Where do you find confidence? When everything around is in turmoil, when life gets, overwhelmingly, loud and there is a constant demand for your attention where can you find some peace?
Do you have a safe place? This is a question those who are on the spectrum need to have an answer to. They need a safe place to regain confidence when melt down is imminent. A safe place to go when the stims of life have turned an otherwise healthy environment toxic. But they surely aren’t the only ones who need to know where their safe place is. Even King David the writer of this Psalm spoke of his safe place. The place where he turned and found renewed confidence and inner peace to carry on.
This Psalm of David has no specific point in history for us to look up. No heroic battles won, or near death escapes for the King of Israel. It is simply a declaration of what David knew to be true. So, if you have your Bible or app along you might want to turn there and follow along. Each version has its nuances so follow along in which ever version you prefer. We’ll look at each verse this morning out of the NIV and the NLT and see if we too have discovered David’s safe place.
Psalm 16 (NLT)
David begins, “(1) Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.” You and I know that God is a person not a place. So clearly David isn’t suggesting otherwise here? Yet repeatedly David has taken refuge in His God. Psalm 7:1, “O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me…” (NIV). Psalm 11:1, “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain” (Psalm 11:1 (NIV). David’s confidence was clearly in the Lord, he rejected the idea that refuge was to be found elsewhere.
As I wrote that, I suddenly found myself thinking of the refugees out in Summerland that Sylvia and Renee mentioned a while ago. If you remember, after escaping war-torn Syria, enduring horrendous living conditions, they sought refugee status in Canada. And like winning the lottery they were granted visas and sponsored by caring Canadians. Then they traveled to the other side of the earth, looking for a safe place to raise their family. Looking for a refuge.
And as they settled in Summerland it surely looked like safe refuge for them. But then, as we have often seen as of late; when the vacancy rate of rental properties dips below 1%, and prices of those few remaining rentals increase with demand, these refugees had the house sold from under them. At the point S&R asked us to pray for them, they had two months to move and it was causing great inner turmoil for them.
They thought they had found refuge in a house but it was sadly temporary. Yet David clearly expressed much confidence in his Refuge, his safe place. A confidence that seemed unmoved by circumstances. David, “(2) …said to the LORD, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” David’s Refuge was found in the same place that S&R asked us to pray for those refugees. In fact, God was the source of everything good in David’s life. Can we pray for better refuge than that for them?
In verse 3 David thanks God for that which God has blessed him with. “(3) The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!”
The Godly ones! Did you notice that? Psalm 84:10 says, “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked” (NLT)
The day I began to write this message Rika went home to her Refuge. She had lived a long and sometimes difficult life but in the end, there was no doubt how godly she had grown. Like some versions of your bibles, the word godly and saint were interchangeable. Rika was a delight to be around even though she was feisty at 97, there was no doubt that Jesus was her Refuge!
David delighted in the saints because of Who their refuge was. He didn’t worship them, but he sure admired them. Called them heroes! They were the people he enjoyed being around the most.
I hear sad things at times out of the mouths of people who call themselves Christians. Like when they say they prefer the company of the ungodly. In fact, they’d rather be out with the ungodly than be with the godly at church. I just shake my head.
How is that possible I wonder? How is it that a professing Christian finds more in common with the people who find nothing in common with the one whom they profess to be their Refuge? What does this really say? Are they truly whom they claim to be? Or have they never actually met those “godly people” …David’s “true heroes”?
Seriously if you would rather keep the company of the ungodly that says more about you than you think. I know you will likely come back with “but Jesus hung around with “tax collectors and sinners”, “prostitutes” and shady characters”. “And He was God in the flesh. If it was good enough for Him it is good enough for me”
But really? Did he hang out and party, cursing and carrying on like them? Enjoying what they enjoyed and doing what they did? Worshipping what they worshipped? And did those people carry on doing the ungodly things they had always done once they had been with Jesus for a time? His record is spotless how about yours?
Delitzsch writes, “The expression of his abhorrence attains its climax: even their names… he shuns taking upon his lips” (1:224: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.)
David said, “Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods” (Psalm 16:4 (NLT). Basically, he said, “I’m not with them, I’m with the godly ones.” He taken a stand. Which doesn’t mean he thought he was perfect like you and me! Clearly there is a line that you and I ought not cross even as we try to bring the ungodly folks that come into our lives to further a relationship with our Lord. But it does mean he’s all in.
“LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine” Psalm 16:5 (NLT) David has things that are dear to him. He’s not some ascetic monk living in the wilderness. The truth is God has given that once shepherd boy a kingdom full of things that his heart desired. Fancy clothes, horses and chariots and clubs and swords…. Gold and silver and precious stones, even land! “The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!” (Psalm 16:6 (NLT). He possesses much but it doesn’t possess him. He doesn’t worry about leaving it to go and do what God is calling him to because he knows that God gave it to him and will keep what he needs for him.
How does he know this? Well, David gives us a clue in verse 7. “I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me” (Psalm 16:7 (NLT). That’s a personal relationship with the almighty that David is getting at. A relationship that he clearly cherishes. His counselor is the creator of everything and he acknowledges his reliance on the God who guides.
I don’t know about you but I know I have times when my days are hectic and so full that time to think things through just doesn’t happen. And Like David I have experienced those times when I finally go to sleep and sure enough in the middle of the night the answer suddenly comes. I try to get up and write it down. Or I’ll make a note beside my bed on the tablet. Cause sure enough I’ll forget it by morning.
Now I can ask other Pastors, and talk with smart people, even Google answers when I need to know something but trusting God as your counsellor – is the safest place to go to and the safest to listen to.
David was that confident. He was so confident in his safe place that he wrote, “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me”
Psalm 16:8 (NLT). Put your confidence in man, and even the most loyal one will eventually fail you or not be there when you need him. Trust in technology and you’ll find out quickly when the power fades how poor a safe place that is. But when you have a friend who sticks closer than a brother, now you’re in your safe zone. Now your confidence has a resting place.
I think David surprised himself with his declaration in verse 7 because in verse 8 he writes, “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety”
Psalm 16:9 (NLT). With God, right beside you, what have you to fear? Yet I find, as I wander at times, that the assurance the David proclaims doesn’t hit home. And in those times, I don’t sleep so well. I may toss and turn all night long…ever been there? David is doing more than instructing us and giving God praise in these verses. These things he writes are for instructing his own heart, telling it what the truth is. Not accepting the counsel of the wicked, or giving into fear and superstition. He reminds himself where His refuge is found and he instructs his heart to go to his Safe place when even death threatens to rob him of his peace.
He thanks God that, “God will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave” Psalm 16:10 (NLT). David didn’t want death to be the end of it all. And now he knows that the best is yet to come! But at the time he wrote this do you think he understood the resurrection?
I’m aware that the Apostle Peter used these very verses in Acts 2:23-25 as he spoke of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, our Safe Place confirmed according to Paul. Peter looking back confirms what David spoke in faith, looking ahead.
He was told by the prophet Nathaniel; the account is found in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, that David’s legacy would live on through his children. But was it more than a spiritual resurrection as they call that?
Nathaniel said to him, “(12) When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, (euphemism for dying or death. David did know that like his fathers he would die.) Nathaniel goes on to say, “I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, (this would be a physical, blood line descendant) and I will establish his kingdom. (And we know that Solomon, David’s son did carry on as King of Israel). Nathaniel goes on to say, “(13) “He shall build a house for My name, (Still speaking of Solomon. Solomon’s Temple is a historical, traceable fact of history…you can read all about it. It happened as the prophet predicted.) Nathaniel predicted, “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever”. (David was told about a throne that will last longer than a man lives. Forever. One of David’s descendants’, Jesus Christ, His Kingdom would last forever. Jesus – the son of David, the Son of God whose body never saw decay nor did it stay in the ground! Because on the tird day He rose from the dead in accordance to the scriptures. Jesus would literally live forever! ) But wait for it…). Nathaniel speaking for God goes on to say, “(14) “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, (15) but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you”
2 Samuel 7:12-15 (NASB). This king would suffer taking on the sins of the world, being corrected by man’s devices, beaten and hung on a cross to die, but unlike Saul who went to the grave, whose body did decay this son of David would continue to reign under God’s protection and refuge and history confirms this too. But wait for it… Nathaniel then says, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever’” 2 Samuel 7:16 (NASB). Jesus rose bodily from the dead, “did not see decay” ascended to the right hand of God, the place of absolute authority and reigns forever.
So when David said confidently, “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever (Psalm 16:10-11 (NLT). If this was written after Nathaniel’s prophecy, David already understood that he was of the lineage of the coming Messiah and spoke of the joy of being in God’s presence with his son forever. Is that cool or what! No wonder he had such confidence!
Romans 8:10-11 says, “(10) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. (11) The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:10-11 (NLT).
Make this your safe place and you can never be shaken! Amen?