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Reflections on Psalm 16

Psalm 16*

A prayer of David.

Protect me, God, for the only safety I know is found in the moments I seek You.

This year I have become more aware of an underlying fear that drives a lot of my actions and influences many of my decisions. I desperately seek a sense of security and I fear almost anything that could threaten whatever stabilizers I’ve constructed to provide that security in my life. The problem, of course, is that none of my constructs are indestructible. What’s more, there are some areas of my life that seem beyond my ability to stabilize in any form or fashion. And in the moments when I recognize these realities, I am terrified.

I told You, Eternal One, “You are my Lord,
for the only good I know in this world is found in You alone.”

A wise woodcutter once said, “How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? … Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment!”**

Only the One who is Eternal has the perspective necessary to judge what is good. And Jesus said “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19). Thus, I find what is good in the One who is good.

The beauty of faith-filled people encompasses me.
They are true, and my heart is thrilled beyond measure.

In the company of those who are following Jesus, I find a light that shows me the truth about who God is and who I am. And in this beloved company, it is easier to deal with my fears because I am not alone.

All the while the despair of many,
who abandoned Your goodness for the empty promises of false gods, increases day by day.
I refuse to pour out blood offerings,
to utter their names from my lips.

So many things in life claim to offer the security that I seek! “Be this type of person! Do these certain things! Buy this product!” the hawkers shout, “And then you will have the life you want with nothing to fear!” Sometimes they are hard to ignore, but I know they are lying.

You, Eternal One, are my sustenance and my life-giving cup.
In that cup, You hold my future and my eternal riches.

Think of it: our means of nourishment and livelihood, our present experience and our future potentials—all encompassed by the Eternal One itself! Think of it: being held so completely and securely by One so unshakable.

My home is surrounded in beauty;
You have gifted me with abundance and a rich legacy.

Beauty is everywhere, if I choose to see it: the sky’s ever-changing kaleidoscope; the rain’s soft drumming; a tree’s exquisite sculpture; a heart-felt melody fervently played; a pet’s charming antics; a person’s genuine smile. The beauty and grace of God is lavishly spread all around me.

I will bless the Eternal, whose wise teaching orchestrates my days
and centers my mind at night.
He is ever present with me;
at all times He goes before me.
I will not live in fear or abandon my calling
because He stands at my right hand.

Here is where my heart rests in this Psalm. My heart rests in the truth that God’s wisdom is at work in me and in my life. My heart finds peace in the vision of the Eternal One standing with me at all times in all places.

This is a good life—my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy,
and my body is at rest.
Who could want for more?

It is not the right job, the right car, the right friends, the right house, the right family, or any of the other things the world’s hawkers claim that makes a good life. It is trusting God’s wise work and embracing divine companionship that makes the heart glad, fills the soul with joy, and provides the body with rest.

10 You will not abandon me to experience death and the grave
or leave me to rot alone.

11 Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life.
As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending,
and I know true joy and contentment.

 

 

*This Psalm is quoted from The Voice translation.

**Quoted from In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado, chapter 15.