Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 3 2019 - Psalm 16 – No good thing apart from God

David begins this psalm of devotion with a plea that God would keep him safe. We do not know what threat David faced but he knows that God is the one who can save and protect him.

Though David takes delight in those around him who share his faith (v.3), he knows that his safety and security lies in God alone. "Apart from you", he says, "I have no good thing." He is conscious that God has blessed him and protected him in the past. It was God who enabled him to overcome the lion and the bear when he was looking after his father's sheep in the hills of Judea. It was God who protected him from Goliath whom he went out to fight armed only with a sling. It was God who protected him when Saul pursued him with his army of soldiers. David is confident that God will protect him now, unlike the idols who can neither speak nor act.

David trusts in the living God who has blessed him beyond measure: his "boundary lines have fallen … in pleasant places"; he has "a delightful inheritance." For David this is not simply, or even primarily, that he has been given an earthly kingdom with all its riches; he recognises that his true inheritance and riches are found in the Lord himself.  "Lord", he declares, "you alone are my portion and my cup."  Here is a man who knows God, and who delights in him (v.7), who keeps his eyes fixed on him and is confident that he is secure in him (v.8).

That confidence enables him not only to rejoice in all that life may bring, it assures him of God's continued blessing even in the face of death. He is confident that the one who has made known to him the path of life will not abandon him in death. Rather, the Lord will fill him with joy in his presence, with eternal pleasures at God's right hand (vv.10-11).

We have far greater reason for such confidence than did David. Acts 2 records that when Peter preached to the crowds on the day of Pentecost he quoted this psalm with David's affirmation, "You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead; you will not let your holy one see decay." Peter pointed out that David had died and was buried. David, said Peter, was speaking prophetically about his greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was crucified and his dead body was laid in a tomb not far from where Peter was preaching. But God did not leave Jesus in that tomb; his body did not see decay but was raised from the dead. Jesus is now exalted to God's right hand in the heavens.

Our confidence that God will not abandon us in death is grounded in the character of the God we have come to know in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the living God who raised Jesus from the dead. He is the loving God who gave his Son for us. Jesus is the one who has broken the power of death for us and has gone to prepare a place for us in his Father's house. We can trust God. We can be certain that nothing in life or in death will be able to separate us from the love of God in the Lord Jesus. He has made known to us the path of life and will fill us with joy in his presence, with eternal pleasures at his right hand.

Living God, we thank you for this lovely psalm expressing David's delight in you and confidence in your care in life and in death. We thank you that Jesus has secured for us a delightful inheritance and that we who have taken refuge in him can be assured of his presence, protection and care in life and in death. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on him that we may be kept from fear and that our lives may be filled with confident praise and thanksgiving.

Peter Misselbrook