16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
“This is what I wanted. Why am I not satisfied?” These are the words of the champion holding the trophy but still feeling empty; of the businessman signing the deal but struggling to celebrate; of the student making straight A’s but failing life; of the young adult finding someone to date but still feeling alone. These are the words of our hearts running after other gods but finding our sorrows multiplying. There is an obvious sorrow that multiplies when our wayward hearts lead us into self-destructive habits, crippling addictions, and broken relationships. But there’s a subtler sorrow that multiplies when everything seems to be going well. Many of us are running hard and actually catching what we want. There’s a thrill to the chase—a thrill that sometimes keeps us from being honest about our quiet desperation. When we consider the author of Psalm 16, the heart of the psalm becomes even more amazing. Because King David had what we want: power, position, pleasure, privilege, possessions. The man who said, “I have no good apart from You,” had a lot of good things going for him. The man who said, “You are my chosen portion,” had a lot from which to choose. The one who had everything we want actually wanted something else. How do we explain that?
If we believe that our hearts are idol-making factories, we shouldn’t be surprised that we run after other gods and experience multiplying sorrows. We should be surprised if we ever experience anything different! When Peter stands up in Acts 2 and quotes Psalm 16, he is telling the world that God has done something so significant that everything is now different. Jesus’ death and resurrection were not simply things that happened to Him. In a mysterious but real sense, Jesus’ death and resurrection happened to us, too, if we are in Christ. The resurrection means that Jesus has conquered sin and death, the greatest culprits in our multiplying sorrows. The resurrection means that Jesus has begun to make all things new, including us and our pursuit of joy. On Easter, we can stand in the empty tomb and read Psalm 16 with the risen Christ.
We need a refuge that is safe, and we can pray, “Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge” (Psalm 16:1). And we can ask, “Lord, how are we looking for security in insecure things?
We need a supreme treasure, and we can declare, “You are My Lord; I have no good apart from You” (Psalm 16:2). And we can ask, “Lord, can we really say that? If not, why not?”
We need a sovereign Lord, and can we pray, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot” (Psalm 16:5). And we can ask, “Lord, why do we try and why do we want to control things?”
We need a most trusted counselor, and we can declare, “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel… You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:7, 11). And we can ask, “Lord, do we know that joy?”
Resurrected pleasure means that we can sing: “My heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure” (Psalm 16:9). Resurrected pleasure means that we can finally say, “You are what I want, and I am completely satisfied.” Does the world see in us a joy that only the resurrection can explain?