Psalm 16 – Contentment in God’s Presence (Now & Later)
“A Miktam of David’ – If you recall back in week 4, we studied Psalm 57. It was also a Miktam of David. This is understood to be a ‘Golden’ or ‘Engraved’ Psalm, one considered special and worthy of commemorating with an inscription. There are six Miktams in the Psalms (16, 56, 57, 58, 59 & 60).
Unlike many of the previous psalms, it’s difficult to sharply divide this psalm into distinctive parts. However, it is possible to consider themes for the following divisions: A statement of faith in the Lord, and in the Lord alone (verses 1-5); A statement of contentment, confidence and joy, for the present and the future in the Lord (verses 6-11).
The study guide references two New Testament sermons from which Psalm 16:8-11 are quoted.
- In the first, Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:25-28) uses these verses to point to Jesus as the true, resurrected Messiah. Begin reading in verse 22 of Acts 2 to get the full context of Peter’s preaching. In short, the Psalm pointed to Christ as the “Holy One” that would not “see corruption.” Jesus was a descendant of David and is the only one that is not corrupted.
- In a like manner, Paul at Antioch (Acts 13:34-38) references the same passage, saying, “Therefore he says also in another psalm, “You will not let your Holy One see corruption.” Then Paul says, “For David, after he had served his purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption.”
- Bottom line, our bodies are bound for decay; aka, corruption. Our souls will live eternally with new bodies, but in the grave even David had decayed. Jesus defeated the corruption of death and arose in glory; no decay. It is this messianic message that most commentators, and even Peter and Paul, believe to be found in Psalm 16. It may also point to David simply praying to God that he might not experience corruption. Yet even though he cannot escape it, Christ came as fulfillment to this hope.
Sheol (verse 10) – most often rendered ‘Hades’ or underworld. It has been thought of an intermediate state of the souls or even described as a pit of suffering. The key is that it is a place for which Christ has not been and there is separation from God. To the psalmist, it is this “Godless” grave that he most wants to avoid ending up.
ESV — Psalm 16
I have no good apart from you.”
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
or let your holy one see corruption.