Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Psalm 16 God's Promise and Presence

KEY TEXT: Ps 16:7-10 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.

KEY THOT: David was already enjoying the Lord’s fellowship in life. Therefore, he knows that the Lord would not abandon his soul to Sheol (Hades) but will lead him into the “path of life” for “in Your presence is fullness of joy”. The blessings of eternal life start now in our daily walk with God: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). For David, this knowledge of God consists of his experience of divine guidance: “who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me”. Heaven is not just life after death but life lived in God’s presence: “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.” 

Heaven is living in God’s presence. This knowing of the divine fellowship of joy with God is the experience of eternal life of heaven. Eternal life does not start when we die. Eternal begins when we come to know God and eternal life continues so long as we stay in His presence through a life of obedience.

While Psalm 16 has a prophetic and messianic content, it was written by David to describe his own journey with God. He expresses his confidence in God based on his daily experience with God that God would not abandon him to Hades. Instead, he would continue to enjoy God’s presence even in death because he has “set the Lord always before me” in life. So “because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Our confidence in life and in death is based not only on God’s promise but is confirmed by God's presence in our daily walk with Him. This experience of God's eternal presence is a fruit of listening to God and obeying Him--as David himself testifies regarding his own earthly life.

While we stand on God’s promises in His word, we should walk in His presence through obedience to His Spirit. Only then will we have the same confidence David has that God “will not abandon my soul to Sheol”. Jesus fulfilled what David only foresaw: that those who walk in obedience to God will be raised from death in resurrection power. So Paul expresses this same hope when he writes in Philippians 3:10-11, “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

Father, thank You that eternal life is knowing You and this experience began the day we met Christ. Teach us not only to stand on Your promise but to walk in Your presence. Amen.

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