- The Psalmist expresses his allegiance to God (v1-5)
- The Psalmist rejoices in God’s blessings to him (6-11)
- The psalmist expresses his allegiance to the Lord:
in doing so, he expresses his love for the Lord. 3 aspects of Love for God (John Frame): allegiance, affection, action.
Action: means if we say we love him, we obey him – in fact, we can’t say that we love him in any meaningful way if we don’t obey his commandments.
Affection: love not merely external, but includes the affection of the heart – we serve God not out of mere duty or obligation but out of a genuine love for who he is and what he has done for us.
Allegiance: exclusive loyalty and faithfulness. He is our God and no other. He is our Redeemer and no other. And so, we honor him above all else; we worship him alone; we serve him alone as our Lord; we have nothing in our lives that competes with him or dethrones or surpasses him in our allegiance, loyalty, or priority.
Love to God, is being faithful to our covenant vows to him; just like love in a marriage is being faithful to your marriage vows – forsaking all others, and living in exclusive loyalty to the one you are committed to.
3 aspects of psalmists’ allegiance:
He seeks refuge in the Lord
He finds all goodness in God
He rejects the empty promises of other gods.
all these three things – show that he is standing with God, and that he is refusing to trust in anything other than God; that he is refusing to seek good in anything other than God or his will; that he is refusing to worship other gods or elevate anything else in all creation above his love for and service of God.
v1 – He seeks Refuge in the Lord – protection, safety; deliverance from things that would threaten.
If you were stranded on a desert island, one of the first things you’d do, would be to look for refuge or to make some kind of refuge – why? Because this world is harsh, and in this world in which we live, we need protection from the elements; we need safety from the dangers; we need refuge.
And, you have a choice: you can find that protection and safety and refuge in something stable, sturdy, worthy of entrusting yourself to… or, you can find something unstable, something that is insufficient to give the protection and safety that you need in light of the harshness of the world around.
And, what it means that God is our refuge is that He is our protection and source of safety from the physical – but moreso, the spiritual dangers and enemies which surround us: The sinful world, our own sinful flesh, and the devil who seeks to destroy our faith and so destroy our souls.
The psalmist seeks refuge in God – he refuses to look to other things to trust in for safety, security in this life – because he knows that nothing else can promise ultimate safety and security in this life – nothing except for God himself. Everything else – is like a rickety shelter made of sticks that falls apart at the first breeze; compared to a solid rock that can not be shaken – as he says in v8.
He refuses to trust in other things – for deliverance, protection, salvation: And, because he seeks refuge in the LORD, he is confident that he will be preserved by the Lord in whom he trusts.
There are dangers – spiritual dangers which threaten your eternal well-being. Do you believe that? And what do you seek refuge in?
Your own righteousness? Many people trust in that – think That they are good enough to earn God’s love and reward, rather than to trust in the forgiveness and righteousness of Christ.
Your own strength? Many people trust in that – think that they have enough moral strength to navigate the dangers of this world and come out on top.
He seeks refuge in the Lord
He finds all goodness in God
v2 – I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord. I have no good apart from you.”
He recognizes that God is the source of all goodness; and that what he truly needs in his life is God; Goodness begins with God and ends with God;
and that with God in his life – even if he has nothing else, he has everything; and that without God in his life – even if he had everything else, he has nothing.
God is his everything; God is his all in all. God is the one he puts first; the one he honors above all else; and the one he is loyal to at all costs no matter what the cost.
This doesn’t meant that he doesn’t have other things – other people – in his life – but it means he never elevates those things such that they compete with God or take his ultimate allegiance away from God – they are subordinated underneath his love and loyalty to God.
He would never forsake God for those other things; but he would give up those things for God, no matter what benefit or good they promise or offer, because he knows that he has no good apart from God.
“Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.”
Even when grief comes into his life, if he has the love and presence of God in his life, grief while painful doesn’t destroy him – it can’t rob him of what is of ultimate value.
And, when joy is in his life, that joy only has the ability to bring joy so far as it flows out of God himself.
He never tries to make the gifts of God, the source of goodness in his life, only channels of God’s goodness; he never tries to base his satisfaction on them; but rather makes God the source of his satisfaction.
In other words, he never turns them from God’s gifts, to gods. He never elevates God’s gifts above the giver of those gifts, and so, never uses those gifts in ways that deny God, disobey God, or demote God.
Because, as soon as he would do that, turn God’s good gifts into false gods, as soon as he would do that, they would betray him.
He seeks refuge in the Lord
He finds all goodness in God
He rejects the empty promises of other gods.
Final way he expresses his allegiance to God: He stands against the false gods worshiped by other nations – (v4- their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out) – he refuses to join in their sacrifices – to worship in the way they worship;
in fact, so strong is his allegiance to his God, that he refuses to even speak their names (“I will not take their names upon my lips);
and instead (v3) he delights in the people of God – the saints in the land – he stands with them – and standing with them, worshiping the true God.
He won’t even speak their names – His refutation of these false Gods is so strong – it’s like a husband assuring his wife that he won’t even look at another woman in a sexual way – that is how exclusively devoted he is to his wife. And what wife would not see love and devotion in that?
Is that our attitude to sin and idolatry in our lives? You know, most of us don’t struggle with actual idol worship, but certainly we struggle with giving our allegiance – our love, lives, service – to false gods.
The Psalmist rejects the empty promises of these false gods – “the sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply”. No one worships a god in order to multiply their sorrows, right? And, he says, these people aren’t being dragged against their will into idolatry – they run after them – and, so, presumably they do so to solve their problems; to make life better – to find some good, some happiness, some security; they don’t run after these gods to make their life worse, but because in these gods they see some promise of a better life; a fix to their current difficulty; a solution to their present unhappiness;
But the psalmist sees right through these empty promises. He knows where running after other gods leads: to multiplied sorrows.
This is the lie of sin and idolatry – that with God I’m missing out; that God is withholding some good from me; and that I need to disobey God, and run after something else – to get that good. This is the lie of sin. But;
He refuses to chase after something God has forbidden, or chase after something in a way that God has forbidden – b/c he knows that those things are false gods with empty promises.
b/c they don’t give you something that you lacked; they don’t rescue; they don’t deliver:
v4: “make numerous their sorrows” – the psalmist uses very similar language to what God said to Eve after the fall, when pronouncing the curse related to Eve, he says that he will “make numerous your sorrows” – there it’s related specifically to the pain of child-bearing, but it is —same two Hebrew roots.
See, the psalmist knows just where seeking good outside of God leads – and it’s been the same since the very beginning – it may promise pleasure, but it’s an empty promise that leads to pain. It may promise good, but it’s an empty promise that leads to misery. It may promise salvation, or blessing, or satisfaction or security or happiness or relief or comfort – but it leads to death – and it brings the same kind of loss that Adam and Eve experienced at that first fall into sin – trading the goodness of God for the misery of sin, where life is robbed of the goodness of God, only to receive emptiness and misery.
Is that what you want to chase after?
Or, can you, like this psalmist, see through the empty promises of sin?
v 5 transition & summarizes this first section (he’s trusted God, and he is secure; he’s sought his satisfaction in God, and he is content).
1. The psalmist expresses his allegiance to God
2. The psalmist rejoices in God’s blessings to him
-in this life; and the next life.
Rejoicing in God’s blessings in this life:
v6 – his boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places; he has a great inheritance – that he has received a “competent portion” of God’s good blessings in this life, which he is content with;
But, this isn’t the focus of the psalm – and so, it’s important to remember that certainly God is our provider of our physical needs (“daily bread”) – but that doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same portion of God’s material blessings in this life – and when we less than we might like, we need to be content; and when we have more, we need to be generous – that’s how we show that these things are not god-replacements.
v7 – he benefits from the counsel of God – who instructs, leads, guides him through the challenges and difficulties of life;
v8 – he enjoys the presence of God – God is always before him, always with him – and as long as God is with him, he is secure – he knows that no matter what happens in this life, if God is with him, he is secure – because God is his refuge.
And, the psalmist knows that one day, this life and it’s blessings will end. Bible doesn’t make any guarantees that life turn out a certain way – actually, it does make 1 – it guarantees that you will die. but the Psalmist has confidence that the blessing of God in his life, aren’t ceased by death, but continue past death.
Rejoices in God’s blessings beyond this life, in the next life:
the psalmist is confident that even in death, he is not cut off from the blessings or presence of God – but that God keeps him, is with him – is still his refuge and still his good – even after death.
You often hear people say things like, “the OT authors didn’t have much conception of the afterlife.” You sometimes hear that of the Psalms, but, I really don’t know how you can come to that conclusion.
They might not have discussed it with as frequently as in the NT, or with as much specificity, but it couldn’t be clearer that the OT writers and especially the psalmists, found their ultimate hope not in the blessings of this life, but in the next.
And that’s good news – because if our ultimate hope is in this life – then to borrow words: ‘we are to be pitied above all”.
v 9-10— “My body will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.”
Now, what is the basis for the psalmists hope and confidence of the blessings of God continuing in the next life? We’re not really told that – in fact, all throughout the OT, were left wondering what the basis is for any hope in the blessings of God in the next life.
David expresses this hope that his body would not be left to rot away in the ground, but on what basis can he have confidence in that? Because, his body did go to the grave; his body did see decay; and what the NT tells us is that apart from the resurrection of Jesus, we have no sure hope that the fullness of God’s blessings continue into the next life.
If there is nothing beyond this life, except to rot and decay in the ground, then that doesn’t just take away the afterlife, it takes this life away – it takes away any kind of meaning you could hope to find in this life.
If this life is all there is, this life is nothing.
This psalmist – even in the face of his own death – can have hope and confidence. it’s in the resurrection of Jesus that we have this hope.
The bible is very clear that death is an enemy, an intrusion, a tragedy, something with steals the joy from our existence; death, if you remember, was the penalty for our sin and rebellion – “for in the day you eat of it, you will surely die”. And, physical death as terrible as it is, is just a glimpse into the deeper reality of spiritual death, and eternal death which characterize us outside of Christ;
but the gospel is clear that Jesus Christ in his resurrection has conquered the enemy of death.
And, the NT looks back to these words of David, and says that it’s only through faith in Jesus’ victory over death, that we can have this confidence that David had.
Acts 2:29-33, Peter in his pentecost sermon quotes this section of Psalm 16 for his audience and explains it in this way:
“ “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.  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,  he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.  This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”
David saw decay; and apart from Christ it did appear that David was abandoned to the grace; but David’s confidence was based upon someone else – the one who died but death could not hold him – as Peter says in that same sermon: “ God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”
He conquered death and was raised – his body didn’t rot in the ground as the fate of ordinary humanity – for he was no ordinary person – he was the LORD, the eternal king, the son of God – the fully divine and fully human man; the one who had no beginning and has no end – no end, not even in death, and so was raised up to new life – in a body incorruptible.
And, all who are in Christ, gain this new life – this victory over death – over spiritual death, eternal death, and physical death:
victory over spiritual death: when we come to Christ, we are “born again” – we are given new spiritual life, whereas we were formerly dead in our sins, now we are alive to God in our spirits through Christ; “Regeneration”
victory over eternal death: the eternal wrath of God is no longer our fate; eternal separation from God is no longer our destiny; we have been delivered from God’s wrath into his love and favor; all through the mercy and race of Jesus. And, at our death, our spirits – since they are alive – they enter immediately into the presence of God – and await the redemption of our bodies, which rest in their graves until the resurrection.
victory over physical death: Our bodies, unlike Jesus’, do see decay; but decay is not their end. our bodies, no matter how long they wait and rot and decay, aren’t left out of, but are included in God’s plan of redemption. Until the resurrection at the end of history, our bodies rot in the grave. But at the return of Christ, they are raised, and reunited to our spirits in heaven in the presence of God, and transformed: , and transformed:
not corruptible, but incorruptible; not mortal but immortal; not with the effects of sin corrupting and polluting it – not with infirmity, suffering, sickness, no longer all our days moving one step closer to death with each day – but in enduring and everlasting life; incorruptible, immortal: never to see decay. never to break down; never to be sick or diseased or broken or filled with pain, as so often characterizes our physical lives in this life.
v11: 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.
The psalmist is confident that his destiny is not decay; but eternal life with God. That life’s:
goal if the presence of God;
results are joy and eternal pleasures
The problem with most people’s view of heaven, is simply that God is absent from it! Heaven, is not merely some sentimental family reunion. Heaven is life with God – God is at the center – and if God isn’t at the center of your hope in heaven, then your idea of heaven is inadequate.
And, life in the presence of God results in joy and eternal pleasures:
God wants you to be happy; but not the kind of fleeting happiness that we so often chase after in this life; happy in him – happy in a life with him – eternal pleasure and joy – that are so different from that which we experience here on earth, such that I’m sure we can’t conceive of it adequately.
Pleasure, and joy, in this life, are limited; fleeting; they run out; but pleasure and joy in the next life – are eternal. A thousand years in (if you can count years in heaven) and they don’t diminish one drop of their ability to satisfy.
See how great this psalmists’ hope is? And, how much more reason, then, do we have hope, who have known Christ as raised from the dead?
That hope, can sustain through any difficulty; that hope can persist even as we face our own deaths; and the reality of the glory that awaits us in the next life enables us to have joy through this life, even when this life isn’t what we hoped it would be, because we know that this life isn’t all there is.