John T. Willis

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Yahweh's Pleasures--Psalm 16

There are many kinds of pleasures available to human beings in life. One well-known is worldly pleasures. In the Parable of the Sower [or Soils], Jesus said that "as for what [seeds] fell fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature" (Luke 8:14). James 4:1-3 says: "Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from YOUR CRAVINGS that are at war within you? You WANT something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you COVET something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on YOUR PLEASURES."

Fortunately, there are pure PLEASURES available from God. The composer of Psalm 16 emphasizes this truth. The Superscription says simply: "A Miktam of David." No one knows for certain what "miktam" means. Check the commentaries for various views. Psalm 16 naturally falls into three brief paragraphs.

I. The Psalmist delights in Yahweh and True Holy People. Psalm 16:1-4.
   a. The poet begins with the prayer, Protect me, O God, for in YOU I take refuge. All human beings are vulnerable. We are all very frail and fragile. We desperately needs God's constant protection. The term "refuge" as a metaphor for Yahweh occurs often in the Psalms. Psalm 46:1, 7, 11 provides this theme in Psalm 46. 16:1.
   b. The poet declares that apart from Yahweh he has no good. True worshippers depend totally on God, not on themselves or anyone else. 16:2.
   c. The poet "delights" in holy ones in the land. But people who choose another god rather than Yahweh multiply their sorrows. Thus, the psalmist refuses to participate in their ungodly practices. 16:3-4.

II. The Psalmist praises Yahweh as his Counselor and Teacher. Psalm 16:5-8.
     a. Yahweh is the psalmist's chosen portion and cup, and holds his lot. The psalmist does not depend on things or possessions, but only on Yahweh. 16:5.
     b. The psalmist declares that Yahweh has put him in a good place. He is satisfied with Yahweh's presence as he works on planet earth. He says his "boundary lines" have fall in "PLEASANT PLACES." 16:6.
     c. The psalmist praises Yahweh because Yahweh gives him "counsel;" Yahweh "instructs" him in the night. Yahweh's counsel and instruction may come from the Law of Moses and from other sources not stated or known. 16:7.
    d. The psalmist keeps Yahweh first in his life at all times, and therefore he will not be moved. 16:8.

III. The Psalmist rejoices in Yahweh's Presence. Psalm 16:9-11.
      a. The psalmist's "heart" and "soul" and "body" rejoice. It would be a huge mistake to try to distinguish between the heart, the soul, and the body. Instead, these are common terms in the Bible, Old and New Testament, for the entire person. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is an excellent example of this. 16:9.
     b. The psalmist rejoices because Yahweh does not give him up to Sheol or the Pit, symbols for death. Of course, all of us will die physically, but Yahweh sustains us into eternity. 16:10.
     c. Yahweh shows the psalmist the path of life=the way to live; in Yahweh's presence there is fullness of joy; in Yahweh's right hand are PLEASURES forevermore. 16:11.

Share YOUR prayers and doubts and reversals and successes and thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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