Psalm 16 Reflections

This is a song of David that forcefully denies the belief that people must just live their lives doing the best they can and taking their chances with whatever life throws at them; never knowing for sure how it will all turn out. Read this pslam that is only eleven verses long and then let’s think through David’s thoughts after him.


1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.


2 I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."


3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 


4 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.


5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.


7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also, my heart instructs me.  8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.


9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol or let your holy one see corruption. 


11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 


This is a psalm written by a man who was fully convinced of the wisdom, on his part, of putting his trust and indeed his life in God’s hands. David says,


v. 1 “…in you I take refuge…”

v. 2 “You are my Lord;”

v. 5 “The LORD is my chosen portion…”

v. 8 “I have set the LORD always before me;”


Why such confidence in God? Because David realized that, as he said, “I have no good apart from you.” He knew his own heart and of his great need of, not just of any lord, but of Yahweh. He is the LORD of lords (vv.5, 7, 8), he is the LORD our Righteousness. 


David acknowledged, as he wrote this psalm, that he was enjoying God’s undeserved blessings in his life (v. 6). He was convinced that he would not be shaken or tossed away in this life. And he had confidence in God’s promises for the future (vv. 8, 9). In fact, he believed that even after death (vv. 10, 11) he would not be abandoned but would enjoy God’s presence forever more.


Again, why such confidence? Because he had listened to the Lord “who [gave him] counsel” v. 7 and had been open to listening to God’s guidance who “[made known to him] the path of life” v.11, learning as he did, to daily put his confidence, his trust, in God.


The point is that David learned he could fully count on the Lord – a good God, a promise-keeping Sovereign over all. And so, he chose to make Yahweh his refuge and Lord. He chose to always make the Lord his chosen portion. Are you doing that?


Despite the millennia separating us, we can today do as David did. We too can learn of him from his Word. Meditate on his ways. Seek to know him and rely on him in our daily walk.  And we too can experience the confidence and joy, as David did, from the One who will not let us go.