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Psalm chapter 16

What does Psalm chapter 16 mean?

David draws a strong contrast between those who honor God, versus those who dishonor God. The ones who acknowledge their need for the Lord, as David does, see God as their security. He is the ultimate source of good in their lives. This leads those who love God to love God's people. Godly people also resist associating themselves with idolatry and evil. Those who reject the one true God can expect an increasing pile of sorrows (Psalm 16:1–4).

In an Old Testament context, a "portion" was symbolic of what people today may call "fate," or "destiny," except it was not considered as random or impersonal as those modern words might suggest. All things were seen as subject to God's will; that which a person experienced in life was the "portion" assigned by God. Israel's tribes were each destined to inherit a certain part of the Promised Land, other than the Levites, whose "portion" was their priesthood under God. These inheritances were each a "portion" of Canaan. David celebrates that God's grace has resulted in his relationship with the Lord. This, along with God's influence over David's conscience, gives him confidence (Psalm 16:5–8).

Even in the face of death, David is willing to trust God and celebrate His goodness. As much as David trusts God to see him through earthly dangers, he knows his ultimate security is in eternity. David rejects the idea that he will be "abandoned" in death or merely allowed to rot away. This statement is referenced several times in the New Testament as evangelists refer to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:25–28; 13:35). Looking forward to eternity adds to the believer's courage and confidence in all things (Psalm 16:9–11).
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