Monday, August 23, 2010

Psalm 16 –King David’s profession of faith

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note/What we have learnt/can learn or a conclusion".

[Before we look at the psalm proper, let me say that it is unnecessary to dig and expound on whether or not, psalm 16 was authored by King David. The fact that the Apostles, Peter and Paul, referred to it (in Acts 2:25-31, and Acts 13:35-37 respectively), and mentioned David was the one, i.e. the author, that should settle it.

My premise is precisely that, that psalm 16 was authored by King David, and it represented King David’s profession of faith in the LORD (Jehovah) as well as in the Lord (Jesus Christ). The word “LORD” {all capitalized, in the Old Testament was referring to Jehovah, which, in the Triune God, should be the same as Father God. The “Lord” {capitalization only on “L”} is commonly referring to Jesus Christ; and of course, the word, “lord” means master. Of course, while the Lord, Jesus, is our Lord or Master, it is also true that the LORD or Jehovah or Father God is also our Master. We know scholars have identified many scriptures of the Old Testament as being prophetic, and were talking about the Lord, Jesus Christ. However, it is not common knowledge for one to think that David was aware of the Lord’s coming, after him, and would deliver him, David, out of death. I strongly believe that King David, being a prophet, had had received revelation from God concerning Jesus, from his lineage, coming to be the Lord. This prophetic psalm of David is the proof of that, and so I titled this psalm as “David’s profession of faith”.

To fully appreciate David’s heart, we need to appreciate that in the Old Testament, God of the Jews was notably the LORD or Jehovah. I believe, also, it is correct understanding that Old Testament Jews did note the coming of the Holy Spirit upon individuals, but not indwelling. The indwelling came about only with Jesus’ death and resurrection. But Jesus, Himself, did not quite feature in the lives of the Old Testament Jews, except what the prophets revealed about the Messiah, prophetically. And so, here, we should find David firstly addressing the LORD as the Lord or his Lord, and then also recognized that there would be a Holy One coming as the Lord over him, even as he, David, was the servant of the LORD, Jehovah.

And so, the earlier parts (verses 1 – 9) of the psalm, David dealt with his recognition of the LORD as his Lord or God. In the latter or ending part (verses 10 – 11), David revealed the insight that the LORD had given him concerning his salvation, concerning the Lord, Jesus.

There are those who argue, for this psalm 16, David was speaking about deliverance from death, and not deliverance out of death. If one views this psalm as a profession of faith in the LORD and in the Lord, the answer is clear, it is deliverance out of death, and not the more commonly held, deliverance from death. In any case, my own view, even without this revelation, that this psalm was a profession of faith in the LORD and the Lord, is that one should not jumped to the conclusion that David was thinking that he would not die, as was Enoch who did not see death, or Elijah, who was taken up, and did not die as such. Apart from Enoch and Elijah, great men of God died, and I am sure David knew that. Come on, we all pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and others, for health and longevity, blessings, fullness of life, etc, etc, but we all know that we will die (physical death) one day. Maybe, you think you are exceptional, you can be an “Enoch” or an “Elijah”; I don’t.]

Psalm 16 (A miktam of David)

1 Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
[God, I take refuge in you, said the psalmist, David. Indeed, in God, we will find the safest refuge or hideout.]
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
[David recognized that Jehovah (”the existing one”) was his Lord, and that the LORD was the one who held together every good thing in his life, apart from the LORD, he had 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.
[David said, the saints of the LORD were the ones he was happy to associate with, they were the glorious ones, but those who ran after other gods, he would not want to have anything to do with them. David would not join them in any way to honor any of the other gods or profess or proclaim their names; the lot of those who ran after such gods was only increasing sorrows.]
5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
[David recognized the LORD had assigned him his portion and his cup, had made his lot secure.]
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
[David declared that the LORD had blessed him much, a delightful inheritance.]
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
[Not only that, David said he would praise the LORD for He counseled him; even at night, the LORD impressed upon his heart what to do.]
8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
[David said he had set the LORD always before him. He knew the LORD was at his right hand. As such, David said he would refuse to be shaken, whatever the situation.]
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
[Because he knew that the LORD was at his side, and that he always gave the LORD the honor due His name, David could say his heart was glad and his tongue rejoiced, and his body rested secure.]
10 because you will not abandon me {my soul} to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made [e] known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
[David was full of faith and trust in the LORD that he declared that the LORD would not abandon him to Sheol, nor would Jehovah let the Holy One (Jesus, the Messiah) see decay, meaning Jesus would not stay bound in Sheol. The LORD had made known to David the path of life. David had had revelation of Jesus, the Messiah and Savior, that Jesus would come and die, and to go to Sheol but He would not be bound in Sheol (This interpretation is consistent with Apostle Peter’s interpretation given in Acts 2:25-31). Jesus would come to Sheol and free him, David, from Sheol (v10). Afterwards, the LORD would fill him, David, with joy in His presence, with eternal pleasures at His right hand, together with the Messiah after the latter’s resurrection into Heaven.]

King David knew who his God was - the LORD or Jehovah. He knew what he had, all good things, were from the LORD, and he knew where his allegiance should lie, and for his earthly life, he knew where to put his trust, and where his help would come from, and who he should honor and worship; but he also knew that the LORD had shown him the path of life (eternal life), that in time to come, he would be delivered out of his death, and he would not remain in Sheol. Indeed, Jesus went to Sheol after his death on the Cross, and Sheol could not hold Him, and he was resurrected by the LORD. The Lord, Jesus, as was professed here, by King David, delivered him, David, out of death, and now David is filled with joy in the LORD’s presence, sharing the eternal pleasures of the LORD, together with our Lord, Jesus Christ who is also now at the right hand of the LORD. If you like, I believe you can even say the Lord, Jesus Christ, is the eternal pleasures at the right hand of the LORD, Father God.

Anthony Chia – Now, for me, the LORD, the Father, coming as the Son, the Lord, is my shepherd, I shall not be in want {from Ps 23:1}

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