Psalm 16

One of the “occupational hazards” of being a pastor is that the preparations and leading of worship during Lent and Holy Week can become an obstacle to worship of the LORD during Lent and Holy Week. For pastors, the week after Easter can be a time of quiet reflection.

On the 2nd Sunday of Easter many of our churches will sing this setting of Psalm 16. “My heart, therefore, is glad.” In the days between Easter and the Sunday after Easter, I would encourage you, dear brothers, to ponder, pray, and sing Psalm 16. Let your heart, therefore, be glad.

“Therefore” is a significant word, not only in the refrain of this psalm setting, but in the psalm itself. The word “therefore” divides the Psalm into two parts. In vv. 1-8, David sings about present blessings. In vv. 9-12, David sings about future blessings.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

My sinful flesh likes to complain. It leads me to focus on the negative rather than on the positive. My sinful flesh suggests that I deserve more or better things from God. My sinful flesh is opposed to the LORD and is therefore horribly wrong.

Praying and singing Psalm 16 drowns and silences my sinful flesh. It lifts my spirit. The LORD has been so gracious towards me. He is my refuge. He has surrounded me with faithful believers. He has put enmity between me and those who belong to the devil. He is my portion and my cup. He is my inheritance. He counsels me with his Word. He is at my right hand now.

It gets better. The best is yet to come. The LORD will preserve me forever. When my Savior comes in all his glory he will raise me to life and give me an imperishable, glorified body. He will fill me with joy in his presence, with pleasures at his right hand eternally.

By his word—by the very word he gives me to proclaim—the LORD makes known to me the path of life. By God’s grace, this sinner has crossed over from death to life. I am on the path of life. I have the life that is truly life. I have been given life to the full.  

I can sing this psalm with confidence and joy because this song of David is first and foremost about David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus has perfectly fulfilled this psalm. He was crucified, died, and was buried. And “God raised him from the dead, never to see decay” (Acts 13:34).

Jesus was delivered into death for my sins. Jesus was raised to life, and his resurrection is the LORD’s guarantee of my forgiveness, my life, and my eternal salvation. Therefore, my heart is glad, now and forever.