The Book of Psalms Chapter Sixteen Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
He Is With You
Verse 1: "Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You." This Psalm, as most, or perhaps all of them were, was a song of Israel. It's the expression of the author David's heart, and it is also a prophecy, revealing the Lord's love for us. A "miktam," which described this Psalm to its contemporary hearers, was likely a form of music such as we identify today in the waltz, bollywood, gospel or some kind of jazz as types of music. In this first verse, we see into the heart of David, who had come to recognize his need of the Lord, as all of us should. There have been attempts through the centuries to create places of sanctuary in this world, including church buildings. Such attempts can outwardly fail because enemies have a way of breaching the walls of the safest places, eliminating hopes for a nice tomorrow. But God has a better way. Your hope for true "refuge" can only be realized in and through the Lord. He will "preserve" you like no one else can. Note also that God saves the ESSENTIAL YOU, which may or may not include your physical body in certain situations. What happens is more than just about you, and it's more than just saving your physical being. And whatever you may lose in this life, in eternity you will receive—everything. We can take "refuge" in our Lord, for He will "preserve" us in perfect safety—forever.
Verse 2: "I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.'" David was the lord, the king of Israel, and unlike the typical kings of mankind's history, he recognized that his kingship was simply a thing of this world—he knew that HE had a Lord, who was and is the true King of Glory. We can see even more in Psalm 110:1, where David begins, "The Lord said to my Lord..." He knew what many fail to understand—that the Father has a Son and both of them are the Lord, God of not only Israel, but all humanity. Additionally, though David had many problems and a lot of adversaries, he also clearly understood that the Lord is "good." David was not good and he knew it; certainly he was aware that his efforts to please God fell short. The Lord is utterly GOOD, beyond our ability to comprehend such a Being, which is why we praise Him. He is much more than we know, and He is wonderful.
Verse 3: "As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight." The better translation for the beginning of this verse is, "It is FOR the saints..." Every blessing that has come upon Israel is for the benefit of those who look to the Lord and trust in Him. A similar truth exists for all nations... God is continually looking out for those who trust in God... such people are His "delight," called "majestic ones" in some translations and "excellent ones" in others. It is excellent to have faith in the Lord. The kingship of David was God's gift, to David, but especially to the nation. They had the right king and so do we—His Name is Jesus the Christ.
Verse 4: "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." We all look to something or someone to complete our lives, whether it's an actual idol, money, drugs, some person of interest, a position, title or whatever. Idolatry is all around us, but we so often don't recognize it for what it is. The "sorrows" of this life can come when God is using difficult circumstances to heal us of the idolatry that we so easily fall into. What (or who) are you giving up your life for? Are you bartering away what you are supposed to be, in exchange for that which has no eternal value? Look to the Lord. He will save you.
Verse 5: "The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot." What do you HAVE in life that is valuable? Are you an athlete? A leader? A capable artist? Are you someone who can solve problems? Repair a machine? Build a house? Are you good-looking? God has given you—everything! And the question is—are you acting out God's will in spending what He has given to you? The "lot" of David comprised the combined gifts of God in his life. Some think that David the king sat around and idly composed poetic songs in his spare time... however, as the king, the leader, he had little spare time. The reality is that he was not only king, but also God's prophet (Acts 2:29-30), revealing to the nation in places like Psalm 132:11, that the Messiah, the Christ would come to us as a descendant of David. You may be a plumber, president, priest or pauper... but what is your true calling? Why has God brought you into humanity?
Verse 6: "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me." The "lines" here are boundary lines. In other words, God the Architect of us all, has a specific limited purpose for each one of us. We tend to limit His plan by thinking only within the things of this life, but there's more. He intends "pleasant places" for us, incorporated within a beautiful heritage. You might think, "How is it that David was a king and I am not?" Don't worry: There are many failed kings in history and in the world right now, and your life, your body, relatives and abilities were carefully planned before you even existed. You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) for God's purposes in the lives of many... some of whom you will meet in eternity for the first time. Through God's work, our lives have far more meaning than we know.
Verse 7: "I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night." When you sleep, you dream, assuming that those are just your dreams, known only to you. But if you study Scripture, you find that God "instructs (people) in the night." He did it with Jacob's son, Joseph, and it was the same for many others, notably, right now, the David of these verses. He was a man who listened and responded to the counseling of the Lord. Are YOU listening? And what are you doing as the result of what you have heard? We all need to study Scripture, pray—and listen!
Verse 8: "I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." God, for David, was right in front of him at all times. The Lord, in a sense, had become like a filter, through which David saw everything. The man made mistakes, but when he deviated from the path set before him, the Lord never left him. Like us, David was not perfect, but he grasped, as we should, that the Lord was always at his "right hand," as He is with the faithful right now. "Set the Lord continually before (you)," and you'll find you "will not be shaken"—forever.
Verse 9: "Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely." The word "heart" in this verse represents the center of a person's being. Through trust in the Lord, God Himself comes and rests in the center of who you are. You begin to "glory," you become glad, finding that even the outer parts of who you are; your body, the setting in which God has placed you—all is changing for the good as you begin to "dwell securely" in Him, just as David did.
Verse 10: "For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay." The whole of the "Old Testament" is actually an amazing series of prophesies about the Messiah, the Christ who was to come. Some of the prophesies are clearer to us than others, as this one is. In the Apostle Peter's first sermon after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he revealed that this verse spoke in advance of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead (Acts 2:31-32). And as the sermon of Peter progressed, "three thousand souls" saw the connection, the truth of these words, and placed their trust in the Lord (Acts 2:41). You have heard the words also—What will you do in relation to them?
Verse 11: "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." These verses were far more than just about David, though certainly the Lord loved the man. They are also about you and me. Through God's Holy Word, the Scriptures and His Holy Spirit, words from thousands of years in the past reach into our hearts and lives right now. We are being shown "the path of life," we are being offered the "fullness of joy," and with David, we have the promise of "pleasures forever" at the "right hand" of God. Do you want the Lord?—He wants you; enough so that He died in your place, on your behalf, giving you "life" with God the Father. Let's go to Him and trust in Him right now.
Father, I want the life, joy, and the pleasures of eternity with You. I confess that I have sinned, but I recognize that in forgiving David, You are telling me I can be forgiven, also. I am Yours, Lord. I trust in You. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.