Friday, April 1, 2011

Psalm 16 – Even in Lament, I Choose You, O LORD

“Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you’.”

~Psalm 16:1-2 (NRSV).

The true believer never sees themselves apart from God for too long, because they know that repentance (turning back to God) is a necessity for life.

Allegiances Bind Us

If we wish to reap the blessings of God, we also need to align our lives with the holiness code of the Lord. This is the case insofar as we cannot draw upon such blessings without coming close; that requires us to be in right situational relationship with God — a state produced by repentance.

David was ardent for God — and there may not be another psalm that categorically states it as convincingly as this one.

He’s quick to point out also (in verse 4) that those serving other gods “multiply their sorrows.”

Counting His (and Our) Blessings

David’s found happily counting the things that he calls his — in this case of verse 6, the land. These blessings are apportioned to the Lord’s favour. We too are given our material things and they’re handed to us for responsible discharge of duty as well as for our enjoyment. We use them for God’s greater glory.

God’s faithfulness to the psalmist is also abounding in tangible spiritual blessing (verse 8). Safety is counted upon and known.

The alignment of God’s counsel with David’s heart (verse 7) is also reason for confidence, as we can know too. What assurance there is when our intrinsic thought lines up with the Divine. The heart conformed to God is now able to instruct us; suddenly we trust our God-infused wisdom; and it’s vindicated, building more confidence.

Thankfulness Becomes the One Focused On Such Blessing

Can it be any other way when we see how much we have rather than noting what we don’t have?

Verses 9-11 end the psalm in characteristic praise, fit for a godly lament. David’s heart is “glad” and his “soul rejoices.” Sorrow has given way to them.

And ours hearts and souls do too. We know that God is faithful and nothing and no one can be followed in comparison to God — least of all ourselves.

We know that it’s best to swing back God’s way and give over to him the pride of our hearts that’s estranged to this thankfulness. Complaint loses sight of the goodness provident in life. Pride always wants what it thinks it is due, without acceding to God’s rule regarding what we’re actually due.

The person like David, however, whose focus is on the Lord — for the fact they’ve chosen a higher moral standard for life — is given over to thankfulness. And they do not stand upon ceremony to achieve it.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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