Women’s Devotional Week 7: Psalm 16

Suggested listen: Kings Kaleidoscope, Gone

Read Psalm 16 in its entirety.

Write down any parts that stand out to you or that you aren’t quite sure about. Pray for the Spirit to reveal His heart as we sort through these verses. Take a deep breath. Read again. 

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.[b]

The sorrows of those who run after[c] another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.[d]
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[e] rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.[f]

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.

Take a moment to ponder and reflect on what stands out as you read. 

  • Do you have any emotional response? 
  • What is the knee-jerk reaction to these words?
  • What portion of the text grips your eyes? Where do they pause?

Let’s walk through this together…

Psalm 16 is a beautiful anchor in times of overwhelm or anxiety. When chaos ensues, when there is temptation to look for satisfaction or protection outside of God’s covering, Psalm 16 takes us through a liturgy of bringing ourselves back to a place of safety under His care and reign. It reminds us to look to our Father, our God, for restoration of comfort and joy. The “suggested listen” was written by Chad Gardner, of Kings Kaleidoscope, as a letter to his family in recognition of his life-long wrestle with severe anxiety and at the end, we hear his wife’s response – a reading of a portion of Psalm 16. May this become an anthem for us as we learn to find our all in all in the character and presence of God…

VS 1-2

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge…

David is presumably in the middle of a stressful or troubled season, indicated by his prayer for preservation, and yet there is an undertone of confident hope and an anchored trust. So many times, that one sentence has been all I could muster to pray. And if that is all our spirit can convey, that is enough. “Preserve me, keep me, strengthen my heart. For in You I take refuge. You are my safe place, my strong tower. I hide myself in You. Protect me, O God.” That is a prayer of alignment that calls our panic and chaotic thinking into targeted focus on what belonging to God means. 

… I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Belonging to Him is an acknowledgment that He is all things good and bestows all things good. We are righteous only because He calls us so and clothes us in His own. Anything that is good is a gift from Heaven and means nothing apart from God. We stand in a place of favor and undeserved grace purely because we are preserved and held together by our good and loving Father, and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in whose glory we share! We, apart from Him, are wandering and motivated by self-serving, self-gratifying, and ultimately fruitless endeavors. In Him, and with Him, we are given every good and perfect gift and are co-heirs with Christ! 

Take a moment with that. What does it look like in your life, in your current context, to rest in His preservation and attribute all that is good in your life to His loving mercy? Reflect, journal, pray.

VS 3

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

David delighted in the people of God whom he was surrounded by. He esteemed them and loved them because of His love for God, calling the “the excellent ones”. Of course, they were regular people, with controversy and missteps and failings, but even still, David looked at the people of God with pure delight. We are in a chapter in church history when people are leaving the faith largely due to the people of the church. It is more and more common to hear phrases like “I love Jesus but I can’t stand church folk”. Perhaps even you have feelings of disdain or annoyance or dissonance when it comes to how you view the saints in our land (at large and our local community). 

This can be a convoluted subject, I know. Church hurt is real. People cause damage. Hearts are tender and skeptical of relationship. This holy view of His body can be a real and valid challenge to our sense of self-preservation. But if we’ve already recognized and rejoiced in the truth that HE is our preservation and refuge, then is it really our job to protect ourselves? 

VS 4-6

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. The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

There is something powerful that happens when we speak to our own soul and remind ourselves of God’s goodness. What David is singing here is an acknowledgment of the emptiness and sorrows that come from chasing other gods (idols) and a declaration of Yahweh’s provision and sustaining joy. It is especially profound because, though David was crowned King, he received no inheritance from his family. David was the youngest of many sons, there would be nothing left for him. This goes beyond wealth or material pleasures. What David is declaring is that God is more true and more fulfilling and that what He has provided and held together for David is beautiful.

Many of us know pain associated with family not being able to provide a need. For whatever reason, it doesn’t even mean there was lack of love and support, but there is almost always something we recognize as a “hole” of sorts. Take a moment to reflect on how God covers, fills, and overflows those places in your soul. Declare the beauty of your inheritance as a child of God. 

VS 7-8

“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

God wants to speak to you. He is faithful to guide and direct our path. His word is a lamp unto our feet; a light unto our path (Ps. 119:105), He establishes our feet and strengthens our ankles as we choose to make Him Lord over our mind, emotions, and will. This is a transforming work such as Paul writes about in Romans 12:2, a deepening of faith as our minds are transformed by the renewing of His Spirit. We do not have to be conformed to how the flesh would want to deal with anxiety, stress, confusion, fear, etc. We can rest assured, that as we focus on the Living God and His righteousness and loving care, He is with us and we will not be shaken.

VS 9-11

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Because of this, David is not only content, but joyful in every aspect of his being. The Living Bible says it this way, “Heart, body, and soul are filled with joy. For you will not leave me among the dead; you will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave. You have let me experience the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of your own eternal presence.” The foreshadowing in verse 10 is beautiful and reminds us that because Christ was not abandoned in the grave, neither will we be. Instead, we get to experience the joy of His presence – now in part, and for all eternity in His fullness when He returns. Our joy is always directly rooted in the presence of God. He is the source of abundant life!

Is there a particular circumstance or situation that you feel the Spirit drawing you to bring to His feet? Is there are lack of rooted joy that He is bringing to your attention? What would it look like to allow the presence of God to shift your mindset and fill your soul with deep and genuine joy? Reflect, journal, pray.

Father, keep us. Protect us. I ask that as You see Your child, Your beloved one, sit before you that you would remind her of the truth of your presence. Your presence means that she is preserved, that you are near, that you hear her and see her. Lord, as the hymnist wrote, “Let my soul forever share the bliss of Thy paternal care…”, we ask that Your Fathers heart would be revealed and that Your perfect love would dissolve all fear. We repent of our bent toward self-preservation. Forgive us for not trusting that You are at work. But we know that you will not and have not abandoned us to death. Thank you Jesus, that you already took the grave upon Yourself. Let us rejoice in You – in Your ways, in Your protection, in Your word, and in Your presence. There is nowhere else, Lord. You alone have the words of eternal life and with You only is there fullness of joy. Amen.