There was a Christian who was having a conversation with a skeptic. And as you know, a skeptic is someone who doubts or questions something.
This skeptic was highly doubtful about Christianity.
The skeptic was telling the Christian that he had a hard time believing that Christianity is true, because he didn’t see the claims that the Bible makes.
He would read things in the Bible and not see those things in the world around him. And it wasn’t just miracles. It was things like in Psalm 16.
It didn’t make sense to the skeptic that the Bible would talk about God protecting his people when his people experienced so many bad things.
I’m sure you might have come across such a skeptic who has such doubts about Christianity.
Or you might have experienced things that have made you ask the question, “where is God in all this?” Or “What is God doing?”
Psalm 16 makes some rather incredible claims. The types of claims that might be hard to believe are true.
The goal of our sermon this morning is to show that Psalm 16 answers some of these questions, and not only gives us hope but gives us ultimate hope.
So the Purpose of our sermon this morning is to see how God gives us ultimate hope in Christ.
And in order to see that there are three extremely important truths that we need to look at.
1). We Need to Understand where our good is found
David starts Psalm 16 by telling God to preserve him because he has taken refuge in God and then he says in verse 2, “ You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you.”
Without the Lord, David has no good. David is the king at the time he wrote this Psalm. It would seem that he has plenty of earthly things that can be considered good.
In fact, there’s not a single material thing in this context that David delights in. And there’s not one thing in this context that provides pleasure for David, without the Lord’s personal involvement.
He first takes pleasure in God’s actions. He knows that God is powerful to preserve him. He doesn’t ask, he doesn’t make a request, he demands it.
He’s recognizing that God’s protection is the right response, the appropriate response to when his people take refuge in him.
He says protect me because I have taken refuge in you.
Knowing and trusting what God is capable of doing moves the believer to action.
But we have a problem, because, how do you hide yourself in God?
Not only that, but the problem is more complicated because this is something that we as fallen sinners inherently do not want.
Nor is something that we are actually even capable of doing.
Rom. 3:11, there is no one who is seeking God. We can’t take refuge in God. We’re not looking for God to hide ourselves in.
So what does it take for us to be able to hide in God in order for God to preserve us?
Colossians 3:3 says that your life as Christians is already hidden with Christ in God.
So what happened how’d they do it? The beginning of Colossians 3:3, “For you have died.”
Colossians is an interesting letter because Paul tells us we used to be dead and the way to not be dead is to die.
Taking refuge in God means that you absolutely abandon the type of life that you had before.
Hiding in God means that you have died and given up your old life.
Hiding in God means that fornicators become virgins,
Liars become honest, abusers become merciful, drunkards become sober, adulterers become faithful, the greedy become generous, gossips become evangelists.
If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.
When danger or trials are coming, the Christian is someone who is prepared with a brand new life in Jesus Christ.
That’s what it means to be hidden in God.
God has united us to Jesus Christ who died the death that we deserved. But also because of our union with Christ, where Christ is, we are.
The power to live a whole new life has started, a life hidden in God.
Colossians 2:13, God made us alive with Christ. We have experienced a spiritual resurrection by having our sins forgiven.
And so because we are so forgiven and so unified with Christ, Christ is the one who was able to take refuge in God and took us with him,
And now as Christians because of Christ, your life is with Christ and you are hidden in God.
And now there is nothing good that we have apart from the Lord who preserves us.
In the Hebrew text of Psalm 16 the emphasis does not fall on David’s command to preserve him. The emphasis does not fall on David taking refuge in God.
The emphasis doesn’t fall on David having no good apart from God. Even though those are all important things.
But the emphasis falls on the phrase, “my Lord.” One of the most crucial things that you can think about during suffering,
Is the fact that God is the sovereign Lord over your life. David says verse 5, the Lord is his chosen portion, cup.
To say The Lord is … my cup is to affirm that in sorrow or joy he is the overriding reality.
One of the easiest things to do during conflict, during adversity is lose sight of the presence of the Lord.
Situations can be so overwhelming but David here says, “I say to the Lord, you are my Lord.”
And God’s Lordship over us means he is in control in our lives. This is something that David even acknowledges when he says in verse 5, that the Lord is his lot.
This means that the Lord controls his future. The Lord controls his destiny. The Lord controls what happens to him.
This is an Old Testament acknowledgment of the God’s free determinism over our lives.
There’s never been one funeral or one graveside where I have not had several people tell me they felt comforted, knowing that God is sovereignty in control.
And is working all things together for good, even in some of the most painful situations.
You will find the strength necessary to get through anything in life, if you start by constantly acknowledging God’s sovereign Lordship over your life.
After the second attack on Job, when his wife tells him to curse God and die, Job says, Job 2:10 (ESV): Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
This type of the attitude can only come when we recognize how satisfying God’s actions towards us are.
I have no good apart from the Lord, my Lord. Where is the problem in your life? What is the source?
What is causing you turmoil? And where is refuge?
When a person adopts an attitude towards God that he is their only good, then it not only changes the way we experience things,
But it changes who we value as well.
Notice how David demonstrates his new God born desire in Psalm 16:3:
He says his delight is in the saints in the land. And those saints are delightful because they remind David of the One who is his only good.
Psalm 8:9 uses the same word that is translated as “excellent” ones in the earth to describe the name of the Lord in the earth. The Lord’s name is excellent or majestic.
Those who are majestic or excellent in the earth are those who bear the name of the Lord because the name of the Lord is excellent.
It’s not because God’s people are sinless or that we’re inherintly lovely, it’s because God’s people bear his name, and his name is supremely excellent. God’s name is where our good is found.
God’s people are those that David delights in because they are devoted to the Lord who is David’s only good.
There is a huge connection between the way you value God’s people and the way you value God.
When the Gospel rules your life, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have conflict with other Christians,
It doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with other Christians. It doesn’t mean that you won’t hurt or let down other Christians or be hurt by other Christians.
But it does mean, according to our passage, that when someone has taken refuge in God, there is an essential change in their disposition towards God’s people.
There is a change in attitude towards God’s people. There is a delight in God’s people.
In fact, the way a person values God’s people is a demonstration of their salvation.
In Hebrews 6 God shows us the difference between an apostate and a true believer. The difference is not that both experience the same blessings and benefits of belonging to a church,
Even unbelievers can experience those things in a church, according to Hebrews 6:4-6.
So what is the difference between the apostate and the true believer?
“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10 ESV)
That’s David here in Psalm 16. He shows the fact that God is his only good by showing that he takes pleasure in God’s people.
Jesus takes pleasure in God’s people. And he’s the ultimate singer of this Psalm. And you might think, where in the Bible does Jesus ever pray to God asking for preservation?
Notice what Hebrews 5:7 says,
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” (Hebrews 5:7 ESV)
That sounds exciting. Christ was heard. We are in Christ, our lives are hidden in God. Christ purchased for us this type of life:
The life that can offer up prayers and supplications to God with loud crieds and tears and be heard because of our reverence for God!
That sounds great! Until we read Hebrews 5:8:
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8 ESV)
Heb. 5:9 And being made perfect [through what he suffered,], he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
Well, that’s just Jesus, that’s just talking about the Gospel, we don’t become sources of salvation.
And that’s true, but the way Jesus was made perfect through suffering is what forms the background for what James says,
“James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, James 1:3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2–4 ESV)
But did Jesus count his suffering joy?
“Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV)
The bad things that happen to God’s people are not indications that things aren’t working Biblically.
The opposite is true. For Christians, instead of asking “where is God in all this?” in the midst of our suffering,
Instead of looking for evidence of the presence, love, and care of God in suffering we as Christians should recognize that Biblically, our suffering is the evidence.
He’s there, he hears you and he cares. And there’s something that is very specific that causes us to miss out on an appropriate response to suffering.
And that brings us to our second point this morning:
2). We Need to Understand where our good is lost
“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.” (Psalm 16:4, ESV)
God gives us our ultimate hope in Christ. There is no hope if we turn to things that are not God expecting to find comfort.
The word here used for pain is only used in Job, the Psalms and the Proverbs, but also two other places in Genesis.
And I bet you can figure out at least one of the passages in Genesis if you think about where else you might have read about sorrow or pain being multiplied.
The first place is Genesis 3:16 where God tells Eve that he will multiply her pain in child birth.
The second place in Genesis 5:29 where Lamech is excited about his son Noah because he hopes that Noah will give them rest from the painful toil of their hands.
The reason why this is important is because the word that is translated sorrow, is because every place that this word is used the contexts deal with things that are frustrating and hopeless.
They have to do with misery that is a result or a consequence of sin.
Here the consequence is best seen in terms of the comparison between what the saints experience and what the idolaters experience.
David says that he finds joy and pleasures forever in the presence of his God. What happens to those who run after other idols is that they don’t ultimately find what can only be found in God.
It’s frustrating, disappointing, and only results in sorrow. Everything that Adam and Eve sought in the tree that Satan tempted them with,
They had in every other tree that God gave them. God gave them trees that were a delight to the eyes and good for food.
And God was making them wise.
But then Eve saw the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and she saw that it was a delight to the eyes, good for food, and should be desired to make her wise.
And what the result of finding things that were satisfying to her in what God told her not to eat?
It was utter disappointment. It was sorrow.
Worse. It results in judgment. That’s what it means when David says that he won’t take their name on his lips.
To have one’s name forgotten is a serious problem in the ancient world. It’s synonymous with having your name blotted out of the book of life.
The fact of Christianity is not that it is a killjoy. It’s that Christianity recognizes that what you’re really looking for is found in Christ’s redemption.
This is best illustrated by Jesus’ interactions with the woman at the well. In John 4:16 Jesus tells the woman to go call her husband,
She responds and says that she has no husband. And Jesus says, correct, the man you are with is not your husband and you’ve had five husbands previously.
Why this woman? Why this partiucalar situation? It’s because of Jesus says in John 4:13, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
But the one who drinks the water that I give will never be thirsty again.
What she was looking for in husband after husband she couldn’t find. She couldn’t be satisfied.
Those who run after another god will multiply their sorrow.
What is causing our sorrow?
Is our sorrow because we are attempting to find satisfaction in things that God has forbidden?
Sin incurs misery. But that doesn’t change the fact that you might be multiplying sorrow in your life because you want things that God has told you you cannot have.
And. By not recognizing that he has promised you pleasures in him. That’s what unbelievers don’t understand about Christianity.
And if your unbeliever listening to this right now, please here me. Christianity is not a religion that simply tries to ruin people’s lives,
Christianity is a religion that provides the only meaningful alternative to the things that you know full well are not satisfying you.
What’s absolutely heart breaking about all this transgenderism craze is the amount of people who are coming forward now whose lives are absolutely ruined.
They say things like, “it wasn’t what was promised.” “They lied to us.” And these people are mutilated even to the point of being beyond repair.
And in most all cases the ability to enjoy someone else is totally ruined.
Not to mention abortion.
And you were lied to about these sins and went through with them,
Christ is speaking to you in Psalm 16. God is your refuge and he will restore and preserve you
Christianity isn’t bigotry, trying to take away people’s ability to experience joy and pleasures.
Christianity is the only meaningful alternative to the lies of Satan perpetuated in the world that you can find satisfication outside of God.
Christianity is joy in God now and also it is an ultimate joy for all of eternity future, which brings us to our last point.
Not only do we need to understand where our good is, by taking refuge in God. We also saw that running to another god takes away our good.
But lastly this morning:
3). We Need to Understand where our good ultimately will be
Psalm 16:7–11 (ESV): 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.
These verses contain the crucial point of this Psalm and the most crucial thing to understand about our painful experiences.
The pain is now. God has not abandoned nor failed you in your painful experiences.
Those are things that he has sovereignly decreed to work within his ultimate plan for you.
He works your ultimate good for his maximum glory that he receives from your earthly life and from your eternal life.
What God does to you and for you in the midst of suffering is what he uses to draw out glory for him and for you for all of eternity.
He provides you Psalm 16 so that you can have joy now knowing that you pleasures forevermore.
All of verses 1-6 draws out a response from David, he blesses the Lord.
Psalm 16 is telling you your life with God is infinitely more valuable than without Him.
Life with God even through the hardest things you’ve ever experienced is the greatest thing that you can have.
Knowing that God cannot be taken away from you and you cannot be taken away from God is the most essential treasure that you need to thing about when life gets too painful.
Thinking about God this way is enough to get you through, thinking about God this way is sufficient to provoke you to praise and rejoicing.
Why don’t we see that God’s goodness in our trials? It’s because sin multiplies sorrow.
How can I start seeing this? It’s by taking refuge in God which means putting to death the sin that remains in your life by Christ’s power.
And here’s the thing. We’ve already mentioned that Jesus Christ modeled the life that was totally protected by God and yet he suffered his entire life.
Notice that David expresses full confidence in God’s protection and yet still realizes he will die one day.
But where is his ultimate hope? God’s protection is so sure that even in death, God will protect him.
Even if you die God will protect your body. And how do I know that this is true?
It’s because this Psalm is ultimately about Christ.
Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, and talks about the resurrection of Jesus.
And Peter quotes Psalm 16:8-11in Acts 2:25-28. He says that it’s not possible for death to hold Christ.
And then Peter says in Acts 2:29 (ESV): Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Paul preached from Psalm 16:10 in Acts 13:35 and he made the same conclusion that this Psalm is ultimately about Christ because David died and saw corruption.
And you might say, “well wait a minute if this Psalm is about Jesus then it’s not about David, how is it true for us?”
It’s because what Christ redeemed for us is that what is true about Christ becomes true about us.
1 Corinthians 15:20 (ESV): But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
How is it that God preserves us? It isn’t by keeping us away from suffering. It’s by doing all that’s necessary to show us that sin is the real problem,
That Christ has done what is necessary to free us from it’s power. And by allowing us to go through what makes us infinitely more valuable to him.
The way the God preserves us is by taking dirt. Ruined pieces of clay and masterfully making us into what pleases him the most, his own Son.
I know that Holiness hurts now. It hurts me. But if we could only get a glimpse at what God is making then we would have the hope and the joy to continue with the process of sanctification.
Sin is worse than suffering. Sin is the real suffering.
And thankfully Psalm 16 gives us that glimpse there are pleasures forever more at God’s right hand where Jesus is firmly tethered to us,
Peter adopts verse 7 of Psalm 16 in his first letter and notice the hope that he has that he gives to us:
“1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1Peter 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 1Peter 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the end. 1Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 1Peter 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3–7 ESV)
Every pain, every hurt, every sadness, is simply another instrument in the orchestra of your life that will make the most enjoyable and sweetest music for all eterntiy.
And there’s you, there’s the version of you at the other end of the trials, David said in Psalm 16:6 he has beautiful inheritance.
That inheritance was purchased by Jesus Christ and given to you, and the tested genuineness of your faith is more precious that gold,
And it will result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In God’ presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more. The greatest treat is God himself.
This what we will miss out on if we chase after other things. Other things that will let us down and ultimately let us down,
But with Christ, you can find reasons to rejoice now, and there’s too much to rejoice about forever,
There’s too much to enjoy. My only concern about the pleasures of living with Christ forever is how will our resurrected bodies be able to absorb it all.
William Plumer comments,
Psalm 16:11 What those pleasures 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.