Morning Sermon: Psalm 16, Preserve Me, O God, For In You I Take Refuge

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New Testament Reading: Luke 24:1–12

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’ And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.” (Luke 24:1–12, ESV)

Old Testament  Reading: Psalm 16

“A MIKTAM OF DAVID. Preserve 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.’ As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 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. The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 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, ESV)

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Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

Introduction

On Tuesday I had the privilege of conducting a graveside service for the stepfather of one of our members. The cemetery was very beautiful. It was set up on a hill overlooking the city of Whittier and the greater Los Angeles area. After the service I did what I usually do whenever I am at a cemetery — I began to read the inscriptions on the gravestones. All of them had names and dates. Most had little phrases to honor the person buried there — Loving Mother; Beloved Father; etc. 

This might sound strange to you, but I think spending time in a cemetery is good for the soul. There is something healthy about watching the body of another being laid to rest in the earth. There is something sobering about reading gravestones. It should move us to think, someday people will have a service like this for me. Someday my body will also be laid to rest in the earth (that is unless the Lord returns before I die). I say it is healthy for the soul because it should move us to live each moment of our lives with the grave in mind. It should move us to remember that our time here is short, that death will touch us all, and that only God can preserve us through death. And how will he preserve us? How will he deliver us body and soul from death? Answer: through faith in Christ who died for our sins and on the third day was raised from the grave in victory.   

After the graveside service on Tuesday, a young man approached me. He was a teenager, I think. And he seemed to be serious and thoughtful. He simply asked me, so what’s next? As he pointed over to the grave of his relative that was now being filled in. This was an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with this young man! And so I proceeded to share what the scriptures teach regarding death, the temporary separation of the body from the soul — the body goes into the grave, and the soul goes either into the presence of God or to Hades — the resurrection of the body when the Lord returns, the final judgment, hell, and the new heavens and earth. Of course, I impressed upon him that we must be found in Christ, for in him we have the forgiveness of sins and the hope of life everlasting. It was a wonderful moment, but it was also a bit sobering and surreal given the setting. I do pray that the Lord would draw that young man to faith in Christ.

But here is the point: it was the grave that prompted him to ask the question, so what’s next? 

It will never cease to amaze me how few will take the time to ask this question. Loved ones pass away and people act surprised as if they did not know it would happen. And men and women attend memorials and graveside services and then walk away without considering that they too will be laid in the earth someday. “What’s next?”  You would think that that would be the question on everyone’s mind. Is there hope for life beyond the grave?

The Psalm that is before today is about this. Psalm 16 is a Psalm of David. That is what the title says: “A Miktam of David”. “Miktam” was probably a musical or liturgical term. We do not know exactly what it means. But it is said to be “of David”. So this Psalm, like Psalm 18 (and many others), was written by David, the king of Israel.   

After the opening line, this Psalm is divided into two parts, and the two parts mirror each other. In verses 2 through 6 David confesses that all of his trust and hope is set in the LORD. And in verses 7 through 11 David gives glory to the LORD who is trustworthy and deserving of all praise. If we were to analyze this Psalm carefully I think we would find that verse 7 corresponds to verse 2, verse 8 corresponds to verse 3, verse 9 to verse 4, verse 10 to verse 5, and verse 11 corresponds to verse 1.  

And though it is good to keep this structure in mind, the outline of the sermon for today is very simple. It goes like this: In Psalm 16 we find, 1) the confession of a faithful servant, 2) Concerning the LORD who is faithful and worthy of all our trust. Indeed we will find that he is to be trusted even for life beyond the grave.   

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The Confession Of A Faithful Servant (vs. 1-6)

So let us first consider the confession of King David, the LORD’s faithful servant. And by faithful I do not only mean obedient. Indeed, those who are faithful to the LORD are obedient — they strive to keep God’s law. And David, imperfect as he was, certainly did strive to keep God’s law as a faithful servant of the Lord. But by faithful, I also mean, full of faith. Who are the faithful ones? Yes, they are those who strive to obey God. But before this they trust him! So do you wish to be numbered amongst the faithful ones? Then do not start and end with obedience. Start instead with faith. Start with trust! And then after believing upon God and the Christ that he has sent, continue in the faith with obedience.  

This might seem like the splitting of a hair, but it is in fact the difference between true and false religion. The self-righteous say, “I will earn God’s favor through my obedience”, but they never do. They cannot. This is because all are in sin. But the faithful say, “I will trust in God and in Christ who has paid for all my sins, and then I will serve him out of gratitude”. This is what the faithful ones do. They trust and obey.  

King David was faithful. And by this I mean he was full of faith. 

Verse 1: “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.”

Consider the opening line of this Psalm. It is not a commitment, but a cry for help! “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” 

“Preserve me”, he says. Guard me, watch over me, keep me.   

Friends, God is the Creator of all things seen and unseen. But we should not forget that he is also the preserver of all things seen and unseen. He creates, and then he upholds. He gives life, and he sustains life. 

This is a very humbling truth. We like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient. But we are not self-sufficient. Not in the least bit! This should be clear to anyone who would take the time to think about it. You did not create yourself. You did not bring yourself into existence. No, you were born, and this according to the will of God. And even now you are dependent upon many things for your existence — air, water, food, and other things external to yourself. Above all, you are dependent on God, for as Paul and others have said, “In him, we live and move and have our being”… “For we are indeed his offspring” (Acts 17:28, ESV). God preserves us. He holds us in his hand. He sustains us. He shelters us.

David knew this. And so he cried out, “preserve me, O God”. And it will soon become clear that he was concerned with being preserved, not merely in this life, but also through death, and in the life to come. Friends, if it is true that God must preserve us in this life. How much more so that he must preserve us through death and in the life to come. 

So the Psalmist says, “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” Let me make two remarks about the word “refuge”. 

One, the word refuge communicates preservation through trouble. And so the thought is advanced. Preserve me, LORD, not only in the good times but also in times of trouble. As I have already said, it will become clear in a moment that David has, not only the troubles of this life in mind but the trial of death itself. Where did King David flee for refuge? Did he trust in his army, or in his fortress? Not ultimately. No, he trusted in the LORD. He knew that only the LORD could deliver him, body and soul, even through the trail of death.

Two, the word “refuge” should remind us of what we heard at the conclusion of Psalm 2. You remember that Psalms 1 and 2 function as the introduction to the Psalter. And in Psalm 2, after the truth concerning our sin and the final judgment are expressed, we hear the gospel: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” And so with this blessing, this declaration, we were sent on our way to consider the rest of the Psalms: “Blessed are all who take refuge in [the Son]”, the LORD’s Anointed. 

If you were to look up all the occurrences of this Hebrew word translated as “refuge” you would find that occurs very frequently in the Psalms, and especially in the first book of the Psalter, that is to say in Psalms 3-41. Psalm 2 says, “Blessed are all who take refuge in [the Son]”. And in the first book of the Psalter, this is what we find David and others doing, or encouraging others to do. They take refuge in the Son, and they encourage others to do the same (to see this you may go to Psalms 5:11, 7:1. 11:1, 16:1. 17:7, 18:2, 18:30, 25:20, 31:1, 31:19, 34:8, 34:22, 36:7, and 37:40). 

God is our refuge and strength. 

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8, ESV)

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7, ESV)

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57:1, ESV)

I have already taught you that Psalms are about Jesus. And so it is right for us to hear these words as David’s words, but even more so they are the words of Jesus the Messiah. David was faithful, but not as faithful as Jesus. David trusted in the LORD to preserve him, but Jesus trusted even more. When Jesus hung on that cross he cried out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46, ESV). Jesus entrusted himself to the Father always, and especially at the moment of death. More than this, when David placed his trust in the LORD he was in fact placing his trust in Jesus the LORD’s Anointed, who would descend from him according to the promise of God. 

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” What a marvelous declaration this is. And so I ask you, have you run to the LORD and to his Messiah for refuge? Is he your security, your strength, your stronghold? Or is your hope placed in something else? All else will fail you in the end, my friends. 

After this initial plea for help, verses 2 through 6 consist of four declarations or confessions. These are the confessions of one who has placed their trust in the LORD. And so I think they will serve as a litmus test for us, therefore. In other words, these are things that one who is faithful (or full of faith) will say. And so as we consider David’s words I might ask, have you made the same confession? 

Verse 2: “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’”

 First of all, the Psalmist says, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

The LORD (YHWH) was David’s Lord, or Master (Adoni). And so I ask, is the LORD your Lord? Now, the LORD is the Lord whether or not he is your Lord. I hope you understand this. Even if the whole world were to deny God, God would still be God, for he does not depend on us. No, we depend on him. But when I ask you, is the LORD your Lord, I am asking you, have you bowed the knee before him? Have you acknowledged him as supreme? Is he your authority? And are you his servant? 

The scriptures are clear that to be saved one must have Jesus as Lord. Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, ESV). If we wish to have Jesus as Savior, we must have him as Lord. If he is not your Lord, then he is not your Savior. Instead, he is your judge. This is why it is such a contradiction for someone to claim to believe in Christ but to live as if they are ruled by someone else. Those who believe in Jesus do also serve him. And so again I ask, is the LORD your Lord? Have you bowed the knee before God and his Anointed One?

“You are my Lord”, is David’s leading confession. And this must be the leading confession of all of God’s people. We must come to God and say, your are my Lord. Jesus is Lord. But then David adds these words: “I have no good apart from you.”

If you compare English Bible translations you will see that this Hebrew phrase is a little difficult to translate, for there are many different renditions of it. But the meaning is clear, I think. David is here confessing that the LORD is himself his greatest good, and that every other good thing that he enjoys comes from God’s hand. 

“I have no good apart from you”, David says. This same idea is found in Psalm 73:25 where Asaph speaks to the LORD saying, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25, ESV).

I do love how David’s confession, “You are my Lord”, is paired together with his confession, “I have no good apart from you”. The declaration, “you are my Lord” is prone to be misunderstood. It can be taken to mean that David’s relationship to the LORD is characterized by slavish fear, distance, formality, coldness, and dryness. Indeed, this is the kind of relationship that many servants have had with their earthy masters. But no, though YHWH is David’s Lord, he is also David’s delight. 

And how is it for you, my friends? I hope Jesus is your Lord. I hope you have bowed the knee before him. I hope that you serve him faithfully. But I pray that you also love him, knowing that he has set his love upon you. 

Think of it. David — King David — a man of great power and wealth spoke to the LORD, saying, “I have no good apart from you.” In other words, you are my greatest good, Oh Lord. You are my treasure. You are my delight. 

And this too must be the confession of all of God’s faithful. I am not saying that it is a separate confession from the first one, but a companion confession. For when we say, Jesus is Lord, we do not mean that he is merely our Master — distant, harsh, and cold. No, we mean to say that he is our Master and friend. He is our Lord and savior. He is our Ruler, but he is also to be our delight. What is the greatest commandment, friends? “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV).

The LORD is to be our Lord, but he is also to be our delight. The mature in Christ understand this. The mature in Christ do not merely obey Christ out of duty. No, they obey him as they delight in him. Perhaps you have heard it said that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”? (J. Piper). I think that is very true. Yes, we glorify God when we obey him. But more than this we glorify God when we take refuge in him, trust him, love him, and obey him because we delight in him. 

Verse 3: “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

Look now to verse 3. It is there that we find David’s second confession: “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

So those who are faithful delight in God, and they also delight in God’s people. 

Who are “the saints”? They are those whose sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ. Or, to use the language of this Psalm, they are all those who have taken refuge in the LORD and in his Anointed. The “saints” are those who delight in God and have believed in the Son. 

As David looked out upon his kingdom he saw saints and sinners (of course, saints are sinners too, but they have been washed and renewed). David saw the godly and the ungodly. And he considered the saints to be the “excellent ones”. He delighted in them. He cherished their companionship. 

Verse 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.” 

In verse 4 we find another declaration: “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.” 

Just as the word “refuge” was to remind us of Psalm 2, I think this statement is to remind us of Psalm 1, which says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law, he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1–2, ESV). 

David is here declaring that he has taken the right path. He perceives that though the wicked might prosper for a time, their end is destruction. And he has determined to not walk, stand, nor sit with them. His delight is in the LORD and the LORD’s people. He will not associate with the wicked in their wickedness. 

I wonder if you see the connection here between the first declaration, and the second and third. David claimed to delight in God above all else — “I have no good apart from you”, he said. And this delight for God which was hidden away in his heart did manifest itself through his associations. Because David loved God above all else, he also loved to assemble and associate with God’s people, but he refused to associate with the wicked in their wickedness, for his heart was not with them.

To put the matter most directly: If we truly delight in God, then we should also delight in God’s people, and refuse to associate with the wicked in their wickedness, whatever form it takes.  

Verses 5 and 6: “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

In verses 5 and 6 we find the fourth of David’s four confessions: “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

Like verse 2, verse 5 is a little difficult to translate from Hebrew into English. Again, you can see this by comparing the English translations. There is great diversity in the translations. But again, the meaning is clear. 

David is here saying, I have an inheritance awaiting me, and I have a portion even now, and it is the LORD. Did you hear this? David did not say, I have an inheritance awaiting me, and I have a portion even now, and it comes from the LORD. No, the LORD himself is David’s heritage and portion. “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup…” (Psalm 16:5, ESV).

This is truly marvelous. King David, a man of great power and wealth, considered all of his possessions and said, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup…” In other words, of all that I have, this is the one thing that really matters: belonging to the LORD, knowing him, and having him as LORD and God. 

This reminds me of what Paul said. After telling us of all that he had in this world, he said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—” (Philippians 3:7–9, ESV). 

What did Paul consider to be of surpassing worth? Christ. Above all, he wanted to have Christ, and to be found in Christ. And that is what the Psalmist is saying here. “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup…” When all is considered, I wish to have the LORD. Everything else pales in comparison. 

When the Psalmist says, “you hold my lot” and “the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places”, he is expressing contentment with his lot in life and gratitude for the LORD’s blessing upon him. 

Contentment, brothers and sisters, is a great gift. As Paul says, “godliness with contentment is great gain…” (1 Timothy 6:6, ESV). And I suppose that we might be tempted to say, well, of course, David was content with his “lot” in life, and with the “lines” that the LORD drew for him, for he was King! Well, go ahead and review the story of David’s life. Though he would eventually become King, and though he would eventually have great power and wealth, his life was marked by hardship and heartache. And yet he was content with God’s will for him. 

I have found that many people struggle with discontentment. In fact, I think discontentment is a major problem within our society — it is a root problem. Stated differently, I have found that many struggle to keep the Tenth Commandment, which says, “thou shall not covet”. It is so easy for us to fixate on what we do not have, or on what others have that we wish we had, be it money, possessions, status, or privilege. But God has called us to be content in him. Contentment is not complacency — these two things are not the same. To be content is to be satisfied and at peace concerning God’s will for you. 

And I think you can see the connection. If God is our delight — if he is our chosen portion — then we will find our contentment in him, rather than in the things of this world. Even the very poor and downtrodden may find their contentment in God when they say to him, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” And so too the rich and powerful may find true contentment in him. If we wish to be content, we must find our contentment in the LORD.

And this is how David concludes this first portion of the Psalm: He declares, “indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” The LORD is David’s beautiful inheritance. The new heavens and earth earned by Christ is David’s inheritance. And this is the inheritance of all who take refuge in the Messiah. 

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Concerning the LORD Who Is Faithful And Worthy Of All Our Trust (vs. 7-11)

We still need to consider the second half of this Psalm, but as you can see we are well beyond the midpoint of the time allotted for this sermon. We will move rather quickly. In verses 2 through 6 David made confessions or declarations regarding his faith. But in verses 7 through 11 David speaks concerning the LORD who is faithful and worthy of all our trust. 

As I have said, the second half of the Psalm does seem to correspond to the first. Here we do not find confessions or declarations, but rather statements regarding God’s goodness and faithfulness. In other words, David is saying, it for this reason that I take refuge in the LORD, have him as my Lord, delight in him, delight in his people, flee from the wicked, and am content with my inheritance. The second half of this Psalm answers the first half. In the first half David says, this is what is in my heart. My faith is in the LORD. And in the second half David says, here is why. My faith is in the LORD because he is faithful — he is worthy of my trust. 

Verse 7: “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.” 

In verse 7 we read, “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.” This corresponds to the declaration of verse 2, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’”

Here David blessed the LORD. He praises him and acknowledges that it is the LORD who gives him counsel. The LORD is the source of all wisdom. And for this reason, David has the LORD as his Lord and counselor. 

Verse 8: “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” 

In verse 8 we read, “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” I believe this relates to verse 3 where David says, “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”  

You ask “Where is the connection?”. Well, both verses have to do with companionship and associations. David delighted in the saints of God. He surrounded himself with the faithful ones. But this he did because he desired to have God himself at his right hand. Though it is true that David delighted in the saints of the LORD, and though it is true that associated with them, his trust was ultimately in the LORD. It was because the LORD was always before him, and it was because the LORD was at his right hand, that David was not shaken. But this was manifest through his companionship  

with the saints of the LORD. 

Verse 9: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” 

In verse 9 we read, “therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” This corresponds to and contrasts verse 4, which says, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply…”

How true it is that the sorrows of those who run after other gods shall multiply. Their sorrows multiply in this life, for they have lived according to a lie. But their sorrows will certainly multiply at the judgment. But in contrast David, and all who are faithful with him, have hearts that are glad, they rejoice, they do not even fear the destruction of their flesh. Why?

Verse 10: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”

In verse 10 we find the answer: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” 

Now we have finally come to the root of the matter. Why did David trust the LORD? Why did he run to the LORD for refuge? Why did he have the LORD as his Lord? Why did he delight in him, and in his people? Why did he choose to walk in the way of the righteous and to forsake the way of the wicked?  And why was he content in the LORD, being satisfied with the LORD as his inheritance?

I’m sure there are many reasons. But the answer that is given here is, he knew that the LORD would keep him even through death. He believed — truly believed — that the Lord would “not abandon [his] soul to Sheol, or let [his] holy one see corruption.”

Verse 10 is very important.

It is the climax of this Psalm, for it explains everything that precedes it. It gets to the root of the matter. The LORD is to be our refuge because he alone can preserve in life and through death.

You can easily see how verse 10 explains verse 9. Why was David’s “heart… glad”? And why did his “whole being rejoice”? The answer is found in verse 10: Because he knew that God would not abandon his soul to Sheol. 

Human beings are made up of two parts. We have a body and we have a soul. Sheol (in the Hebrew), or Hades (in the Greek), is the realm where the souls of the deceased go. Prior to the resurrection of Christ, the wicked were punished there, and the righteous were comforted there. After the resurrection of Christ the souls of those in Christ go immediately to heaven where they enjoy the blessed presence of God. But David, writing long before the life, death, and resurrection of Christ was confident. Though his soul would go to Sheol after he died (because David was faithful, his soul would go to paradise, or Abraham’s bosom as was called), he knew for certain that God would not abandon his soul to Sheol. No, God would keep him and deliver him from Sheol. 

And why in verse 9 did David say, “my flesh also dwells secure”? Didn’t he know that his body would eventually die, be put into the grave, and decompose? Yes, he knew this. But he was also certain that his flesh would dwell secure. How? Verse 10 answers this question when it says “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” 

“Corruption” obviously refers to the destruction of the body. But who is this “holy one” mentioned at the end of verse 10? Well, considered on one level, it is David. He was sure that his body would not be destroyed or lost forever. But there is a deeper meaning. We know that the Holy One of verse 10 is in fact Jesus the Christ, David’s greater Son. 

You may read the Apostle Peter’s sermon that he delivered on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 to see that this is the proper interpretation. These words of David are in fact about Christ and the resurrection. After citing Psalm 16:8-11, including this phrase “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption”, Peter says, “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:29–32, ESV)

This Psalm is about David. It is David’s confession of faith in the LORD who is faithful. But it is really about Jesus — his death, burial, and resurrection. Why was David so confident? Why was he so sure? Because he understood that God would provide a Savior for him — a Savior that would rescue him and keep him through death, body and soul. This Savior is Jesus the Christ, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, The Son of God. 

Verse 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.” 

Verse 11 rounds everything out and brings us back to the start. We must run to LORD and to his Anointed for refuge, for he “make[s] known to [us] the path of life; in [his] presence there is fullness of joy; at [his] right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

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Conclusion

Brothers and sisters, it is good for us to think about death, which is the separation of the body and the soul. And it is good for us to ask the question, what’s next?  The body goes into the earth, but the soul goes either to heaven or to Sheol — to paradise or to punishment. But at the end of this age, all will be raised. And all will stand before God the judge. Knowing this, we should then ask, what must I do to be saved? The answer is that we must in this life turn from our sins, place our faith in the Christ, and say Jesus is Lord through the waters of baptism. “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, ESV). Thanks be to God that he will not abandon us, body or soul. No, he is our refuge. He will keep us. And this he will do by virtue of the salvation that Christ has accomplished for us in his life, death, burial, and resurrection. “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:12, ESV)

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"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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