Psalm 16 – The Hope Of The Faithful

Psalm 16 written at an unknown time when David was hard-pressed, perhaps when he faced threats to his life in the wilderness or severe opposition to his reign as king.

David boldly declared that God had been his portion in life so that he would trust him even in death. No matter what David faced, his faith anchored in the Lord, and this caused his heart to rejoice.

David gripped by a resolute reliance on God in the face of death. He looked beyond this life to the glories of the resurrection and glorification to come.


David’s Prayer

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” ~Psalm 16:1-2 NLT


With a quiet confidence, David began by praying, “Keep me safe, O God,” as he asked for God’s protection. He reached out for the security that God alone can give. The basis of this request is that God was David’s refuge. David had put his trust exclusively in God. Only He could protect David from the dangers of life.

Beloved, our Lord is watching over us, even in those times when we can’t see a solution to our problems or don’t know what decision to make.

The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young Braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe.

But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick forest, and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce.

After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke, and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path.

Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long. Our Lord is watching over us too.

God was his, all in all, his security and satisfaction, his one and only good thing.


David’s Perplexity

As for the Saints (godly people) who are in the land, they are the majestic and the noble and the excellent ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows [pain and suffering] of those who have chosen another god will be multiplied [because of their idolatry]; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. ~Psalm 16:3-4 (AMP)


Turning his attention to the believers in the land, David rejoiced that they were the glorious ones, a choice in the sight of God. With a deep love for the godly citizens of Israel, King David wrote that they were those in whom is all my delight.

But in start contrast with these who, like David, trusted God, some ungodly people ran after other gods in a religious syncretism that would only increase their sorrows. With a compromising faith, they had weakened their loyalty to God.

Thus, their libations of blood offered in worship were not poured out to God but to these false gods. David would have nothing to do with these gods or the people who praised them.

Let me ask, “Are there any gods in your life besides the Lord?” If we are not careful, we can put ourselves, other people, or things in front of the Lord.


David’s Pledge

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, my cup [He is all I need]; You support my lot. The [boundary] lines [of the land] have fallen for me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~Psalm 16:5-6 (AMP)


David says, “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance.” Saul’s henchmen excluded David from his share of his family estate. His parents were fugitives in Moab. David says, “I have a better inheritance. I have the Lord. I have no treasure that I value more highly than my Lord.”

John Phillips shares the story of the born-again ruler of England, King George VI. Before King George ascended to his throne, he would make regular visits to a church in London and enjoy weekly Bible readings.

After he had become king, he had to discontinue this practice, but he remained a faithful, devoted believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the course of his duties, King George traveled to Canada, and his responsibilities took him to British Columbia.

It was thought by the Canadian officials that the king might want to meet a native-born Indian chief. The chief chosen for this honor was Chief Whitefeather. Whitefeather was asked to sing something for the king, and they assumed he would sing an Indian war-song.

Whitefeather, however, was a Christian and had a different song in mind. One can picture the surprise of the officials when Chief Whitefeather began to sing:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.
I’d rather be His than have riches untold.
I’d rather have Jesus than house or land.
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hands.
Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything,
This world affords today.

The stunned Canadian officials waited to see what King George would do. They did not have long to wait. The king went over, took Chief Whitefeather by the hand and said, “I’d rather have Jesus too.”

Beloved, God is our portion. If you have Christ, you lack nothing. If you lack Christ, you have nothing. David rejoiced in his heritage and his inheritance from the Lord. Now he will praise the Lord for His counsel.


David’s Praise

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night, my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. ~Psalm 16:7-11 (NLT)


David’s personal fellowship with the Lord was his greatest joy. It was during this friendship when God instructed and counseled David and told him what to do and how to do it. David even went to “night school” to learn the will of God.

With the Lord as his guide and guard, he had nothing to fear. The future is your friend when Jesus is your Lord.

Even in the face of life-threatening ordeals, David remained glad, and he rejoiced. He knew his body would also rest secure, even in death. With exuberant praise, David exulted; God will not abandon me to the grave. Not even death would separate him from God; he would not see decay by lying in the grave in a meaningless existence. God would forever be his portion.
The Joy of Eternity

The noted philosopher and Harvard University professor Alfred North Whitehead once asked a friend, “As for Christian theology, can you imagine anything more appallingly idiotic than the Christian idea of heaven?”

But the focal point of heaven is not gates of pearl, streets of gold, or even angels and glorified saints. The central glory and joy of heaven is Jesus Christ (Rev. 4-5).

The path of life that He shows us on earth today will end in even greater life when we enter heaven. Then we shall be in His presence and experience fullness of joy and pleasures forever.

A foolish caricature of heaven shows white-robed saints with halos and harps, resting on little white clouds; but the Bible gives no such description. In our glorified bodies, we shall be like Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3), and we shall worship and serve Him forever.

The pleasures of heaven will be far beyond any pleasures we have known here on earth, and as we enjoy the Lord and serve Him, we will not be restricted or encumbered by time, physical weakness, or the consequences of sin.

So magnificent are the glories of heaven that the apostle John had to ransack human language to find words to describe it (Rev. 21-22).


Is Jesus Christ the Lord of your life? Have you accepted your inheritance and are you making the most of it for His glory? Do you anticipate being with Christ in glory? Is He the joy of your life today; for if He isn’t, when will you be prepared to enjoy Him for all eternity?


Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Worshipful
Mattoon’s Treasures – Treasures from Treasured Psalms, Volume 1
Holman Old Testament Commentary

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