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COVID Study: Week 6 - Psalm 16: The Path of Life


  • Title: A Michtam of David - Michtam commonly understood as golden

  • Others think it is related to a word meaning to cover.

  • Since the Psalms with this title (16, 56-60) are written from times of peril,

  • Covering the lips in the sense of secrecy, as if this were a secret or silent Psalm given in a time of crisis.

  • David found the secret of contentment and great gladness even in pressing times

  • Also speaks powerfully of Jesus and His work for us.

  • God gives us the fullness of joy and pleasures forever.

I've split the psalm into statements of confidence and statements of benefits of knowing God.

Statements of Confidence

Verse 1

Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust:

  • David knows God but he still doesn’t feel safe when he wrote this.

  • It’s a time of trouble, because he asked for preservation, Cry of fear but he knew God

  • Yet the tone of this Psalm is not despair or complaint; it is amazing joy.

  • Despite his trouble, David was 1) confident and 2) he stated the benefits of knowing God

  • Preserve me from the world; devil, myself; others, addictions.

Verse 2

You are my Lord

  • My goodness is nothing apart from You: David knew that at his very best - all of his goodness - was nothing apart from God.

  • Not saying there is nothing good. There are lots of good things- technology during COVID, frieds….

  • What he is saying is that if I don’t know God it means nothing.

Verse 3

In vv. 3-4 David contrasts two groups. There are the saints: God’s people who worship him. Then there are the idolaters who worship idols. David delights in the former and rejects the latter.

As for the saints who are on the earth:

  • He delights in the saints because of God

  • despite all their failings, scandals, and embarrassments.

  • We are so negative about the people of God

  • Question: Can you see excellence in all God's people?

  • Can we delight in them?

  • One scholar wrote - This is a way you can measure your relationship to the Lord. Do you love other Christians? Do you seek their company? This is a simple test. Those who love the Lord will love the company of those who also love him."

Verse 4

  • Remember he said preserve me. Other gods cannot preserve me- money, status, job, stuff, whatever…

  • I am so totally in love with God. I am totally satisfied with God I wont worship another God.

  • I wont say the peoples names that worship other gods.

  • Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer:

  • "Many heathens sacrificed to their idols (that is, to devils) with man's blood, against all laws of humanity and piety."

  • In addition, the priests of Baal offered their own bloodto their false god;

  • Some Roman Catholics (1960’s) and Muslims also whip themselves to blood, offering their blood to their twisted conception of God.

  • O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot:

  • Contrast: nothing found in the pagan gods,

Verse 5

  • David declares that God is what he prizes about all else – his greatest treasure (God is his chosen portion).

  • Right now we have an opportunity – we are not just supposed to hold our breath until its all over.

  • When everything is stripped away we can declare- God you are my everything!

  • During COVID we have a deep desire to get back to normal- but we need to be careful what normal is- whatever had been giving our life meaning may not be able to preserve us.

Verse 6

  • David explained all the good he received from Yahweh. It is Pleasant and beautiful

  • You are the portion of my inheritance:

  • David was the youngest son in a family with many sons. He could expect no inheritancefrom his family; yet he took joy and comfort in the fact that God was the portion of his inheritance. The lines that marked out his inheritance had fallen to him in pleasant places. Borders hedge us in – protect us.

  • You maintain my lot:This described the portion of David's inheritance. David was confident that God would maintain what He had first given to him. David was protected by God. He is one the the majestic ones. He has an eternal inheritance.

  • He is content with what God has given him.

  • A mark of our age - especially with the Baby Boom generation and perhaps even more with those following - is discontentment, boredom, and restlessness. A generation with short attention spans, the constant need for excitement and adrenaline rushes, and 24-hour a day entertainment needs to know by experience what David knew.

Statement of Benefits – What are the benefits of having God as our treasure?

Verse 7

  • God is counselor. Holy Spirit.

  • So if we are in danger we can find refuge, a path of safety in God

  • My heart (mind) also instructs me in the night seasons: This was because David's heart was instructed first by God and His Word, and therefore could also instruct him in the ways of God.

Verse 8

  • AFFIRMATION - I have set the LORD always before me:This speaks of a decision David made to put God first in his life. He determined that God would always be his focus, his perspective.

  • I will not be shaken.

  • Starts with preserve me- ends with I will not be shaken.

  • Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved:

  • The right hand, even on earth, is the place of favor, and the place of honor, and they place of security.

Verse 9

  • Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices:

  • It may cost certain pleasures, popularity, anonymity, family relationships, life goals, career choices, financial priorities, and so forth.

  • Yet David also tells us some of the benefits of such a life decision: my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices.

  • David could maturely understand both the costs and the benefits, and sing a song of praise about his life decision.

  • My flesh also will rest in hope.

Verse 10

  • Think back to v 1 – preserve me. From what?

  • For You will not leave my soul in Sheol:

  • David had the confident hope that God would not leave his soul in the grave, but that his life would continue on in the presence of God.

  • Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption:

  • Peter on the Day of Pentecost, said that these words went beyond David who was obviously dead, buried in a grave, and whose body had long ago decayed into dust (Acts 2:25-31).

  • Resurrection of Jesus

Verse 11

  • You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy:

  • When we entrust ourselves to God he fills us with joy.

  • Peter also quoted these lines in his message on the Day of Pentecost. They show that instead of being punished for His glorious work on the cross, Jesus was rewarded, as prophetically described in the Psalm.

  • At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore: David had full confidence that his life with God - both now and forevermore - would be marked by the highest and best pleasures.

  • These pleasures are enjoyed at a place: "We are also told that heaven is to be enjoyed at the right hand of God. The right hand, even on earth, is the place of favor, and the place of honor, and they place of security. The right-hand place is always regarded as the place of dignity and nobility in all courts. God is not going to give his people any left-handed heaven, but they are to dwell at his right hand for evermore."

  • When we go back to the first verse, we remember that this life of gladness and rejoicing and fullness of joy is not a problem-free life. It is a life that may be challenged, and face attack on many levels. Yet in that a life commitment to God has been made and is enjoyed, it is a secure, happy, blessed life.

Question for Breakout

V. 11 ends with the bold statements with God there is both “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore.”

  • What does this mean?

  • When you think of God do you think of joy and pleasure?

  • When many people think of God and Christianity, they think of being somber and giving up everything that is fun and enjoyable. Why is that the case?


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