Monday, 11 November 2013

Psalm 16 - The Righteous One's satisfaction with his lot.

It is not sin alone that characterises our world. Misery goes in hand with sin. And hence, as the preceding Psalm set before us One who was holy in the midst of a world lying in wickedness, though breathing its air, walking on its highway, handling its objects, and conversing with its inhabitants, so this Psalm exhibits One who is happy, truly happy, not withstanding a world of broken cisterns around him,and the sights borne to his ear on early breeze.

This happy one is "the Man of Sorrows" - no other than He! For Peter, in Acts 2:31, declares, "David speaks concerning Him!"

This happy One (followed in all ages by his chosen ones) walks through many a varied scene, and at every step expresses satisfaction and perfect contentment with the Father's arrangements. In verses 1,2, he tells, with complacent delight, into whose hands it is he has committed his all: "you are my Lord" - my soul has said this with all its strength.

And "My goodness is not over you;" whatever is good or blessed in my lot makes no pretensions to add anything to your blessedness, to overshadow you; nor do I allow the bliss I enjoy to supersede Him who blesses me.

And does not every member of his body respond to all this! Who of them does not reply, "My Lord and my God" You are the very bower of bliss under which I sit. We are blessed in you; but you need not us to bless you!"

Satisfied with his Father as God, and Lord, and Guardian, he is equally so with the sphere within which he must move: "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus." None on earth seem to Him so pleasant and honourable as the saints. See Psalm 8:1.

And no less is He pleased with his separation from all idols and idolatry (v3 and v4). Does not every member of his body respond, Amen! gladly recognising their own company as the circle within which is "all their delight." But how instructive and wonderful it is to find, in verse 5, such entire contentedness with the Lord's doings, and such a recognition of his will. For it was enemies that brought him many a bitter draught to drink, the vinegar and the gall, it was "not an enemy", but far worse, a perfidious friend, that plunged the dagger into his heart; and yet in all this he sees the Lord giving him his cup and portion.

No less remarkable is it to hear, in verse 6, the Man of Sorrows tell that his lines have fallen to him in pleasant places! He that had nowhere to lay his head, how happy is He! What a calm contentment sits upon his pensive brow! Earth and hell are unable to destroy his blessed lot. He has (v7) found communion with his Father, when others sleep - in the retired valleys and hills of Galilee's, on the Mount of Olives, in the wilderness.

The presence and care of his Father is a fund of enjoyment in itself (v8). All may be scattered and leave him alone; bu yet he is not alone, for the Father is with him.

Such joys as these still gladden every believer's soul, even as they did refresh the "Author and Finisher of our Faith." He drank of these brooks by the way, "therefore was his heart glad."

That he might endure to the end, and as man endure he tasted of needful draughts in his sore undertaking' and his draughts of refreshment were of the kind which we have seen above. We, too, can taste the same, and we need the same.

Nor less do we need what follows in v9, secure confidence in prospect of death, and v10, the hope of blessed resurrection. Our Head laid his flesh in the Joseph's sepulchre, expecting the future result, a speedy resurrection. His soul was not to be left long separate form his body, out of paradise it was soon to come, and on the third day to rejoin its body before corruption could begin.

But we too, his members, are as sure of a return of our souls from paradise to join our bodies on the Resurrection Morn, when "this corruptible shall put on incorruption." And thus to the Head and members shall their full satisfaction be realised, and that forever.

He and they shall tread the path of life, and enter into "fulness of joy, pleasures for evermore," - the blessedness of the eternal kingdom.

Such are the riches of this Psalm that some have been led to think the obscure title, "Michtam" has been prefixed to it on account of its golden stores. For the word is used of the hold of Ophir (Psalm 45:10) and might be a derivative from that root. But as there are five other Psalms with this title (56, 57, 58, 59, 60) whose subject matter is various, but which all end in a tone of triumph, it has been suggested that the Septuagint may be nearly right in their title "A Psalm to be hung up or inscribed on a pillar to commemorate victory."

It is, however, more likely that the term Michtam, like Maschil, is a term whose meaning we may have lost and may only recover when the ransomed house of Israel returns home with songs. Meanwhile, the subject matter of this Psalm is very clearly - The Righteous One's satisfaction with his lot.

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