Psalm 16

Notes for Bible Discussion, Gold Canyon Church of Christ, 23 Dec. 2018

v1, “A prayer of David. Protect me, O God, for I have taken shelter in you…”

David wants divine protection because he has remained loyal to God. He praises God for his rich blessings, and is confident God will vindicate him and deliver him from death. None of us takes shelter in something we don’t trust. When it comes to death, who can we trust? Romans 8:37-39. He experienced many hardships because he remained faithful to God. Nevertheless, he also knew that life lived after another god was even more difficult. This is the same attitude of Peter in John 6:66-69, when he said “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

v4, “their troubles multiply; they desire other gods. I will not pour out drink offerings of blood to their gods, nor will I make vows in the name of their gods…”

Offering your own blood is a senseless sacrifice of self, which must be appalling to Christ whose blood was offered for us in the first place! Even today some Roman Catholics whip themselves to blood, offering their blood to their twisted conception of God. This should move us to rejoice for the blessing of redemption we sing about. There is no need for a self-inflicted martyrdom spirit in the church, but if we were called upon by a hateful world to sacrifice our self, we should have an open prayerful heart on the prospect, considering Christ’s love for sinful persecutors.

v7, “I will praise the Lord who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn…”

Our heart should always be open for instruction, Romans 12:2, as Paul encouraged Christians to “renew the mind”.

v9-10, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”

David described another benefit of his life decision to set the LORD as his goal. It was the confidence of God’s care and blessing in the life beyond this one. David had the settled hope (a confidence, not a simple wish), that God would not leave his soul in the grave (Sheol), but that his life would continue on in the presence of God. This statement is a wonderful declaration of trust in a resurrection and afterlife. In the New Testament, we know that Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10). Wonderfully (and perhaps unknowingly), David spoke beyond himself. In one sense David was indeed the Holy One of God, whose soul would not be left in the grave. Yet in a greater and more literal sense, only Jesus Christ fulfills this in His resurrection. This was perceived by Peter on the Day of Pentecost, who said that these words went beyond David who was obviously dead, buried in a grave, and whose body had long ago decayed into dust (Acts 2:25-31). In quoting and applying this passage from Psalm 16 to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Peter showed a remarkably sophisticated understanding of the work of Jesus on the cross. He understood that because Jesus bore our sin without becoming a sinner, He remained the Holy One, even in His death. Since it is incomprehensible that God’s Holy One should be bound by death, the resurrection was absolutely inevitable. As Peter said: It was not possible that He should be held by death (Acts 2:24).

v11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The apostle Paul was good at keeping himself reminded and refreshed with the presence of Christ in his daily life, so he could tell Christians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Php. 4:4) John declares from his vision in Revelation 22:5, that our reign in Christ is eternal, it is better than having more good days than bad, because it is one eternal perfect day. That is real joy!

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