Reading: Psalm 16.


This Psalm of David (Ps.16) reveals to us a covenant relationship that involves living faith on David’s part and eternal faithfulness on God’s. In the title to the Psalm we are told that this is a ‘miktam’ of David. The actual meaning of this term is not known but it is most likely a musical or literary term. One suggestion is that, because a similar word in Hebrew means ‘covering’, some commentators believe it is a Psalm of atonement.

However, in Hebrew ‘miktam’ has two possible meanings; firstly it can mean golden and secondly it can mean secret. For study purposes the Psalm can be divided into two sections. Section one: (v1-6) concerns the realms of our life that need to be committed to the Lord and Section two: (v7-11) speaks of the rewards we receive for living our lives founded upon God.

As we study the Psalm we see that in many ways it lays before us the ‘golden secret’ of a God centred life – described as a life filled with joy and blessing for both now and for eternity.

1. THE REALMS: (v1-6)

v1) “Keep me safe…”Security – David knew that if he placed his life into God’s hands then he would know a ‘safe refuge’ from the immediate trials and also a tangible sense of security for all that the future might hold.

v2) “You are my Lord…”Welfare – God is all the goodness we have. David knew this and declared that the Lordship of God in his life was the source of life’s ‘good things’. In another of his Psalms (Psalm 34) David would say v8) “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

v3) “As for the saints…”Company – David describes God’s people as being both “saints” and “glorious ones”. The Hebrew meaning here means people who reflect God’s moral character and actions. David says that he finds ‘all his delight’ in God’s people. The Apostle Paul also knew the wisdom and blessing of fellowship with God’s people. He wrote (1Cor 15:33) “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

v4) “The sorrows of those…”Worship – Here David extols the urgent need to worship YHWH exclusively. Running after other gods will only bring sorrow. Our God is a jealous God and will have no other gods before or after Him. (Isa.45:5)

v5&6) “Lord you have assigned me…”Ambition – David acknowledges God’s provision for his life. The “portion and cup” speak of a delightful inheritance. When God raised up Aaron and the other Levites to be Priests amongst the people of Israel He told them that they would have no inheritance or share in the Promised Land instead He told them (Num.18:20) “I am your share and inheritance among the Israelites.” The “lot and line” alludes to the ancient division of land and refers to the boundaries and expanse of all God has given David as his inheritance. David’s conclusion is – “surely I have a delightful inheritance..”.

2. THE REWARDS: (v7-11)

v7) “I will praise the Lord…”Guidance – Often when we pray to God we can simply be asking Him to ‘rubber stamp’ the plans we have already made. However, in this Psalm, David is full of praise for God because the Lord counsels and instructs him both day and night. In each of our lives we are faced with so many decisions, some small and some large, but all in real need of Godly counsel.


Sunday 16th August 2020 A.M. (Bristol Road Baptist) Cont’d… 

At such times we can depend on the Lord’s instruction and counsel which is always available whatever the time or circumstance. John assures us that God’s Holy Spirit acts as our divine ‘Counsellor’ who will guide us into ‘all truth’. (Jn.16:13)

v8) “I have set the Lord before me…” Stability – David had ‘set’ God both before and about his life. The presence and power of God surrounded his life like a protective shield and this was the source of the stability in David’s life – “I shall not be shaken”. The writer to the Hebrews declares (Heb 13:6) “So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

v9) “Therefore my heart is glad..” Contentment – Because of all that knowing and trusting God brings him David’s heart is “glad”, his tongue “rejoices” and his body will “rest secure”. The joy of his relationship with God is three-fold – It is known, it is experienced and it is expressed.

v10) “..because you will not abandon me…”Resurrection – This is a Messianic reference and is used as such by New Testament writers. In his Pentecost message (Acts 2:25) the Apostle Peter declared verses from it (v8-11) and said they were – “…about Him” meaning the risen Christ, and the Apostle Paul also re-enforced this message when he quoted from the Psalm as he spoke in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:35&36).

David was confident that he would know the resurrection to eternal life because of God’s faithfulness and saving grace. As Christians we have even more reason to be confident. Because of Christ’s resurrection we can be assured that we too shall rise!

v11) “You have made known to me..” Eternal joy – This is not seen as some future blessing alone. David tells us that he knows this blessing now because the Lord has already made known to him the “path of life”. However the consummation of this blessing is known when we receive God’s “eternal pleasures” at His right hand in glory.

Jesus came that we might have life – abundant life on the earth and eternal life in His presence.

What a precious blessing – a golden secret that we can’t merely keep to our-selves but must share with those around us so that they too can have the opportunity of a living relationship with our faithful God.


John Piper –‘The greatest joy is joy in God. This is plain from Psalm 16. ..Fullness of joy and eternal joy cannot be improved. Nothing is fuller than full, and nothing is longer than eternal. And this joy is owing to the presence of God, not the accomplishments of man.’