3-Week Series: Double Blessing

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Summary: No study of this psalm can be complete unless we see, somewhere in its shadows, the glorious person of whom David was a type, the great, glorious Savior of mankind.

March 30, 2014

Tom Lowe

Psalm 16

Title: The Prayer of a righteous Man

A Psalm of David. Michtam of David.

Psalm 16 (KJV)

1Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Introduction

This is a very personal psalm that focuses on the goodness of the Lord. The personal pronoun “my” is used over a dozen times (my trust, my goodness, my cup, etc.). David’s joy (vv. 9, 11) is expressed in words like “delight” (vv. 3, 6), “pleasant” and “pleasure” (vv. 6, 11), and “glad” (v. 9). David finds his delight only in the Lord and confesses that everything good in his life has come from God. This psalm may have been written shortly after the Lord gave His gracious covenant to David and assured him of an enduring throne (2 Sam. 7). That covenant was eventually fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David (Luke 1:32-33). The style of David’s response to the covenant (2 Sam. 7:18-29) matches that of Psalm 16, a combination of joy, praise to God, humility, and submission to the divine will.

In our study of the psalms, thus far, it seems as if David’s life is always in danger, especially in those turbulent years when he fled from King Saul. There was one occasion when David deliberately spared Saul’s life, and then he retreated to an adjacent hilltop and called across the valley to the king. He held up Saul’s spear and the flask of water that had stood beside his bed—graphic evidence that, except for his mercy, Saul would be dead, killed by the hand of David. Then David protested to Saul and the language he used (1 Sam. 26:19-20){1] is echoed in verses 4-6 of this psalm, which seems to have been written about the time of this incident.

This is a michtam psalm. There are six psalms which bear this description, all are by David and all were written during David’s self-imposed exile. The other five are psalms 56-60. The word michtam has been explained in various ways. Some thinks it comes from a word meaning to engrave, or sculptured writing. If that is the case, the thought would be that here something is preserved that should never be forgotten. Interestingly enough, each one of the michtam psalms preserves the thought of resurrection. Some think the word michtam is mystical in nature, “a psalm of hidden, mysterious meaning.” Others say the word means “a golden psalm.” Michtam suggests that this psalm was one of David’s golden meditations, dealing with truth so significant, it should be preserved forever, although originally a personal, private meditation. All six of the michtam psalms end on a happy and triumphant note. This is also a Messianic psalm, for in his message at Pentecost (Acts 2:25-28){5], Peter said it referred to Jesus, and so did Paul in his sermon in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:35){6].

No study of this psalm can be complete unless we see, somewhere in its shadows, the glorious person of whom David was a type, the great, glorious Savior of mankind. Both Peter and Paul cite it as referring to Christ. “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (16:10) is clearly a prophesy of the Lord Jesus.

We are going to look at this psalm, however, more in light of what it meant to David and what it ought to mean to us. We will also investigate the minor disagreement concerning the identity of the man in the psalm—Christ or David?

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