A Refuge in the Lord: Psalm 16
We are continuing in our series of working through the Psalms. I hope many of you are spending time each morning working through the devotional booklet that has been produced.
It has been a delight to read every day as we journey together.
Before we get into God’s Psalm today let me say this,
20 years ago I went against conventional norms as a grade 5 teacher. I let the students watch something that wasn’t previewed by myself. In fact I did get into trouble by the principal.
Surprising isn’t it, me getting into trouble for going against conventional norms.
What I did, to this day, I would do again because in that moment, I felt the students should experience this event in the midst of people who can help them process what they were watching.
To be honest, I didn’t know at the time the impact, but as I watched I realized that this would change mine and their worlds.
It was the morning of 911 and I was teaching in a Christian School in Ontario. I had a tv in my classroom and we had started the school day when a parent came up to my classroom to share the news of the first plane crashing into the tower.
We invited the grade 6 class to come and we sat in the room in horror as the second plane came crashing into the tower.
It was in that safety of Christian leaders in these student lives that we were able to talk and pray about what was happening in the world around them.
To be honest, terrorism took on a new meaning that day for me and for others sitting in that classroom. One of my students in the next year wrote a speech on the impact of that day’s event on her life.
What did you do on that day when the safety and comfort of our world was shaken.
I know that day, the Bible lesson for our class became real.
We reached out to God.
This morning’s Psalm is about reaching out to God.
Turn with me if you would to Psalm 16
A Miktam of David. 1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Opening Prayer Vs 1
Opening Prayer Vs 1
The Psalmist begins with an opening prayer. His focus is on a communication with God. We are going to find out through this Psalm the God with whom he is speaking.
The God of refuge,
The God that he has confidence in and why ,
and finally we will see that this Psalm is a prediction or a foreshadowing of the life of Christ.
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Others have translated this way,
keep me safe.
20 years ago our safety was challenged.
Have you ever been in a place that you needed to cry out to God for your very safety?
Many believe that this Psalm was written during a time of distress and reflection.
As researchers have studied this Psalm they find it difficult to place a certain time of the Psalmist’s life.
There are other Psalms that begin with the description of
Mitkam-(MICK TAM) which has been believed to be a musical term, a poem, or other descriptions, but this Psalm doesn’t give a situation in which the Psalmist finds himself in likr the other Psalms of Miktam
If you were to look at Psalm 56, 57, 59, 60 you will find the following
Ps 56 “To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
Ps 57 “To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
Ps 59 “To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.
Ps 60 “To the choirmaster: according to Shushan Eduth. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he strove with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return struck down twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.
One of the ways, things we can take away from this Psalm this morning is that it can be a Psalm of remembrance.
Remembering the times in our lives that God has led us through difficult situations.
It is in those times that we found comfort when we placed our hope and refuge in God.
It can also serve for us a remembrance of the Abundance of God’s grace in our past lives and from that look forward to what He has in store for us in the future.
There is coming a day when our refuge in God will be fully revealed in the Coming of Christ.
When you read this Psalm and you hear the Psalmist declare,
In you I take refuge, what does that mean to you?
When you cry out to God for refuge what are you seeking refuge from?
The Psalmist as he continues in the Psalm we are going to find out that He takes refuge from two things.
From Death and a weak faith and we are going to find those themes as we walk through these verses.
As he continues to write, the Psalmist says in the next verse
Ps 16:2 “2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.””
Where is our confidence? Vs 2-4
Where is our confidence? Vs 2-4
The Psalmist pen begins to show to those who are reading and listening to this Psalm words of the heart.
Words of the confidence in which he builds his life.
You are my Lord
Lord, The Hebrew word, as Lord can come from many different words, is A-Dawn
It is the word used to describe Master.
This is the relationship built between the Psalmist and God.
He has taken on the position of a servant to the God most High.
It is not a position of Boss to employee. Friend to Friend, Parent to Child.
Its Master and Owner.
How do you view your relationship between God and You?
Where is your confidence in God in that relationship?
The Psalmist had the deepest confidence in God because God was and is his Owner. His trust is fully in God.
Did you notice the level of that trust,
Look at the second part of vs 2
Ps 16:2 “ I have no good apart from you.””
In other words, There is not good outside of the sphere of God.
When we look outside of God’s realm, by the way it is figuratively impossible to be outside of God, the Psalmist says there is no good.
The Psalmist states without a shadow of doubt that His confidence is fully in the comfort and shelter of God.
You see when we walk through those difficult times and circumstances in our lives, we know that in God we place our confidence because no matter what we will face, God will be there.
If God is there with us what do we have to fear?
As the Psalmist continues to write, he takes a sharp turn and begins to compare his faith, his confidence with those of a person in his midst.
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
If you are following along in the Devotional reading, and you are reading in the morning, you would have noticed that you were asked to read this Psalm in preparation for today’s message.
If you read this verse, or if you hearing it now for the second time, does it cause to scratch your head and wondering what he is talking about.
Who are the Saints?
Who are the excellent ones?
What is the delight?
for me, when I began to prepare for this sermon, these were my thoughts
As I poured over commentaries, all agreed that there are difficulties in understanding this verse.
One understanding of this verse is this
That the saints described in this verse are those pious Israelites around the Psalmist, in one commentary it is written,
The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 13: Psalms 1–72 (Saints and Sinners)
Thus David reflects on God first and then His saints, whom he speaks of as “the excellent ones.” The Hebrew word can refer to nobles, chieftains, or priests. David’s delight is in them.This verse embraces the true meaning of life: God and people. The two great commandments are fulfilled in loving the Lord and loving our neighbor......When we love God as we should, we will love those around us as we should.
This is a great way to look at this verse, but is not the only way to look at this verse, especially if you tie vs 3 & 4 together.
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
One scholar takes vs three as somewhat of a sarcastic view of the saints. A view that the saints are saying excellent one of the gods around them.
As we learned in Jeremiah, there are those people around that would hold onto the faith of Yahweh but also would grab onto the culture and their faith’s actions.
They figure that if they hold onto both, whichever is true, they have a piece of the action.
This scholar believes that the description of “in whom I delight” is a phrase holding onto man’s beliefs.
It is like a good luck charm or like an athletes rituals that they go through to promise success.
This is because of the translation of verse 4 and “The sorrows of those (referring to the excellent ones) who run after other gods.
Now you can see the difficulties in translating poetry and specific verses especially when it was written without direct specification to a people group.
So for you this morning as you begin to wrestle with the meaning, let me leave you with this parting thought on this verse.
The Psalmist is leading us down the path for us to have this question.
Where is our confidence.
Is our confidence in the Lord or things of this world.
One thing we know for sure is this as we read the closing of vs 4
Ps 16:4 “4.... I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.”
The Psalmist does not want to be associated with any language or behaviour that does not place God as his confidence
The Cup- is a metaphorical expresssion of uttering the words and or names of the other gods that his companions .
Our language and actions should be that of the same of the Psalmist. That our Confidence is in the Lord and the Lord only.
It’s not a mixture of many but of God.
God has given us His Word for a guide to our lives and it is in that Word that we can stand with confidence.
The Psalmist then moves onto why He knows he has confidence and that is the Confidence of our Faith
The Confidence of our Faith Vs 5-8
The Confidence of our Faith Vs 5-8
This confidence of our faith comes out even in times of crisis. The confidence comes with an acknowledgement of inheritance one receives with faith.
Inheritance from I AM vs 5,6
Inheritance from I AM vs 5,6
The first part in our confidence in our faith comes from the inheritance received from Yahweh
Ps 16:5 “5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”
Portion, Cup, and lot are all to do with ones inheritance. For the people of God during the writing and reading of this Psalm this meant a great deal.
From the Levitates who owned nothing, yet God provided.
God’s provisions to the people of God who wandered waiting for the promise land. God would grant them their portion.
Their cup is what we would symbolize as good fortune.
For us it a symbol of God handing us a cup of choice wine for us to drink.
It’s a sign of God holds our destiny.
We are to become Children of God.
Finally the Lot is the inheritance of a physical space or relationship.
Land was important to them as well as a name.
for us as believers, we are to possess and inherit
“to become Children of God. “
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
As the Psalmist speaks our confidence is in our faith of what we will receive from God
Ps 16:6 “6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
Verse 6 tells us that the Psalmist is referring to a place chosen just for him. This could be a physical space or and as well a life of God’s own choosing.
I am reminded of this fact every time I talk with my brother.
God’s plan for my life has been vastly different from that of my brother’s. As the many years of him walking away from God, he would look at my life and question why.
His goal in life was for himself and for success for himself.
Recently, as in his words,
“God chased me down and I submitted to him.”
His outlook on life changed. Things that once were of great importance to him took second place to that of God.
His lot in life changed. The art in his life was before for his own glory.
Now it is for God’s glory.
His new found confidence is in his faith in the Almighty God which echos the words found in these verses.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Instructions from I AM vs 7-8
Instructions from I AM vs 7-8
Our confidence of our faith comes through instructions from God.
I have often asked you where do you go for instruction?
You see for the Psalmist his confidence of faith came from a willingness to seek instruction from the Almighty.
There was a praise for the instruction from the I AM
and there was a strong sense of Presence and Protection in that instruction.
I read this week,
“The Psalmist’s confidence in the face of mortal threat is based first upon the fact that the Lord is in front of him (vs 8), indicating both God’s protective presence and also the psalmist's obedience to the divine law ( ps 119:30), and second upon the fact that the Lord is his “right hand” (vs 8b), While holding firmly through the tremors that seek to shake Him into death. With such confidence, the palmist rejoices and exults. “- WBC- Peter C. Craigie Pg 157
let me state this
If the path you are on for you life is guided by the Lord almighty, what do you have to fear.
If you choose a path of your own liking and not God’s calling, you are on shaky ground.
The Psalmist took comfort in his faith knowing that God was by his side.
The Path of Life Vs 9-11
The Path of Life Vs 9-11
The Psalmist ends this Psalm with some very encouraging words. So encouraging were these words that we can find many NT writers and Christ himself pointing back to this Psalm
You see the Psalmist, not only held onto a believe of Confidence in Faith he also showed through this Psalm of the path of life and life after death.
ps 16:9-11 “9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
We now see the concept of The path of life after death appears in this Psalm
in the Psalter once again. It first appeared in Psalm 6
and now we see the topic appear.
The Psalmist is talking about life after death.
The question we must ask ourselves is this a prophetic Psalm or words from a faithful follower of God who knows that his life is in the hands of an almighty God.
My answer would be YES
Yes to the fact that the Psalmist is speaking about his own life.
As one person wrote:
“They could simply be about a man who, though a fugitive, can nevertheless sleep soundly (vs9), who trust God to preserve him from an ultimately death ( verse 10), and who looks forward to better times to come, enjoying blessings of a kind only God can give ( verse 11). “pg 58
The other side of the questions of yes is how the NT writers and Jesus himself uses this Psalm
First off, Jesus spoke this,
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Jesus recognized that there were not only this Psalm, but others as well that pointed to Christ.
In fact, as a side point, if you read through the entire Bible, it is a story about God creating man, dealing with a broken relationship with His creation and pointing to a path of life to restore that relationship with the creator and creation through the life, death and Resurrection of Christ.
It is also a story of a redeemed people and the future restoration of God’s creation.
It’s no wonder why this Psalm was used by the NT writers to show this purpose.
Look at the words of Peter as he remembered this Psalm
28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
We also see this Psalm used in this way,
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “ ‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
This Psalm was used as a description of Jesus by saying this
“The Psalmist was expressing confidence that, even in the face of death, God would show him ‘the path of life’, which was in God’s presence’, (vs. 11) ...’Sheol was not a fitting place for Yahweh’s “holy one” and the psalmist could expect some kind of deliverance from it’, though it was left vague enough that a ‘forward-looking, prophetic perspective’ grew up around this promise. “- Interpreting the Psalms pg 272
So whether this Psalm is talking about Christ or Just the Psalmist or both,
There is a path of life promised for those who follow God.
This morning have you, like the Psalmist, placed your confidence in God.
Is your daily walk with Him as He is beside you and He is there to Guide you through your life.
Is your life heading down the road of God’s path or are you striving to do what you want and not that of God’s direction.
Is your confidence in faith stronger every day and in every season of life that you walk through because you have learned to trust in God’s abiding love?
And finally, is your path of life is it leading to eternal life with God.
Have you made the decision to follow Christ.
To abandon your own way of living and to turn to Christ for His direction for your life.
May I challenge you this morning, if you have not given your life over to Christ do it today. Do it today, there is not better time.
I would love to talk with you about this.
As the worship team comes forward to lead us in a song of response, respond to God this morning. If you need prayer feel free to make your way to the front during or after the closing song and I would love to pray with you
Response to Worship
Response to Worship