Psalm 16 – You Show Me the Path of Life

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Think with me for a minute about your mobile phone. For most of us our phone is more than a device to make calls. It is a camera, a social media device, a library full of electronic books, a dictionary, a guide to street addresses, useful for gaming and much more.

If the writer of Psalm 16, Kind David, were to have had a mobile phone, he may have counted the number of apps on his phone and said, “I have 26 apps on my mobile phone. When I think about God, he is not just one app among many. He is not even my most useful app.”

Then, holding the phone before his audience, King David would say, “He is the whole phone. He is everything. Every one of my apps revolve around his love, direction and control.”

If this appears to be a confusing analogy, please stay with me. Today, just as was true in David’s day, people treat God like a good app on their phone. God gets a little attention during prayer and Bible reading. Of course, we pay attention to him when we attend worship services. We “pull him up” when we are in need. But the rest of the time, he remains in the background of the operating system of our lives.

As we read this Psalm, we will see how King David confronted people who wanted their “God app” to be on sometimes, but another “god app” to be on at other times. To David, God was his All and in All.

All My Good Comes from You.

Protect me, O God; I trust in you for safety.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
all the good things I have come from you.”
(Psalm 16.1-2)

When we say to God, “You are my Lord,” we are also saying, “I am your servant.”

God is far more than a good assistant, like the “maps” app on our phone. The fact that he is the Lord changes our relationship to him, as Paul pointed out.

Paul wrote, “Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body” (1 Corinthians 6.19-20 The Message Translation).

Don’t miss Paul’s emphasis. We can’t divide our relationship with God like apps on a mobile phone. “God owns the whole works.”

King David said the same thing in Psalm 16, “All the good things I have come from you.” God is not just one useful app in our lives. Rather, he is the ultimate and entire reason for our being.

Substitutes for God

Verses 3 and 4 contrast “faithful people,” who join King David in placing their entire faith and trust in God with other people.

How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people!
My greatest pleasure is to be with them.
Those who rush to other gods
bring many troubles on themselves.
I will not take part in their sacrifices;
I will not worship their gods.
(Psalm 16.3-4)

The “faithful people,” like David obey the first commandment. “God spoke, and these were his words: ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves. ‘Worship no god but me'” (Exodus 20.1-3).

The others, who “bring many troubles on themselves,” approach God like a useful app on their phone. He is not the whole of their lives. They are not wholly devoted to him. Instead, they “pull him up” when needed. When they think another god will be helpful, they “pull that one up.”

During this political season, I have often said, “If I am putting my trust in government, I am trusting the wrong thing.” The same can be said for my bank account, my fitness regimen, and many more substitutes for wholly trusting in God.

Truly, God is Lord and we are his servants. We rely on him wholly and completely.

Lord, You Are All I Have.

The benefit of having God as our Lord, is that we are able to have a personal relationship with him.

You, Lord, are all I have,
and you give me all I need;
my future is in your hands.
How wonderful are your gifts to me;
how good they are!
(Psalm 16.5-6)

There is no way I can express the gift of God to us better than how King David put it. We do well to meditate on verses 5 and 6. Then, let’s use these words to tell God how much he means to us.

God’s Guiding Presence

The first time the word “worship” appears in the Bible is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22.5). God both tested Abraham and provided for him a sacrifice other than his son.

Abraham and King David knew that worship involved having no other gods ahead of the One True God. Because they worshiped God with their acts of obedience, God was willing to guide them, be present with them, and make them successful.

This is how King David described his love-relationship with God.

I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;
he is near, and nothing can shake me.
(Psalm 16.7-8)

Thanksgiving for God’s Protection

David ended the Psalm with thanksgiving to God. With God he was completely secure. Returning to the mobile phone illustration, David didn’t need another app to help him in life. He could feel secure in God’s protection and leadership. Beyond that, God’s presence filled him with joy.

And so I am thankful and glad,
and I feel completely secure,
because you protect me from the power of death.
I have served you faithfully,
and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead.
You will show me the path that leads to life;
your presence fills me with joy
and brings me pleasure forever.
(Psalm 16.9-11)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter used this Psalm to highlight Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Acts 2.24-32). When we read this Psalm in the light of Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, it should give us greater encouragement to tell God, “You are my Lord,” and “I am your servant.”

May We Pray for You?

Maywood Baptist Church has a prayer team, who is happy to pray for you. Please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. Toni and I will pray for you, as will the prayer team.

2 Comments

  1. Talk about encouraging! There are so many Psalms that I want to frame and hang on the wall to read every day. This is certainly one. Phrases leap off the page:
    “in You I take refuge” (vs 1)
    “apart from You I have no good thing” (vs 2)
    “You guard all that is mine” (vs 6)
    “I will not be shaken!” (vs 8)
    “You fill me with joy in Your presence” (vs 11)
    and the promise of eternity with Him…”You protect me from the power of death” (vs 10)

    We are reminded of peace in adversity, of God’s faithfulness, of true joy, of eternal life.

    I like the technology-inspired analogy this morning – our “God App” – I would certainly feel lost without my phone…my “brain”…but I would BE lost without Him.

    Even as I ponder life decisions and my next direction, I am reminded that in Him is my joy…and with Him, I will not be shaken.

    Liked by 1 person

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