Psalm 16 TALK: The Giving God

(All bible quotes from The Holy Bible, New International Version) 

PSALM 16 TALK

THE GIVING GOD

 INTRODUCTION

 How I came to write these studies in Psalms was my desire to read and reflect on the first 30 Psalms and write an original poem based on my reflections. When I came to Psalm 16 I was also preparing for my annual Christmas letter, which I send out each year to family and friends in a Christmas card. In that card I always write my own Christmas poem. As I came to grips with Psalm 16, I realized David was praising God for all he had given him and over and over again I could see how David saw God as the one who has given him so much. This made me think of how, in the coming of Christ, which we celebrate at Christmas, we too have much to thank God for.

The other amazing thing is the possible time this Psalm was written. David was on the run from King Saul and his army and he has just stolen from under the nose of Saul his spear and water jug without touching a hair on Saul’s head. The next day David calls out to Saul and in 1 Samuel 26 : 19, David says to Saul,

“Now let my Lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering If, however, men have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have now driven me from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods”.

In verse 5 of this Psalm David writes, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure”. Even as David is driven away from his home and land, he, in faith, sees that in God he has been given an inheritance. An inheritance, Peter describes as,

 “An inheritance that can never spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1 : 4)

This led me to write my Christmas poem and I called it “The Giving God” which I will read at the end of this study.

This Psalm can be divided up into 4 parts :

1. WHAT DAVID THINKS OF GOD  (1 – 2)

2. WHAT DAVID THINKS OF PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW GOD & THOSE WHO  OPPOSE HIM  (3-4)

3. WHAT DAVID THINKS GOD HAS GIVEN HIM     (5 – 8)

4. WHAT DAVID THINKS GOD WILL GIVE HIM IN THE FUTURE   (9 – 11)

Lets read Psalm 16,

1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

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

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.

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One  see decay.

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

1. WHAT DAVID THINKS OF GOD    (1 – 2)

 David is on the run from Saul for a number of years and during this time his life was in constant threat. He survived by keeping one step ahead of Saul and from help he received from a number of people who for various reasons helped him. In the opening two verses of this Psalm however David attributes his good fortune and therefore protection to his God.

Note : H.C Leopold points out that,

“David calls God ‘el in the Hebrew, which means “the Strong one,” implying that according to the import of that name God is well to do what His suppliant asks”.

David’s faith or trust in God was really put to the test but David knew his God had and would pull him through.

This is why he says, “apart from you I have no good thing”. David attributes everything he has to his God and particularly his current good fortune in his battle with the King of his country who is out to kill him.

For the Christian there is no such thing as good luck. The bible depicts life as something God has given and planned and nothing happens by accident. We see this in passages like Acts 11 : 28,

 “For in him we live and move and have our being”.

Or  Revelation 4 : 11

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Paul takes this concept of Divine Providence onto another level in Romans 8 : 28,

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,whohave been called according to his purpose”.

David had all kinds of so called bad things happen to him, in fact having to flee for his life from his mad and powerful King could have been considered bad luck but like Paul, David did not see it that way. In fact he saw himself in God’s hands and having nothing but good things.

The worst example of so called bad luck could have been the arrest and execution of the innocent Jesus Christ but that was no accident of history but God’s working for good in that it was the means by which we could be brought back to him as forgiven sinners. 

2. WHAT DAVID THINKS OF PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW GOD & THOSE WHO  OPPOSE HIM  (3-4)

 David then states that in his mind and indeed in God’s thinking to, there are only two kinds of people in this world. They are :

  1. The Saints
  2. Those who run after other God’s  (The Sinners)

Lets look at each of these two classifications and see what David has to say about them:

  1. The Saints

David not only faced Saul and his men but people in Israel , at the time, who either sided with Saul and therefore were against David and God. Or who sided with David and God. David calls them “saints” which literally means “People set apart for God”. In Australia at the moment the Roman Catholic Church is advocating for the “Sainthood” or Mary Mackillop. Now I’m sure this women was a wonderful pious and loving person who did a lot to help many people but of course the Roman Catholic teaching on Saints does not come from the bible. Let me prove that to you.

First of all the word saint comes from the Greek word “hagios” which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious.” It is used in the plural form “Saints” on a number of occasions in the New Testament. Here are three occasions it come up in the book of Acts.

“ Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13). “Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda” (Acts 9:32). “And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons“(Acts 26:10)

You can see that “The Saints” is just another words for “those who are followers of Jesus Christ” or Christians. This because once we are Christian believers and Christ Followers we are all “consecrated to God, holy, sacred and pious” people.

The praying to “The Saints” even worse a doctrine because not only is this not advocated in the bible it is in direct opposition to the clear teaching of the New Testament that says,

 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2 : 5).

When we pray to Jesus is, ”at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” Romans 8 : 34.

However David says in Psalm 16 : 3, “As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight”.

David was helped on a number of occasions by those true believers in God and recognized that David was him self a saint who God had chosen to be the true King of Israel over the wicked and fallen King Saul.

2. Those who run after other God’s  (The Sinners)

The second group were those, like those in Psalm 2 who followed another God and king. As Saul got more and more away from following the true God of Israel he surrounded himself with advisers and close associates who were not even Israelites and followers of the God of Israel. We saw one of these in our study on Psalm 14, Doeg, a Edomite who were a people under God’s judgment. Doeg was the man who slaughted the Priest of Israel Ahimelech and most of his family for helping David with food and shelter at a place called Nob.

David says this group of people will suffer two terrible fates,

“Their sorrows will increase” and “God will poor out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips” (verse 4).

Sorrows of course means they will bring on themselves painful and distressing consequences but what is this “poring out their liberations of blood”?

I found found possible answers :

  1. May refer to drink offerings offered with child sacrifices which certainly occurred in other forms of worship of foreign Gods like Molech.

2. Drink offering of blood made to other God’s.

  1. Drink offerings made by men of violence.

4.  Or their drink offerings are so detestable that they may be likened to offering the forbidden blood for the God to drink.

(All suggested by Dr Peter Pett in his commentary on the Psalms)

Whatever it is it all adds up to that the very mention of their names is contemptible to David and to God. They stand in complete contrast the “The Saints” who are David’s delight.

3. WHAT DAVID THINKS GOD HAS GIVEN HIM     (5 – 8)

 We come bow to the heart of the Psalm and the main thoughts I had on how our God is a “Giving God”. This section contains images that we will not really understand unto we unpack them from the Old Testament times and the context of David’s words to Saul when he said in 1 Samuel 26 : 19,

“Now let my Lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering If, however, men have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have now driven me from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods”.

In verse 5 , David says, “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure”.

The image here is from the fact that all Old Testament Israelites received an allotment in the promised once it was occupied by them. H.C Leupold makes this clear when he writes,

“The portion or Lot, was the plot of land each Israelite was given by God in the promise land which was passed down from one generation to the next. Thus their portion of the land was a Jews inheritance”

David came from the tribe of Judah and his family headed by his father Jesse had his allotment in ancient Bethlehem. However Saul had driven David out of his home and country and away from his allotment yet David says in Psalm 16 ,

“You have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure”.

David is therefore saying, even on the run he, by faith has been blessed by God spiritually and is safe in God.

The next verse makes this even clearer,

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance”.

In Sydney Australia a person is considered successful in life if they have land and a expensive home that has a harbor view. By the way I live 70 kilometers out of Sydney in what is called the Blue Mountains so I am a long way away from this, so called measure of success.

In 1 Peter 2 verse 11, Peter tells us that we are,

“Aliens and strangers in this world”,

Our real estate, like David is not really found in this world but in heaven where we will spend eternity. You see we only live in this world for a very short time (compared to eternity) so putting all our efforts into earthly real estate is not very sensible.

David is saying God has given him everything , he has given him :

  • He has given him An eternal inheritance (verse 5 and 6)
  • He has given him Counsel  and Guidance (verse 7)
  • He has given him his support and protection (“he is at my right hand” verse 8)
  • He has given him security even in the midst of chaos(I will not be  shaken verse 8)

If David is on the run from Saul and forced out of his inheritance, how can he say this?

David explains why in Psalm 142 verse 5,

“I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

David saw his God and what he gave him as the most important thing in his life. Jesus tells us to think the same in his words in Matthew 6 : 19 – 23,

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

4. WHAT DAVID THINKS GOD WILL GIVE HIM IN THE FUTURE   (9 – 11)

David now expresses in Old Testament imagery his hope for heaven in the last three verses,

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,

because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One  see decay.

“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”.

In our last study on Psalm 15 we looked at the way to the “Heavenly Home” now David is saying not only has God given him so much in this life but he will give even more in the life to come. He spells this out by saying:

God will give him victory over the grave, a path in life that leads to the next life, joy now and in a more fully sense in the presence of God himself and pleasures given in a privileged position symbolized by being at God’s right hand.

David really does see his God as a “Giving God” and he knows this giving comes out of his loving heart as he expresses in Psalm 25 : 4 – 7

 “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD”.

David certainly saw God as a “Giving God”, we will now look in our New Testament Applications at how much of a “Giving God” he is to us.

3 NEW TESATEMENT APPLICATIONS OF PSALM 16

1. HE HAS GIVEN US CHRIST WHO CAME TO THIS WORLD TO SAVE US

 David spoke in Psalm 16 of all the things God had given him. In Galatians 4 : 3 – 7

Paul speaks of what God has given us when Christ came into the world for us.

Let me read to you what Paul tells us in Galatians,

“So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir”.

This is probably the best Christmas passage you could look at because it doesn’t just look at Jesus lying in a manger in a stable at Bethlehem but tells us how this special baby born like any of us grew up to become our Savior. It also tells us that this baby was in fact God’s Son and once he had won our salvation he sends his Spirit into our hearts who makes us go from being slaves to sin to very sons of God ourselves.

What an amazing giving God we believe in.

2. HE HAS GIVEN US A INCREDIBLE INHERITANCE IN HEAVEN

 In Psalm 16 David spoke of his incredible inheritance which was much more than a piece of land in Palestine, even if it has a harbor view, Oh sorry that would be a incredible piece of land in Sydney, Australia. No his inheritance or portion as he called it was with God in heaven and so is ours.

We read of this in 1 Peter 1 : 3 – 9,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

What an amazing giving God we believe in

3. HE HAS GIVEN US THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

 Christmas is a time of giving and receiving and this springs out of the first Christmas when gave to the world his only Son. Lets look at two key birth of Jesus passages and see even there what God has given us in sending us his son.

Matthew 1 : 21

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Even the name Mary is told to name her child tells us what he would do for us, “save us from our sins”. Jesus was destined from birth to grow up and die for our sins on the cross.

Luke 2 : 10 – 14

 “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Chris  the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Even the Shepherds out in the fields were told the great significance of this of the birth of Jesus. God was giving to them and the world a Savior who is the Lord and who will bring peace and favor to mankind. Of course this peace and favor only is given to those who believe in Jesus and what he has done for them.

Again what an amazing giving God we believe in.

CONCLUSION

 If God is such an amazing “Giving God” how should we respond to him?

The answer is simple but hard, give ourselves to him and trust him completely with our lives. Just as David did, he trusted God even when Saul had forced him to flee his home and country to save his life. Even then David praised God as a giving God because he could see how God was helping him and keeping him safe. He could see how God would one day take him to heaven to be with him forever.

We have a far better understanding of this great giving God because we know the love of God shown to us through the sending of his Son, to be born as one of us, live a sinless life, die for our sins on the cross and rise to life to make a perfect way for us to heaven.

How should we respond ?

By giving him our live in service to him who has given us so much more.

Let me read you my Christmas poem for 2008 based on this Psalm:

THE GIVING GOD

(Based on Psalm 16 and the Christian Christmas message)

 I believe in a giving God.

He has given me the life I live,

He has given me hope and meaning,

He has given me help in midst of strife,

And He has given me all that’s good in life.

 

I believe in a sending God.

He sent his son into the world,

To be born in a lowly barn,

To suffer on a cross for me one day,

And to take my sins punishment away.

 

I believe in a loving God.

He loves me even though I don’ deserve it,

He loves me so much he became one of us,

He loves me so much he died for me,

And He loves me so much he gives me Victory.

 

I believe God has given us everything.

Like the world wide Christian family,

Like joyful fellowship with those in Christ,

Like true worship based on the death of Christ,

Not based on our ideas but God’s word we trust.

 

I enjoy the perfect gifts of God.

Like the gift of life I have in Christ,

Like his gift of forgiveness,

Like his gift of life with him forever,

And like his gift of Christians sharing with each other.

 

This Christmas I will praise the giving God.

By giving him my heart and mind,

By looking to him because he’s always near,

By declaring his grace and love,

And by looking for his guidance to new life above.

 

Every day I enjoy God’s Christmas gifts.

I will realise he is always near,

I will thank him for sending his son,

I will share in his family all my days,

And one day join with them in endless praise.

 

Jim Wenman (2008)

PRAYER: 

Dear Father in heaven you have given me so much, in fact we can only call you the giving God. You sent Jesus to this world to be born like us, to live a perfect life and to die for us on the cross so that we can be forgiven and one day go to be with you in heaven. This means this world is not our home and we are only passing through this life with a wonderful inheritance with you in heaven. Help us to show our thanks by the way we live and by helping others to know you and your amazing love for them. I pray this in the great and powerfully name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Jim Wenman

 

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