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Psalm 16 - The Path of Life

INTRODUCTION: This Psalm is among nine that are labeled as Michtams, the meaning of which has not been satisfactorily determined among various Bible scholars and language experts. One proposed explanation is that it simply designates a writing, but some of the ones in this group also have some disclosure of time or circumstance contained in the inscription unlike this one. All are reasonably short, with Psalm 59 having seventeen verses as the most among the nine in the group. Some thoughts expressed in this Psalm can apply directly to the author, while others can easily apply to the Son of David who is the Christ.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the American Standard Version.


Psalm 16 "1 [Michtam of David.] Preserve me, O God; For in thee do I take refuge. 2 [O my soul], thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee. 3 As for the saints that are in the earth, They are the excellent in whom is all my delight."

COMMENTS: Whether I need a refuge from trouble in this present life, or I look ahead to that guarantee of a refuge for eternity, the LORD God is my unfailing safe haven just as he was for David. Other Psalms name the LORD as the refuge for the believer. Psalm 91 "2 I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in whom I trust." It must come from our very soul within us to tell the LORD that we know he is the very essence of unsurpassed goodness. Others who show evidence that they are saints of the LORD should be a great delight to each believer because of the faith and trust that is shared.


Psalm 16 "4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that give gifts for another [god]: Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, Nor take their names upon my lips. 5 Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot. 6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a goodly heritage. 7 I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel; Yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons."

COMMENTS: Sorrow will be multiplied for those who worship in vain because they do not know God and therefore have no hope for eternity. Each one who believes in the true and living God should not show respect to false gods by homage to them or by offering any type of praise to their name. It should be very clear that the LORD is the sure hope of the believer without dependence on the pleasures of the world or false systems of belief. He has established an inheritance that cannot be lost, and it will be completed in a most pleasant place because the heritage for the believer is fixed in the LORD. When each night brings the time for sleep, the confidence in the heart of the believer provided through the counsel found in God's Word should evoke blessings of thankfulness to the LORD.


Psalm 16 "8 I have set Jehovah always before me: Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; My flesh also shall dwell in safety. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption."

COMMENTS: Two apostles of Jesus made reference to this part of the Psalm, and those passages of scripture are found in Acts. We can have confidence in the understanding provided when scripture comments on scripture. The first passage to consider is from Peter. Acts 2 "22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; 23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David saith concerning him, I beheld the Lord always before my face; For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; Moreover my flesh also shall dwell in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou madest known unto me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of gladness with thy countenance. 29 Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set [one] upon his throne; 31 he foreseeing [this] spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses."

Paul spoke the following message when he was in Antioch of Pisidia as he used scripture to support his teaching about Christ Jesus. Acts 13 "32 And we bring you good tidings of the promise made unto the fathers, 33 that God hath fulfilled the same unto our children, in that he raised up Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he hath spoken on this wise, I will give you the holy and sure [blessings] of David. 35 Because he saith also in another [psalm], Thou wilt not give Thy Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell asleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 but he whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man is proclaimed unto you remission of sins: 39 and by him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." David gave prophecy about the unique resurrection of Christ, and Paul declared that remission of sin is through Jesus; and by him every one that believes is justified from all things, from which there is no other means of justification.


Psalm 16 "11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; In thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

COMMENTS: As David was guided by the Holy Spirit to write about the one who would have the promise of God to sit on the throne forever, he believed that would also open the pathway of never ending life for him. The hope of resurrection was not a new hope in the heart of those who believed in the true and living God. Even in the midst of great physical and emotional suffering Job held on to the hope of resurrection. Job 19 "25 But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth, And at last he will stand up upon the earth: 26 And after my skin, [even] this [body], is destroyed, Then without my flesh shall I see God; 27 Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side, And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger. My heart is consumed within me." This was the same sure hope that could comfort David.

Many centuries after David's lifetime, when some Jewish Sadducees posed a question to Jesus about marriage relationships in a resurrection in which they did not believe, they were given this answer. Luke 20 "34 And Jesus said unto them, The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in [the place concerning] the Bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him." Eternal life is for those who live unto God through faith as designed in the beginning, and in the time of Abraham, Moses, the Apostle Paul, and today.

There is an element of mystery to understand the difference between the natural body we experience in this world, and the spiritual body for the believer in Christ in the world to come. The Apostle Paul gave some measure of explanation in his letter to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 15 "50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: 57 but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Indeed, all thanksgiving and praise is to God for the victory over sin and death through our Lord Christ Jesus!


LORD, you are my ever present refuge in time of need, and my soul knows well that you are the very essence of unsurpassed goodness. As long as I am in the present world may I find pleasure in being with other saints that we might share with each other how you continually bless us as believers. I know from your Word that you will reserve final judgment for those who place their trust in other gods , and therefore I will not join them in giving any credence to their misdirected beliefs. You, LORD, are my portion for today and for my future inheritance. You maintain that which you have appointed for me, and my heritage in you will be in a most pleasant place. I praise you for the counsel of your Word hidden in my heart which can give me great comfort when doubts may start to enter my mind in the stillness of night. I thank you LORD for directing David as a prophet in this Psalm as he wrote words that could not be truly understood until Christ Jesus came and fulfilled that description. Through the Christ came the pathway to life for the believer to be in your presence, LORD, for fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that your resurrection assures the resurrection to eternal life for all who place faith and trust in your name! Amen.

Published 14 September 2014