Summer Psalms: Psalm 16 – “Security and Satisfaction” (John MacDiarmid)

Talk given by John MacDiarmid at Poole High School for  PCF on Sunday morning 6 August  2017

Listen to this talk (or download – right-click here and ‘Save as’):

 

We are spending a few weeks during the summer looking at some of the Psalms, under the heading “Summer Psalms”.

The Psalms is a book of song lyrics, written by ordinary people who experienced the same kind of battles that we experience.

Amongst the many comments made about the book of Psalms are:

“In the Psalms we look in to the heart of every saint”

The Bible speaks to us, but the Psalms speak for us”

“In the Psalms, we look into the mirror and see our own hearts”

“The Psalms have always been a place of great comfort, encouragement and help for Christians…and a mirror to reflect our changing emotions. There are songs for us when we are filled with  doubt or anger; for when we are bewildered or disappointed. There are songs to give voice to our joy and words to give shape to our thanksgiving…they are the soundtrack to our lives”

 

So let’s start this series with am advert for the book of Psalms. If you do nothing else this summer, read slowly and meditatively through the book of Psalms.

 

So now we come onto today’s Psalm, a Psalm of David, Psalm 16:

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
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.

It is clear from the opening words that David was in trouble when he wrote these words. He comes to God, maybe in a time of distress and asks Him to “Keep me safe”…saying that “in you I take refuge.” It is in times of trouble that our faith and security in God grows. It is there that we discover that God is to be trusted and that our security can be in Him alone. And it is from this struggle that David shows his true colours.

So know David comes out with his personal statement, his missions statement, his declaration as to who he is:

“You are my Lord. Apart from you I have no good thing”

What an extraordinary thing to say! David is acknowledging allegiance to His God above all others, which in itself is not that surprising – but his next statement Is remarkable. He is so satisfied and confident in God that he is saying that next to god there is nothing good that he wants. Which of us can say this: that God’s presence is all we want, and all we need?

So what does life look like for a person like this?

1. Committed to God

“You are my Lord” sums up the life direction of everyone who is a disciple of Jesus. The question: “where does my ultimate loyalty, my ultimate allegiance lie?” is the first one that has to be answered if we are to have satisfaction and security.

2. Commitment to His People

This feeds through to a desire to be with and to enjoy God’s people:

 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

Everyone who loves God will also love being with his people. This is often one of the hardest areas for us to obey God. We find each other difficult and troublesome sometimes. But our relationship with Jesus demands it: to pursue relationship with God, we are in relationship with one another.

3. No time for idols

This is not the overt worship of false Gods, but the recognition that anything that we put in front of God becomes an idol. The only was to be safe and secure is with everything in its place, and Go din the centre.

4. Contentment in God’s Presence

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me. 

As we hear David speak of his delight in God’s presence, it is clear that for him it was the only thing that could bring him satisfaction and joy

5. Total Security

With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

David’s security was total. He had security for the present, even in the midst of difficulty, and he had security for the future, because he knew that even death itself would not separate him from God’s love.

6. Unlimited Pleasure

People is life are searching for happiness. David claims that the only place that such lasting joy and fulfilment can be found is in God. This is a promise for the present and for the future.

you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

So how can we pursue this for ourselves. By way if application there are two commitments that we need to make:

  1. A commitment that God is our “good thing” – that we honour him above all else.
  2. A commitment that we will give ourselves to time in His presence.

 

Why not make those two  commitments for August?

John MacDiarmid

August 2017