July 18 – Psalm 16
But God was also making a specific point by doing this. In Numbers 18:20 the Lord tells Aaron and his household, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.” God specifically wanted the worship leaders of Israel to stake their whole beings upon him, to know that their only hope of provision and sustenance rested on the Lord alone. That’s the imagery David is bringing to mind by calling the Lord his “chosen portion.” It’s as if someone came to David and told him he too had been given no land, and yet David is deeply pleased with his real estate. Having nothing but God was a wonderfully sufficient inheritance for him.
David seems utterly convinced that in God he isn’t lacking anything that is necessary to constitute a happy life, and because of this he is unshakeable. Definitely don’t miss the cause and effect here. It’s not as if David is inhumanly tough or has disciplined himself to be unmovable. Remember back to Psalm 13; we know David had really low points. The only reason he can say, “I will not be shaken,” is because he knows, “[God] is at my right hand.” In David’s context, that phrase “at my right hand” describes someone who is right beside you ready to stick up for you; it’s like having a supporting witness in a courtroom or a partner with you on the battlefield. When David looks at God and sees God’s awesome power combined with his tender love, he knows he has an unshakeable foundation, not because of his strength but because of the Lord’s.
Another thing worth noting here is David’s pointed repudiation of idolatry. And this is certainly on theme—to say that God is your chosen portion is to declare that other gods are not. When David says he has no good apart from God, he’s also saying that being apart from God offers no good. God confirms that chasing after anything else will only multiply our sorrows, because only he makes known the path of life; only with him is fullness of joy.(16:11) Necessary to our growth in adoring God is a healthy practice of rejecting, and repenting of, the idolatry we’re prone towards.
Questions for Discussion
• Would someone read Psalm 16 for us?
• What stood out to you in this psalm?
• How does David speak about God here?
• What reasons does David give for his confidence in the Lord?
• Why do you think David brings up “another god” in verse 4?
• What, if anything, is convicting about this psalm to you?
• Could someone read Acts 2:22-28? How does Jesus’ death and resurrection help us trust that God will not abandon us?
• How can this psalm practically help us grow in our confidence in the Lord?