God's Bounty, Part II
(7) I bless Yahweh who counsels me. Also at night my heart instructs me. (8) I have set Yahweh continuously before me. Because (he is) at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (9) Therefore, my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices. My flesh also rests secure, (10) for you will not abandon my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your holy one to undergo decay. (11) You make known to me the path of life. Fullness of joy is in your presence, pleasures at your right hand forevermore.
In the first three verses of this second half of Psalm 16, David describes his relationship with Yahweh in terms with which believers who are in close fellowship with God can easily identify. Yahweh is our counselor and teacher (vs. 7). He is also our ever-present sustainer who will not allow us to be shaken (vs. 8). We can rejoice and rest securely in our relationship with him (vs. 9).
However, David moves into a different dimension beyond normal human experience in the remainder of the psalm (vss. 10 & 11). He speaks of one not abandoned to Sheol, the place of the dead, one who never experiences the physical decomposition that inevitably follows death (vs. 10). Then he describes the eternal enjoyment of pleasures at God’s right hand, a place of honor and glory, a privilege reserved for someone far greater than any of us, even a king like David (vs. 11).
From the Book of Acts, we learn that these two verses are to be viewed as an important prophecy that was uniquely fulfilled by David’s direct descendant, the Messiah. Peter quoted these specific verses in the first sermon he ever preached, addressed to the multitudes gathered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. He used them to support the central claim of the early church: “But God raised him (Jesus) from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). David, a thousand years earlier, had foretold that Messiah, after his death, would not be abandoned to Sheol, the grave, to experience normal physical decay. Rather he would be raised to life and ascend to a place of glory at the right hand of the Father.
I. God’s anointed king (David) rejoices in God. (7-9)
II. God’s Anointed One (Messiah) exults in his resurrection. (10 & 11)
We praise God for his care and protection for King David as well as for the resurrection and glorification of David’s son, the Messiah.
As a messianic psalm, this passage finds its ultimate fulfillment in one person, the Anointed One (Messiah), particularly when it speaks about his resurrection and glorification (vss. 10 & 11). However, the truths contained in this segment of Psalm 16 can be generally applied to all who know and love God. When it comes to counsel and wisdom, there is none like Yahweh to give us the guidance and direction we need (vs. 7). When it comes to security, there is none like Yahweh to provide us with the protection and strength we need to overcome all who would oppose and attack us (vs. 8 & 9). When it comes to death which Paul calls “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26), we rejoice in knowing that the author of life has given us the promise of eternal life.
The prophecy of Messiah’s resurrection and glorification was realized when Jesus triumphed over the grave (vss. 10 & 11). While David’s son alone fulfilled these messianic prophecies, we who have trusted in Christ as Savior participate in the benefits of his resurrection. Paul declares that Jesus was the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (in death)” (1 Cor. 15:20). In fact, Paul’s purpose in 1 Corinthians 15 was to convince his readers that just as Christ rose from the dead, so all those who belong to him shall be likewise raised from the dead. “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21 & 22).
In a very real sense, the prophecy of Psalm 16, while uniquely fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, directly impacts those of us who will be raised to new life in him. To reflect this truth, we might consider paraphrasing verses 10 & 11 to read this way: “Because you did not abandon your Son to Sheol, because you did not allow your Holy One to undergo decay, you will not allow those of us who have trusted in Christ to remain in the grave forever. Because of him, you will make known to us the path of life. Fullness of joy will be ours in your presence, pleasures at your right hand forevermore.”