Ps 16:1 A miktam of David. Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Kidner suggests that this psalm’s unity and ardour come from the theme of having one’s affections centred on God. He also points out that Wesley’s hymn ‘Forth in thy name’ is based on vv 2,8 and 11 (cf. the last line – “And closely walk with thee to heaven’).
‘Few psalms give rise to as many important methodological and theological questions as does Psalm 16. And few passages from the Old Testament are given a more prominent place in the New Testament witness about Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter made Psalm 16 the showpiece in his arsenal of arguments to prove that Jesus was the expected Messiah.’ (Ac 2:25-33) (HSB)
‘Psalm 16 is a small classic on the subject of the contented soul. As the litany of contentment unfolds, we find an ever-expanding list of things that add up to a good life: God as one’s chosen portion and cup, faith in God’s providence, gratitude that one’s literal and figurative surveying lines have fallen in pleasant places, a goodly heritage, instruction from God, a rejoicing soul and secure body, and the presence of God in one’s life and afterlife.’ (DBI)
This psalm is quoted by both Peter, Acts 2:25-31 and Paul, Acts 13:35, who viewed it as anticipating the resurrection of Jesus. It was probably prominent amongst those OT passages quoted by our Lord himself to support his claim that he had ‘fulfilled’ the Scriptures, Lk 24:44. See also Jn 20:9; 1 Cor 15:4.
A miktam of David – ‘The particular events in David’s life that occasioned the writing of this psalm are not known, but three principal suggestions have been made: (1) a severe sickness, (2) a time when he was tempted to worship idols during his stay at Ziklag (1 Sam 30) and (3) his response to Nathan’s prophecy about the future of his kingdom. (2 Sam 7) my preference lies with the third option, since it fits best with the messianic content of the psalm.’ (HSB)
‘This psalm has something of David in it, but much more of Christ. It begins with such expressions of devotion as may be applied to Christ; but concludes with such confidence of a resurrection (and so timely a one as to prevent corruption) as must be applied to Christ, to him only, and cannot be understood of David, as both St. Peter and St. Paul have observed, Acts 2:24; 13:36. For David died, and was buried, and saw corruption.’ (MHC)
In the first half of this psalm, see how single-mindedly and whole-heartedly the writer expresses his dependence on God: in respect to his safety, v1; well-being, v2; associates, v3; worship, v4; ambitions, v5f.
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge – ‘This language implies that there was imminent danger of some kind-perhaps, as the subsequent part of the psalm would seem to indicate, danger of death. See Ps 16:8-10. The idea here is, that God was able to preserve him from the impending danger, and that he might hope he would do it.’ (Barnes) ‘Clearly some dark experience of danger lies behind this psalm…The absence of precise identification happily allows us greater latitude in applying it to our own threatening circumstances.’ (Milne)
Ps 16:2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
“You are my God” – ‘is the soul’s response to Ex 20:2 “I am the Lord thy God.”‘ (JFB)
“Apart from you I have no good thing” – cf. Psa 73:25. This is the soul’s response to Ex 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”…In disclaiming a goodness independent of, or adding anything to God, the Psalmist virtually recognizes God as the sole source of goodness, and rejects other gods. (Ps 115:1)
Death, or danger of death, ‘concentrates the mind wonderfully’, and David is compelled to reflect on what matters most to him. His conclusion is that God himself is the highest good, the supreme treasure. ‘How often the children of God have learned in the crucible of trial a new and hitherto unreached degree of intimacy with their God – the discovery that in the end he is all we can ever need.’ (Milne)
Ps 16:3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
Saints – lit, ‘holy ones’ (just as in the NT). But this term is more often used in the OT to denote heavenly beings: hence the qualifying phrase, who are in the land.
They are the glorious ones – in contrast, perhaps, to the pagan deities.
Although this psalm is intensely personal, David’s religion is not solitary. Here, as in Scripture generally, loving God is never separated from loving God’s people. See 1 Jn 4:20f.
‘Not that David’s companions during his years in exile were the “fairest in the land” by the standards of the social elite in Jerusalem – 1 Sam 22:2 describes the company who gathered to David at the cave of Adullam as “those who were in distress or in debt or discontented.” But out of the motley crew David shaped a core of followers who were prepared to risk life for him and his claim to the throne of Israel. From that unpretentious seed there was to flower an army and an administration which became the envy of the surrounding peoples, and whose deeds of renown echoed throughout the land.’ (cf 2 Sam 23:8-38) (Milne)
Ps 16:4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
The sorrows of those will increase – This echoes the words to Eve in the story of the Fall, Gen 3:16. ‘There could hardly be a more ominous allusion to what follows from apostasy.’ (Kidner)
Those…who run after other gods – ‘God is a jealous God, and he will not endure that we should have other gods. It is easy to commit idolatry with the creature. (I) Some make a god of pleasure. ‘Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.’ 2 Tim 3:4. Whatever we love more than God we make a god. (2.) Others make money their god. The covetous man worships the image of gold, therefore he is called an idolater. Eph 5:5. That which a man trusts to he makes his god; but he makes the wedge of gold his hope; he makes money his creator, redeemer, and comforter. It is his creator; if he has money, he thinks he is made: it is his redeemer; if he be in danger, he trusts in his money to redeem him:it is his comforter; if at any time he be sad, the golden harp drives away the evil spirit:so that money is his god. God made man of the dust of the earth, and man makes a god of the dust of the earth. (3.) Another makes a god of his child, sets his child in God’s room, and so provokes God to take it away. If you lean too hard upon glass it will break, so many break their children by leaning too hard upon them. (4.) Others make a god of their belly. ‘Whose god is their belly.’ Php 3:19…Thus men make many gods. The apostle names the wicked man’s trinity, ‘The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,’ 1 Jn 2:16:the lust of the flesh is pleasure; the lust of the eye, money; the pride of life, honour. Oh take heed of this! Whatever you deify beside God will prove a bramble, and fire will come out of it and devour you. Jud 9:15.’ (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity)
I will not…take up their names on my lips – ‘So the apostle Paul says, (Eph 5:3) “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named among you, as becometh saints.” The idea in these places seems to be, that the mere mention of these things would tend to produce dangerous familiarity with them, and by such familiarity take off something of the repugnance and horror with which they should be regarded, They were, in other words, to be utterly avoided; they were never to be thought of or named; they were to be treated as though they were not. No one can safely so familiarize himself with vice as to render it a frequent subject of conversation. Pollution will flow into the heart from words which describe pollution, even when there is no intention that the use of such words should produce contamination. No one can be familiar with stories or songs of a polluted nature, and still retain a heart of purity. “The very passage of a polluted thought through the mind leaves pollution behind it.” How much more is the mind polluted when the thought is dwelt upon, and when utterance is given to it in language!’ (Barnes)
Ps 16:5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
You have assigned me my portion – ‘The image is from the tribe of Levi and Aaron the high priest, to whom the Lord spake, Nu 18:20 “Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land; neither shalt thou have any part among them. I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel,” etc. So the true Israelites feel the Lord to be their inheritance, whether they have more or less of this world’s goods.’ (JFB)
My cup – The image is of ‘a sumptuous feast’ (JFB). Cf. Ps 23:5. ‘In a dry, desert-studded land where the traveller even to this day is constantly threatened with dehydration, the cup symbolized the refreshing, renewing gift of life.’ (Milne) Cf. Jn 4:4-26.
You have made my lot secure – ‘Not like earthly possessions, from which the lawful owner is often dislodged. The Hebrew means to prop one up, sustain, so as not to fall, as Aaron and Hur propped up Moses’ hands (Ex 17:12; cf. Ps 41:12; 63:8; 125:3). Satan cannot, by force or fraud, deprive the saints of their lot, once they have obtained it-grace here and glory hereafter.’ (Jn 10:28-29) (JFB)
Ps 16:6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places – The reference is to the lines that were used to measure and allot land at the end of the war of conquest. ‘The most favoured tribe at the allotment of boundaries, cf. Jos 19:51, could boast nothing as goodly as this.’ (Kidner, who draws attention to a scale of values that we recognise again in, eg, Php 1:21 3:8)
A delightful inheritance – An inheritance would normally have been thought of in material terms. But the priests had been taught that, though they had no land to call their own, God himself was their portion and their inheritance, Num 18:20. ‘So David, and every singer of his psalm, can now see that this is no peculiarity of priesthood but a pointer to the true riches of each member of God’s Israel, that “kingdom of priests,” cf. Ex 19:6.’ (Kidner)
Milne suggests that the historical background may be found in 1 Sam 26:19f. Here, David confronts Saul after sparing his life. He expresses the effects of constantly being pursued by Saul’s soldiers. During his long years as a fugitive, David has effectively forfeited his family and tribal inheritance in the land of Israel, to find exile in a foreign land. But David had refused to bow to other gods, and remained faithful to the Lord. ‘In this psalm he shares the harvest of these years of material deprivation, when life again and again hung by a thread: he has discovered his true inheritance, the Lord himself, a “delightful inheritance,” and one which has brought him ultimate security, vv6,8.’
Ps 16:7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
My heart instructs me – lit. ‘my kidneys instruct me’. John Walton insists that to accept that the Bible is true in all that it affirms does not mean that God ‘upgraded’ the original author’s physiology. ‘All ancients believed that all cognitive processes took place in the heart, liver, kidneys, and other internal organs (they had no knowledge of the physiology of the brain). The Psalmist appears to have no advanced knowledge of how human cognition works, on a scientific level. Is the Bible in error? No, because this passage is not trying to make statements about how the human body works. It does not affirm a view of physiology. The Holy Spirit accommodated the divine message of God’s faithfulness to the cultural vocabulary of David’s time.’
So, in what does this ‘delightful inheritance’, v6, consist? – counsel, v7; security, v8; resurrection, v9f; and endless bliss, v11.
‘In the Psalms we read about people who receive instruction by night, (Ps 16:7) sing in the night, (Ps 42:8) meditate by night, (Ps 63:6 119:148) commune with their heart in the night (Ps 77:6) and remember God’s name in the night.’ (Ps 119:55) (DBI)
‘The Antitype, Christ, as the servant of God for man’s sake, received the Father’s instruction by chastening in afflictions “morning by morning” (Isa 50:4-6) so as to be our sympathizing high priest. Compare, also, Jn 21:4-9; the Son was guided entirely by the Father’s “counsel” in the work of redemption. His whole life was one continued bowing of his human will to the Father’s. (Jn 4:34 6:38) Night was the season of Christ’s closest communion with the Father (Mk 1:35 and 6:47), and also of his most poignant affliction in Gethsemane. (Lk 22:53) It is the season when the believer, too, can, amidst the general stillness, commune with his own soul, and receive the inward instruction designed by God to be drawn from afflictions.’ (Ps 4:4 2:10) (JFB)
‘The meaning here is, that in the wakeful hours of night, when meditating on the divine character and goodness, he found instruction in regard to God. Compare Ps 17:3. Everything then is favorable for reflection. The natural calmness and composure of the mind; the stillness of night; the starry heavens; the consciousness that we are alone with God, and that no human eye is upon us-all these things are favorable to profound religious meditation. They who are kept wakeful by night “need” not find this an unprofitable portion of their lives. Some of the most instructive hours of life are those which are spent when the eyes refuse to close themselves in slumber, and when the universal stillness invites to contemplation on divine things.’ (Barnes)
Ps 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
‘All these verses 8-11 are quoted by St. Peter in his first sermon, after the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of pentecost; (Ac 2:25-28) and he tells us expressly that David in them speaks concerning Christ and particularly of his resurrection. Something we may allow here of the workings of David’s own pious and devout affections towards God, depending upon his grace to perfect every thing that concerned him, and looking for the blessed hope, and happy state on the other side death, in the enjoyment of God; but in these holy elevations towards God and heaven he was carried by the spirit of prophecy quite beyond the consideration of himself and his own case, to foretel the glory of the Messiah, in such expressions as were peculiar to that, and could not be understood of himself. The New Testament furnishes us with a key to let us into the mystery of these lines.’ (MHC)
‘Any interpretation of these four verses of the Psalm, which is inconsistent with Peter’s inspired remarks upon them, is of course erroneous, and must be given up.’ (Plumer)
I have set the Lord always before me – ‘as the grand object before my mind’s eye, to be contemplated, loved, and worshipped; the scope and rule of my acts; the all-seeing Spectator of my ways; my Helper and Saviour, whence I have no fears, but am confident of deliverance. The Antitype alone realized this perfectly. (cf. Isa 50:7-9) In this his believing members copy their Head.’ (Isa 50:10) (JFB)
‘If this clause be taken in such a modifed sense as makes it declare sincerity and integrity of character, yet admitting want of absolute perfection, then indeed it might apply to David. But Peter’s aim on the day of Pentecost was to prove that the passage quoted by him had no application whatver to David.’ (Plumer)
‘By night as well as by day; in my private meditations as well as in my public professions. I have regarded myself always as in the presence of God; I have endeavored always to feel that, his eye was upon me. This, too, is one of the certain characteristics of piety, that we always feel that we are in the presence of God, and that we always act as if his eye were upon us.’ (Barnes)
He is at my right hand – to support and protect, particularly in court or in battle. ‘It is impossible that any real hurt can befall those who have the Lord always at their right hand.’ (JFB)
Peter refers this closing paragraph of the psalm specifically to the Messiah in Acts 2:25.
Ps 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
My body also shall rest secure – ‘That the phrase, ‘my flesh shall dwell in confident security,’ refers in the ulterior sense to Messiah’s body resting secure in the grave, appears from Isa 26:19; Acts 2:26.’ (JFB)
‘In the primary and imperfect sense in which David, as the type, used the words, he may have intended only to express his confident hope of deliverance from his imminent dangers. Thus, “the pains of hell” (Sheol or Hades) are used of the greatest straits, in Ps 116:3; or his hope that he should not be given over to ruin (cf. the use of hell, Mt 11:23); and that he, as a saint of God, should not see corruption, or destruction (as the same Hebrew is translated, Ps 107:20), or the pit. (Eze 19:4, Hebrew) But the Spirit, by him, (1 Pet 1:10-12) used language which has its full and mainly designed accomplishment only in Christ’s resurrection from the grave and ascension to heaven, and in the resurrection and ascension of all believers hereafter through him.’ (Rom 8:19) (JFB)
‘‘My flesh,’ saith David, ‘shall rest in hope,’ Ps 16:9. O Christian! bestir thyself to redeem thy hope before this sun of thy temporal life go down upon thee, or else thou art sure to lie down in sorrow. A sad going to the bed of the grave he hath, that hath no hope of a resurrection to life.’ (Gurnall)
This security (hope) ‘is the opposite of despair. As used here, it would refer to a state of mind in which there was an expectation of living again, as distinguished from that state of mind in which it was felt that the grave was the end of man. What is particularly to be remarked here is, that this trust or confidence extended to the “flesh” as well as to the “soul;” and the language is such as would be naturally used by one who believed in the resurrection of the body. Language of this kind occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament, showing that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body was one to which the sacred writers were not strangers, and that although the doctrine was not as explicitly and formally stated in the Old Testament as in the New, yet that it was a doctrine which had been at some time communicated to man. See the notes at Isa 26:19 Dan 12:2. As applicable to David, the language used here is expressive of his belief that “he” would rise again, or would not perish in the grave when his body died; as applicable to the Messiah, as applied by Peter, (Ac 2:26) it means that when “he” should die it would be with the hope and expectation of being raised again without seeing corruption. The language is such as to be applicable to both cases; and, in regard to the interpretation of the “language,” it makes no difference whether it was supposed that the resurrection would occur before the body should moulder back to dust, or whether it would occur at a much more remote period, and long after it had gone to decay. In either case it would be true that it was laid in the grave “in hope.”‘ (Barnes)
See Ps 127:2.
Ps 16:10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy one see decay.
You will not abandon me to the grave – ‘Admittedly some commentators see here no more than recovery from an illness; (cf. Isa 38:9-22) but the contrast in Psa 49 and 73 between the end of the wicked and that of the righteous supports a bolder view. And at its full value, as both Peter and Paul insisted, Acts 2:29 ff 13:34-37, this language is too strong even for David’s hope of his own resurrection. Only “he whom God raised up saw no corruption,” Acts 13:37.’ (Kidner)
The grave is sheol, the place of the dead. ‘The state of the dead is not differentiated with respect to good and evil persons; there is no clear distinction here between heaven and hell. Sheol was conceived as a kind of underworld…In Sheol persons were believed to exist as forms of semi-life, at rest, yet not in joy, for they had not the fullness of life which made possible the richness of relationship with the living God. Death was thus to be dreaded.’ (Craigie)
‘In the context this refers to not allowing someone to be put to death at the hand of malicious enemies. The psalmist will not be consigned to Sheol; he will not see decay because his life will be spared. (see Ps 30:2-3) An early Sumerian text recounts the tale of an individual who is facing capital punishment for the crimes of which he is accused. Instead, however, he finds himself snatched from the jaws of destruction and praises the goddess Nungal for his deliverance.’ (OT Background Cmt’y)
The following OT texts teach, or at least allude to, the resurrection of the dead:- Job 19:25-26 Ps 16:8-11 17:15 49:12-15 73:24 102:25-28 Isa 53:10-12 Dan 12:2
‘In the prayers of Ps 16:10 86:13 lies a first hope of life in the divine presence beyond the grave. The Psalms do not speculate in such a way that Sheol is turned into a place of life and hope; instead, the strength of God stands proof against death itself. Even Sheol is not hidden from Yahweh (139:8; cf. Pr 15:11). God does have the power to vindicate the faithful in the face of death (Job 19:25-27 33:18-28 Ps 30:3 49:14-15 55:15-16 Pr 15:24-26 Jon 2:1-9 MT 2-10). Still, this expectation is not a doctrine of resurrection: in most cases (cf. Ps 68:20 MT 21) it merely suggests a temporary deliverance from death and offers a direction in thought upon which later doctrine will build.’ (ISBE)
‘The writer does not express the thought that he hopes merely to escape from death, but rather the bolder thought that death shall never get dominion over him. Never did faith wax bolder in dealing with this problem. It ranks on a par with Rom 8:31 ff.’ (H.C. Leupold)
Nor will you let your Holy one see decay – See Acts 2:27. ‘Peter and Paul both regard this as a distinct prophecy that the Messiah would be raised from the grave “without” returning to corruption, and they argue from the fact that David “did” return to corruption in the grave like other men, that the passage could not have referred mainly to himself, but that it had a proper fulfillment, and its highest fulfillment, in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Barnes)
A sermon theme, based on vv10f: ‘Jesus cheered in prospect of death by the safety of his soul and body; our consolation in him as to the same.’ (Treasury of David)
‘A common understanding of death in the OT is that it signifies final separation from the land of the living and even from God as well. We see this quite clearly in such passages as Ps 6:5 30:9 31:18 Isa 14:11 38:18-19 and Job 3:13-19. The key word used here is the Hebrew s- eo’l which, at least in these passages, refers to the unconscious, decaying (or sleeping, cf. Job 3:13) state of the body in the grave. The psalmist wishes not to go there, since no one remembers or praises God from the grave. (Ps 6:5) For Job, as for Homer, the afterlife is a shadowy oblivion-a place where “the wicked cease from turmoil” and “the weary are at rest,” (Job 3:17 NIV) “a land of gloom and deep shadow,” of “deepest night, of deep shadow and disorder.” (Job 10:21-22 NIV) The best that can be said in this vision of the afterlife is that the troubles of life have ceased: “Captives … no longer hear the slave driver’s shout…. And the slave is freed from his master.” (Job 3:18-19 NIV) Other passages reinforce the relative paleness of OT images of the afterlife, which picture the afterlife as something one would wish to avoid rather than look forward to. (Ps 16:10 86:13 102:26) There is a sense in which the OT imagery of afterlife is gripping precisely by virtue of its absence. Since there is no afterlife, these texts enjoin the readers to focus on their relationship to God in the here-and-now. It would be wrong, though, to suppress the images of a positive afterlife that emerge occasionally in the OT. The writer of Ecclesiastes, in describing the moment of human death, differentiates between the dust returning to the ground and the spirit returning to God who gave it. (Ec 12:7) The accounts of how Enoch (Ge 5:24; cf. Heb 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-18) are taken to heaven after their earthly lives seem to suggest some notion of conscious existence in a transcendent world. Some commentators argue on the basis of the imagery of the Psalms for a clearer belief in an afterlife than is sometimes granted. Ps 1:3 compares the godly person to a tree whose leaves never wither, an archetypal symbol of immortality. Ps 49:15 claims that “God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself” (NIV); while in Ps 73:24 the poet predicts, “Afterward you will take me into glory” (NIV). Ps 16:10-11 claims that God “will not abandon me to the grave” but will instead “fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (NIV); Ps 139:24 speaks of being led “in the way everlasting” (cf. Pr 12:28, which claims that “in the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality”). The closest OT approximation to the NT confidence and ecstasy about the afterlife is Job’s eschatological confidence that his Redeemer lives and that, after his skin has been destroyed, in his flesh he will yet see God.’ (Job 19:24-27) (DBI)
We learn from Acts 2:24-32 and 13:34f that the ultimate subject of the psalm is none other than the Messiah. ‘Suddenly the range of this psalm reaches out into the eternal future and embraces not only the psalmist’s own personal destiny, but also the glory of the resurrection of Jesus, and hence beyond that to the return of the Son of Man and the resurrection of the dead of all ages. In its final reference this simple song, drawn from the worship of God’s people centuries ago, embraces the final destinies of every man, woman and child in the entire universe. It also therefore embraces ours. Here in the heart of the Old Testament we encounter an unshakeable conviction of the hope of heaven.’ (Milne)
Ps 16:11 you have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
‘The refugee of v1 finds himself an heir, and his inheritance beyond all imagining and all exploring.’ (Kidner)
You will fill me with joy in your presence – lit ‘in your face’. ‘That is surely heaven’s highest delight and final exhilaration, to be “face to face with God,” Rev 22:4, to look into that Face of endless, unfathomable love, to gaze upon him who is the Desire of all the ages and the Beloved of all the orders of creation, to see “him whom our soul loves.” “We shal see him,” 1 Jn 3:2. It is enough!’ (Milne)
See 1 Chron 16:27; Job 22:21-26; Ps 9:2. ‘Christ’s resurrection was followed by his ascension, and his ascension by his session at the right hand of God. There his joy is perfect. There he is exalted. There he is glorified.’ (Plumer)
‘Joy is a by-product of life with God. Joy is not found by seeking it as an end in itself. It must be given by God. (Job 8:21; Ps 4:7; 36:8) Therefore, it is received by faith with the gift of salvation. (1 Sam 2:1; Ps 5:11; 13:5; 20:5; 21:1,6; 33:21; 35:9; 40:16 Isa 12:1; 25:9; Hab 3:18; Lk 1:47; 2:10) In the OT, joy comes with God’s presence. (1 Chron 16:27; Job 22:21-26; Ps 9:2; 16:5-11) In the NT that presence is identified as the Holy Spirit.’ (Ac 13:52; Rom 15:13; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:18,19; 1 Thess 1:6) (DBI)
Eternal pleasures at your right hand – What thsoe pleausre are no mortal can comprehend, but they are such as forever ravish the pure spirits around the throne. They satisfy the God-man, Christ Jesus for all his toils and sorrows.’ (Plumer)
‘The glorified Saviour did not take possession of the heavenly inheritance in his own name merely. He entered into his rest as a public person, and all the members of his body, the church, shall share with him the perfection of the bliss which he now enjoys.’ (Morison, quoted by Plumer)
‘What gives the characters and writers of the Bible most pleasure is God. The Psalms, where we find “the language of hedonism everywhere” (Piper 1986, 17), ring the changes on the theme of the pleasures that believers find in God and his works. Psalm 16 is a small classic on the subject, with its famous images of “the lines” that “have fallen for me in pleasant places,” of “fulness of joy” found in God’s presence and of the “pleasures for evermore” that are at God’s “right”] hand.” (Ps 16:6,11 RSV) ‘ (DBI)
‘Because he lives we shall live also. The believers, therefore, can also say, thou wilt show me the path of life. This life means the blessedness reserved in heaven for the people of God after the resurrection. It has three characters. The first regards its source -it flows from his presence. The second regards its plenitude-it is fulness of joy. The third regards its permanency -the pleasures are for evermore.’ (William Jay)
‘The Gospel mentions not riches, honours, beauty, pleasures; it passes these over in silence, which yet the Old Testament everywhere makes promise of. They were then children, and God pleased them with the promise of these toys and rattles, as taking with them. But in the Gospel he has shown us he has provided some better things for us; things spiritual and heavenly.’ (Thomas Goodwin)
The path of life –
- Like the light of dawn, Pr 4:18.
- To be heeded carefully, Pr 5:6.
- Contrasted with the way of error, Pr 12:28.
- Many to seek it, Isa 2:3.
- Narrow and hard, Mt 7:13f.
- To be delighted in, Ps 119:35.
- Wisdom leads to, pleasantness and peace are found, Pr 3:17-18.
- Taught by wise parents, Pr 4:11.
- The Lord leads in, Ps 23:2-3.
- Full of steadfast love and faithfulness for those who keep the Lord’s covenant, Ps 25:10.
Joy in your presence –
- This is the privilege of ‘the pure in heart’, Mt 5:8.
- It is fulfilled by Christ, Acts 2:28.
- It is anticipated in this life, 2 Cor 3:15ff.
- We are brought to our journey’s end by the power of God, Jude 24.
- We shall see him, Ps 17:15; 1 Jn 3:2.
- There is joy, Ps 21:6.
On worship and service, Rev 7:15; 22:3ff.
Eternal pleasures at your right hand – ‘How should even the innocent pleasures of life sink in your estimation, when you think of those pleasures that are at the right hand of God!’ (C. Wolfe)