Like many of you, I have seasons in my life when one portion of Scripture seems to come to mind almost daily. I’ve been living in Psalm 16 for the last few months. As familiar as it is (like fried rice to someone living in Asia), it is feeding my soul. Here it is:
A psalm of David.
Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. (1)
I said to the LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” (2)
The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! (3)
Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods. (4)
LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.(5)
The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! (6)
I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. (7)
I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (8)
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. (9)
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. (10)
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. (11)
Psalm 16 – New Living Translation
Take a little walk with me through some of the verses in this psalm. As we do I’ll share some thoughts about why these words of David can nourish the heart of women like you and me. Why not take some moments to think about what it means to you, too? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
God, My Guard
When I was a girl, my parents bought me an old player piano and put it in the basement so I could practice. One of my sisters loved to sneak down the stairs while I was engrossed in practice, jump right behind me and yell, “Boo!” My heart would pound and I’d shake my fist at her. That only egged her on to try it again in a few days.
Now, I don’t seek out the news, but sometimes it seems to jump at me and shout, “Boo!” My temptation is to shake my fist at it and hope it doesn’t do it again.
Psalm 16:1 shows a much better way to react to the scary things that confront me: a prayer to the only One who can keep me safe, “Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.”
The word refuge is so comforting to me. It isn’t something I make. It is there for me to rest in. I don’t make God keep me safe; I only have to go into His arms of refuge and rest from the fears that try to paralyze me.
God, My Provider
Verses 2, 5, and 6 help me look around at all the good things in my life. They have only one source. Since God is my Master, every good thing I have is from His hands. I didn’t make them and I don’t deserve them, but He gives me every good thing I have. You and I can expect that our God will never fail us in the future.
Verses 5 and 6 remind me, once again, of the rich inheritance I have in God and how secure it is. God doesn’t just guard me; he guards all that is mine. He is my inheritance and my blessing. Every word He speaks to my heart is food and drink for my soul. He guards each promise to fulfill.
When I was a young believer I was challenged to pray that God would lay a nation on my heart. I wanted to pray for that nation and if possible visit it, with hope that I could influence it for Christ. As a girl I could not imagine where that would be. I am not sure I knew, then, that the nation we serve existed.
God has so abundantly answered that prayer with our host country. We’ve served this nation half our lives! Any fruit God has given as a result of our service is His inheritance. But, it is ours, too.
God’s People, My Delight
Verses 3 and 4 clarify how I see the people around me. I have some very wonderful people in my life, from all over the planet. They are people who love God, serving Him and touching others. They include me in their circle of holy influence. They reach out to me with their help and their love. They are the noble ones in the land- my true heroes! Evil people will always vex us, but don’t forget the goodness you experience in your personal circle of saints.
At the same time, I am surrounded by people who run after other gods. I’m not talking about those who just don’t know, but those who purposely turn away from the Lord and run after the seductive gods of this age. Troubles will, and do, multiply for them, yet they persist. The best thing you and I can do for such people is to live our faith- visibly, sincerely, and lovingly. And, as Peter said, be ready to tell them the reason for our hope.
God, My Counselor
Verse 7 describes one of my most treasured names for God, Counselor. When I don’t know what to do or what to say, the Lord guides me. God has even used the night time to direct me. An idea that came to me in the night turned out to be a specific help from God. It amazes me that He uses the time when I’m not actively seeking His direction to give me help along the way. I have no doubt that God has saved you many unnecessary worries through the counsel He provides.
Psalm 16 ends by reminding me that though my body will die someday, I will still live forever.
My Dad died this past year. I know he isn’t rotting in a grave. He is not with the dead, but living with God. He joined my Mom and one day I will join them too. I’m not rushing toward that day, but I can be absolutely positive God is showing me the way of life. He is granting me the joy of His presence and the pleasures of living with Him forever.
Thanks for taking this little stroll with me. As I said, I’d love to hear what this psalm and others have meant to you. Write, even if it’s just a note.