Psalm 16, Refuge and Blessing

This is an uplifting psalm, but it barely fits the theme I’m going for in my “Prophets Fulfilled” series. I promised to write about it at the end of Psalm 16:10 and the Resurrecion of the Christ, because it seemed wrong to write about one verse without studying the whole psalm. I was also curious whether the rest of the psalm is clearly about Jesus, especially after I saw that Peter seems to also reference verse 11 in his explanation of verse 10, saying that Jesus is exalted to the right hand of God, and from there gives the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33). I’ve concluded that most of the psalm is not specifically about Jesus, but here are three angles I suggest looking at it: 1. David was blessed and secure because he took refuge in the Lord, 2. Jesus was blessed and secure because he took refuge in the Lord, and 3. Jesus’ people are eternally blessed and secure because they take refuge in him.

  1. Most of this psalm is easily applied to David himself, and his kingdom by extension. He loved and trusted the Lord, and the Lord blessed him and preserved him. These blessings include a number of holy people living in his kingdom (16:3), a relationship with the Lord Himself (16:5), land (16:6), counsel (16:7), victory in battle (16:8), security after death (16:10), and “pleasures forevermore” (16:11). The Lord is the only source of blessing and safety (16:2), so those who worship other gods find sorrow in the end (16:4). David’s life after death is tied up with the eternal life of the “holy one” (16:10) whom David knew as the resurrected Christ (Acts 2:31). Notice the parrallel in verse 10: the first half says David’s soul won’t be abandoned to the grave (Sheol), and the second half says that the Lord’s holy one won’t see corruption. I will argue at the end that these ideas are tied together for Christians as well, but for David this has a special significance. David understood that the holy one is the son of David, whom God would set on David’s throne (Acts 2:30). By preserving the life of the holy one, the Lord was preserving David’s family and kingdom forever.
  2. Most of the psalm isn’t especially true of Jesus in the same way that, for example, Psalm 22 is. But it is true that Jesus loved and trusted God, and therefore the Lord preserved him from his enemies until the right time, raised him from the dead, gave him a kingdom of saints, and exalted him to His right hand. If it is true of David, it is more true of Jesus.
  3. The eternal security and blessings that Jesus deserves are given to everyone who takes refuge in him (including David). We are blessed to be citizens of the kingdom of saints, to be in close relationship to the Lord Himself, and to be instructed by his wisdom. Our salvation from the grave is the result of Jesus’ salvation from the grave. If it is true of Jesus, it is true of us.

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