you read this psalm take a look at your epistemology. Ask yourself this question “What is knowledge?”. Verse eleven points out the fact that the psalmist realized that his knowledge came from God and it is God who has made known to him the path of life. This is the knowledge that the psalmist describes in Psalm One.  When one start studying epistemology the first two questions that must be answered are: what is knowledge and how is knowledge acquired.  To the psalmist (as we will see in Psalm nineteen) knowledge is the work of God’s hand.  By studying nature knowledge is revealed to us.  However to acquire knowledge God has given to us  his written Word (law, statutes, precepts, commands, and ordinances) to understand his creation. 

Verse ten “because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay” was used by Peter in Act 2:27 in his message on the day of Pentecost as verses that David referred to the suffering and resurrection of Christ.

In verse eleven David writes “You have made known to me the path of life”. As I grow in my faith daily I realize that it is God who seeks after me and not me seeking God. We have a way of wanting to stray away from God, but in his loving kindness he brings us back to him. As we travel along on our journey here on earth we like the Psalmist must realize that God is the shepherd that guides us along this path of life. As we walk along this path we can have joy, but this joy is in knowing that God’s presence is with us. This psalm illustrates our walk on earth with God. Let each verse speak to you as it did to David. Remember each person’s walk with God is unique, however they all share the characteristics of the walk that this psalm describes.

As I was reading this week The Faith of George W. Bush by Stephen Mansfield I could not help but see verse eleven play out in his life.  Stephen Mansfield gives us the great foundations of George W Bush’s faith by devoting the first two chapters on the faith of his parents and grandparents.  Just as Paul praises the unfeigned faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and then in your mother Eunice Stephen Mansfield gives the same praise to George W Bush’s parents and grandparents.  Yet his way of  living his faith was different.  His statement at the end of chapter two about how George W Bush’s  faith was acquired reveals a lot about how he lives out his faith.

“But the day will come when all of the faith that has been planted in him – from childhood prayers to Presbyterian creeds, from small-town Christian culture to the Christ known in an Episcopal service – will flower to become the ruling principle of his life.  But it is the desert he will know before this flowering that will make it all the sweeter when it comes.”

As I study the psalms as well as the lives of the great heroes of faith both from the Bible and those that have lived from early church history to the present I can see a common thread that they all have shared.  That thread is a desert experience, a time when their faith was tested and God did not seem to be present.  It is in times like these that all believers must pray a psalm like this psalm to give us strength to get through our desert experience