You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead . . .. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. – Psalm 16:10-11
1 A psalm of David. Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.”
5 LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.
7 I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night, my heart instructs me.
8 I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Ah, to be in love. Love and belonging are core needs of people. We are intuitively aware of this inner longing. Harvard conducted a 75-year longitudinal study that suggested that love is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. Falling in love often includes a bit of emotional and physiological unsteadiness. One’s focus revolves around the positive qualities of the beloved. Some characteristics of love include expressions of affection, a wish to please and satisfy, open sharing of personal feelings, diminished self-interest, honesty, trust, and genuine appreciation of who and what the other person is.
Who does not want to be “in love”?
The Psalms are a collection of prayers to the Father from real people in real-life everyday situations. The Psalms have a different modality that sets them apart from the other 65 books of Scripture. In the rest of Scripture, the Father is the one revealing Himself to us. He is the One doing most of the talking, personally or through His spokesmen. In contrast, the Psalms are the record of people talking to the Father. In Psalm 16, David uses first-person pronouns (I, me, my) twenty-eight times. He talks to God to the Father regarding his hope and security in Him.
“David first commits himself fully to God. He trusts God to protect him like the Secret Service protects the President. He trusts God to provide every good thing. There is no Plan B in this kind of commitment. If God does not come through for him, he is finished. This sort of commitment is where faith begins” (James A. Johnston).
David fell deeply in love with the Father. The Father became the passion of his life and the source of his delight. David was totally twitterpated and his life became utterly Theo-centric. His relationship with the Father was beautiful and idyllic. David delights in the Father’s presence. He is elated with the constant intimacy the Father provides. The Father is always with him, even right beside him. Was David presumptuous to dare to think that the Father was at his right hand (Psalms 16:8)? Not at all. That is the essence of having a close personal relationship with the living God. Such delightful intimacy is available to each child of the King.
Psalms 16:9 My heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my life is safe.
There is an unusual expression in this verse that is variously translated: my glory rejoices, my whole being rejoices, my glory is gleeful, I rejoice, or I am happy. The Hebrew literally reads, my glory rejoices. What an unusual expression. The word glory, which is the translation of the Hebrew kabod, is normally associated with the Father alone (Exodus 33:18, 22). The glory of the LORD is a manifestation of His presence. Glory in this context signifies the inner man, the spirit. The thought is that David’s joy and excitement are deeply felt. “His relationship to God involves the entire person, body, mind, and spirit” (Tesh and Zorn).
As a result, David was stable and secure. He is not shaken because the Father has guided and instructed him day and night. Can anything interrupt his close companionship with the Father? Will it one day be terminated by death? David offers the most beautiful of answers.
David knows that the Father is both the giver of life and the sustainer of life. He also is aware that the Father has authority over death and the grave. Therefore, David reasons that if the Father is near him in life, He will be near him in death, and then He will also be with him beyond death. “Where God is, there is life” (Tesh and Zorn).
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father often gives us His counsel when we grow quiet enough to listen to Him while in bed or getting ready for sleep. We must be ready to listen at all times because He may be ready to speak at any time (Stanley).
Father, You alone offer deep, internal calmness and peace to those who seek and find You in their times of greatest need. But even more wonderfully, You are with us every moment and we can delight in Your presence.
The Psalm has risen to a crescendo. David shifts from a focus on his current well-being to the coming delights of being in the Father’s presence after death. His terrestrial, temporal well-being will be transformed into fullness of pleasure forevermore.
Psalms 16:11 You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
“This verse is unsurpassed for the beauty of the prospect it opens up, in words of the utmost simplicity. The path of life is so called, not only because of its goal but because to walk that way is to live, in the true sense of the word, already. It leads without a break into God’s presence and into eternity” (Kidner).
David speaks of the difference between life with and life without the Father (Kirkpatrick). The Father who has given life will not only sustain it but also enhance it beyond death. The Father is the Lord of life, here and now, and forever.
“In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned on each one of us . . . either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised” (C. S. Lewis).