Christ is Your Greatest Joy (Psalm 16 Pt. 4)

As we approach the end of Psalm 16, we need to take a step back and look again at the journey that David has traveled in these 11 verses. Starting with a cry from a soul in need of help, David has reflected on God as his refuge (Part 1), his greatest treasure (Part 2), and his counselor (Part 3).

Now we reach the climax of the Psalm. David is soaring with joy. In verses 9-11 he writes,

[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.

Let’s break down each of these verses. In verse 9, David says, “Therefore…” Because God is my refuge, my greatest treasure, and my counselor, my whole being rejoices. I have a confident joy. Then in verse 10, we learn what David seemed to be seeking refuge from; a fear of death. He is saying, “I am joyful because I know that my soul will not be abandoned to death. I will not die!”

This is a bit strange, isn’t it? If we read the Old Testament we know that David dies. In 2 Samuel 7:12-13 the prophet Nathan tells David that a day is coming when he will lie down with his fathers: “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Then in 1 Kings 2, we read of the death of King David.

In light of this, what does David mean when he says that he will not die? The New Testament helps us understand. In Acts Chapter 2, after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit fills God’s people and the Apostle Peter preaches the first sermon of the church. In that sermon Peter says,

[30] Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, [31] he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. [32] This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. -Acts 2:30-32

While this Psalm is about David’s journey to joy it’s ultimately about Christ’s journey on our behalf. Christ became one of us, perfectly found refuge in God, perfectly treasured God above all things perfectly heeded the counsel of God in obedience all the way to the cross where he died in our place. But God did not abandon his soul to death or let him see corruption. He raised him from the dead.

The simple message of Psalm 16 is that refuge, treasure, counsel, and the fullness of joy are found in Jesus Christ. Not even death can take this away. In fact, For those who trust in Christ, death, the greatest enemy, is no longer a dead end, but a doorway to the presence of God; the fullness of joy.

I remember speaking to a friend who was losing a brutal battle with brain cancer. She explained to me that though she was in constant pain and saddened by the reality of death, she felt closer to Christ and more joyful than she had ever been. Why? She explained that she was learning that the greatest gift she had was Jesus Christ and that he could never be taken away. She found refuge, counsel, treasure, and joy in Christ. She would meet him face to face a few months after that conversation.

If Christ holds his saints firm and joyful in the face of death, can he not also give us joy in the trials of today? Continually look to Christ in faith and find eternal joy.

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