Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
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.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
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.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16 (ESV)
Psalm 16 is one of the many Psalms ascribed to David. The man after God’s own heart shared many of his insights on God and prayers to God on every possible subject- praise, anguish, repentance, thankfulness, in the Psalms. David was a sinner just like the rest of us, but God’s words were recorded in Scripture through David’s mind and pen.
God as our refuge is an ongoing theme of David’s life. God chose David over Saul, the first king of Israel who ended up being a big disappointment. God chose David over his older, stronger and more attractive brothers. God spared David’s life when Saul wanted David done away with.
David warns against idolatry- putting other things ahead of God in our lives. Today we don’t go chasing after the Ba’als nor do we melt down and cast our golden earrings into calves, but idolatry is alive and well in American culture and in our own lives. It’s easy for us to forget amidst all the distractions of day to day life that God is our refuge, and that life itself is only found in Christ alone.
I have a beautiful inheritance, David declares. Even though most of us are not particularly materially wealthy, in Christ, the promise of our baptism is eternal life with God. It starts now, even though we have one foot in this earthly, imperfect world, and one foot in the heavenly kingdom. What an encouragement that because Jesus has rescued us from the consequences of our sins, we can take comfort and delight in knowing that there is life beyond this world. In Christ we have hope that pain and suffering and loss will end, and that God will wipe away all of our sorrow and dry all our tears.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. God does not abandon us when our physical bodies die. Because we are baptized into the Body of Christ, we too will like Jesus, the Holy One, be resurrected into bodies that will not decay or age or die.
In your presence there is fullness of joy.
We are not promised happiness in this life, but happiness is conditional and fleeting. Joy is the deep understanding that no matter what trials we face or pain we suffer that God is there. In Christ there is life, there is hope, there is joy- forever.