Summary: Psalm 16 pictures the resurrection of Jesus which makes it possible to choose the path of life.
This week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, more commonly known and William and Kate, announced that they are going to have a baby. And it’s really not surprising that when their child is born sometime next year, the whole world will watch and will celebrate the birth of the child who will be third in line to the throne of England.
From the world’s perspective, it’s certainly much more surprising that this month the whole world will celebrate the birth of another child that took place over 2,000 years ago to a young unknown couple in the small town of Bethlehem that was witnessed only by his parents, a few animals and some shepherds.
Even though the birth of William and Kate’s baby is certainly much more noteworthy according to our world standards, it will be long forgotten in a generation or two, relegated to the history books. So what is it about the birth of Jesus that keeps it in the public eye two millennia later?
In our journey through some of the Messianic Psalms we’ve begun to answer that question. Certainly, as we saw in Psalm 8, the humility that caused Jesus to leave the glory of heaven and take on the body of a baby is something worth taking note of. And the suffering that the grown Jesus suffered on our behalf that we saw last week in Psalm 88 is also noteworthy. But there have been other humble men born throughout history. And there have certainly been men who suffered and died terrible deaths for a good cause as well.
The primary reason that the birth of Jesus is such a noteworthy event is found in the Psalm that we’ll look at this morning – Psalm 16. Go ahead and follow along as I read that passage:
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.
Psalm 16:1-11 (ESV)
What a refreshing change from Psalm 88 last week! We had to really dig deep to find hope in the midst of that Psalm didn’t we? But this Psalm is full of hope and joy, especially in the final verse. After all who doesn’t want to experience that kind of life – one where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore? So we’re going to focus this morning on the phrase that the Psalmist uses in that last verse which is really the theme of the entire Psalm...
THE PATH OF LIFE
This Psalm, like all of the Messianic psalms we’ve looked at so far, also operates on two levels. On the surface, it reflects the prayer of David who celebrates the joy of his journey on the path of life. But at a deeper level, this Psalm also pictures the resurrection of Jesus. That is the event that makes the birth of Jesus so significant. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, then His birth and His suffering and death on the cross would have been long forgotten.
So this morning as we examine this Psalm, we’re going to begin with the Messianic implications of the Psalm and then we’ll go back and see how David’s words can help us take the path of life. We really need to approach this Psalm that way because…
• The resurrection of Jesus makes it possible to choose the path of life
We don’t have to speculate at all about whether this Psalm pictures the resurrection of Jesus. Both Peter and Paul quote this Psalm in their preaching that is recorded for us in the Book of Acts and clearly apply it to that vital event. We’ll begin with a portion of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost: