Psalm 16

“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 16:1-11 ESV

Just look at this beautiful and intimate love letter that the psalmist, David, wrote to God. Take note of the tone of the psalm and words used: refuge, good, excellent, delight, portion, pleasant, beautiful inheritance, counsel, glad, rejoice, secure, life, fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore. What kind of mood comes to mind?

There is a definitive tone of peace, harmony and contentment. The psalmist rejoices with his “whole being” – his life revolves around the Lord. The Lord is his Refuge; his ultimate Source of Goodness; his Provider; his Counselor; the One who goes before him; his Security, his Guide; his Joy; his Pleasure.

When your own life lacks peace, harmony and contentment, what is your “default setting”? Where (or who) do you go to for relief? The well-known theologian, John Calvin, said that the human heart is an idol factory. We will start to worship anything that might give us a sense of happiness, however fleeting it may be. So many things come to mind…money, a fancy car or house, social media, movies or series, careers, social status, pornography, food, alcohol, drugs…the list could go on.

The irony of these seemingly “innocent” obsessions is that they demand much more of you than they give. The more addicted you become to these things, the more you will sacrifice to keep these things and, before you know it, it will take hold of your life. The psalmist knew this – “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply…”

The amazing thing about a life given over to God, is that the sacrifice has already been made. Not by us, but by Jesus, through God Himself. There is nothing left for us to do, but to enjoy and bask in the light of God’s goodness. Nothing in the whole universe will satisfy us the way God does, no matter what the circumstances. We will not even be abandoned to Sheol (or death) at the end of our lives, but will be resurrected into God’s glorious and perfect Kingdom, just as Jesus rose from the dead.

To whom will you turn the next time you feel distressed?

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