Psalm 16 (The Psalm for Easter Sunday)
ESV 1A MIKTAM OF DAVID.
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 being1 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.
In the name of + Jesus.
With the Psalmist, we have often cried out for our Lord to preserve us (v. 1). The Holy Spirit has taught us that God is our true Father, and that we are His true children by virtue of our Baptism into Christ, His Son. And as the Father’s true Children, we know from whom comes all good, and we trust that we would have nothing good if it were not from Him (v. 2). The opening cry of this Psalm, is the cry of all God’s people. It is the cry of faith.
The saints who have trusted in the Lord serve as an excellent and encouraging example for all of us (v. 3). With them, we delight in God’s promises, even in the midst of our cries for help. It is not so for those whose trust is elsewhere (v. 4). Those who run after other gods, those who pray to false idols, those who trust that some creaturely thing will provide their help, will have sorrows which multiply. The object of their fear, love, and trust simply cannot deliver, and they remain in want.
But like a son who receives an abundant inheritance from his father, the psalmist reminds us that we are heirs of an incredible estate. The LORD, who holds all things in His hands, is the one who also holds our lot; our inheritance is beautiful (v. 5-6). And this promised inheritance is certain to be yours because it is the LORD himself who has promised it (v. 7). The LORD gives His counsel, and instructs our hearts to believe that we—His children—will be given all things. When the LORD is before us, and His promises are with us (v. 8), no matter what it is that has us crying out to the LORD, we will not be shaken.
This solid promise gladdens our hearts, and is enough to make our whole being rejoice (v.9). Our flesh and blood dwell securely in the hands of the Father, and Jesus’ resurrection is that proof. He appeared to be abandoned—indeed, He was abandoned, forsaken by the Father (Matt. 27:46)—but Jesus’ resurrection is proof that we will not be abandoned. We will not see corruption (v. 10). The empty tomb is the destination for our path of life (v. 11). With the LORD, our joy is full, and in His presence, there are pleasures forevermore.
Some of those pleasures are ours already today. And some of them are yet to come in the resurrection. Until then, when we cry out for the LORD to preserve us, we will do so as the Father’s Children, and those who have the promise of an eternal inheritance.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Lord, keep us in Your presence throughout our earthly pilgrimage, that we may come to the fullness of Your joy in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our resurrected Lord. (TLSB, p. 858).