Rejoice In Our God: A Reflection on Psalm 16


Psalm 16

 

A Miktam of David

1 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.”


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

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.

  

Editor’s Note: This year, we are praying for China by praying through the Psalms. Each month, our prayers will be centered around one unifying theme. This month, that theme is joy.

It is fitting that, in a season of extreme anxiety and uncertainty, we should remember that believers always have great reason to rejoice and exult in the God of our salvation. In this meditation on Psalm 16, Pastor Shu Yu reminds us that our current experiences are directly connected to our eternal hope.

God Is the Source of All Good in Life

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” (v. 9) This is a psalm of joy, expressing the deepest emotion of the poet’s heart: inexpressible gladness, born of both faith and experience, and involving a relationship with God and the riches of God’s being. The psalmist writes: “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”(v. 2) Indeed! What good is there apart from God?

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“From David’s point of view, all that God gives is good and beneficial. But for us, there is a certain uncertainty in both our personal emotions and the circumstances of our ministry.

— Shu Yu

David took refuge in God. In this psalm, he writes that God blessed him (v. 1), gave him an inheritance (v. 6), and gave him a people in whom he delighted (v. 3). The Lord counseled and instructed David (v. 7), was with him (v. 8), saved him (v. 10), and prepared for him everlasting pleasures (v. 11). By faith, David saw that everything he was given and all that he experienced were opportunities to trust in and experience God. He learned the wisdom of being content in all things, of enjoying God’s goodness, and delighting in God through unceasing supplication, praise, and thanksgiving.

From David’s point of view, all that God gives is good and beneficial. But for us, there is a certain uncertainty in both our personal emotions and the circumstances of our ministry. Perhaps our uncertainty lies in our political environment, in the disturbances of the pandemic, in spiritual weakness or health problems, or in the temptations of Satan. Wherever our uncertainty, we are often trapped in worry and frustration. Unlike David, we do not see our troubles as gifts from God and opportunities to experience him. We not only lose our joyful hearts, but our fervor for prayer also slowly grows cold. Let us beg the Lord to help us use David’s perspective to reflect on our own hearts. May he turn our hearts toward himself, and may we come to rejoice in him alone as the sole cause of our joy.

Hope and Contentment Found in Christ Alone

From the point of view of the last days, God blesses those who turn to him. He never forsakes them, does not leave them to fall into Sheol, and does not cause his holy ones to see corruption (v. 10). Death is not the end of life, but the starting point of eternity. This truth becomes the psalmist’s hope, and brings us great hope as well.

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“Through Jesus Christ, we now have the power to face death, and the confidence to face the future. Life and death are not in opposition; suffering and joy are no longer contradictions; this world and eternity are not cut off from one another.

— Shu Yu

God did not allow the work that Jesus Christ accomplished to remain on the cross. Instead, by the power of the resurrection, he pushed open the gates of heaven for us. Our current circumstances are directly connected with our future hope! At this moment, Jesus is our God, and our good is never found outside of him. Through Jesus Christ, we now have the power to face death, and the confidence to face the future. Life and death are not in opposition; suffering and joy are no longer contradictions; this world and eternity are not cut off from one another. Instead, these things have great continuity, echoing and melting into one another. Through Jesus, every suffering and every difficult situation becomes another opportunity for us to, in faith, draw on the riches of God’s grace.

Jesus Christ is our God, and in his “presence there is fullness of joy; at [his] right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (v. 11)

Since we have no good apart from God, since our refuge is found in him, let us cry out to him: “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge!” 

We must cry out and pray to the Lord at all times. In times of discouragement, pray; in times of weakness; pray; in times of danger, pray. In all times, we pray without ceasing, and we rejoice. Because he is our God, we can rejoice with joy inexpressible.

Shu Yu (a pseudonym) was born in 1970. In 2010, he was called to serve as a pastor in an urban house church.

    


We are using the Psalms to guide our prayers for China

In 2022, our prayer movement is turning to the scriptural prayers found in the Psalms as we pray for the Chinese church. When you join our prayer movement, you will receive weekly prayer emails and a monthly newsletter so that you too can pray for our brothers and sisters in China.

  

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Further Reading

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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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