Theme: The Psalmist’s Present Blessings and Future Hope
In this week’s lessons we learn from one text how the Old Testament points ahead to Jesus’ resurrection.
Scripture: Psalm 16:1-11
3. The psalmist’s present blessings (vv. 5-8). The third part of the psalm describes the psalmist’s present blessings. There are four of them.
First, David says of, “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup.” The word “portion” can have two meanings. It can refer to one’s portion in the land, that is, one’s estate or inheritance. Or it can refer to one’s daily portion of food, a ration. Since it is linked to the word “cup” in this verse and since the idea of an inheritance in the land occurs in the verse after this, in verse 6, the “portion” in verse 5 is probably the singer’s daily ration of food or, by extension, other necessities. It is what we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer when we recite, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It means that we are looking to God for our provisions.
Second, “you have made my lot secure.” One’s lot can be one’s portion in life or one’s land. But
again, since the idea of a land inheritance occurs in the next verse, this one probably is
speaking of the psalmist’s general lot or circumstances. The point is his security in them. With the Lord defending him, he is not going to be uprooted or cast out.
Third, he says, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Isn’t it interesting that the psalmist is content with what God has meted out to him, especially since so many people are discontent today? Discontent is one of the most striking characteristics of our time. It is particularly a mark of the so-called “Baby Boomer” or “Yuppie” generation. One child of the 1950s wrote, “Baby boomers are not very content. Because our expectations are so much higher than our reality, we tend to be discontent, restless and bored.”3 There is no cure for this deep restlessness except in God.
Fourth, the LORD “counsels” David. He needed counsel; his official decisions affected thousands of his subjects. He needed counsel he could trust, and so do we! Our decisions may not affect as many people as David’s did, but they affect the one person who matters most to us, namely ourselves, and they generally also affect others, sometimes many, who depend on us. God provides such counsel if we will ask him. The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Having reviewed these blessings, David reaffirms the commitment to God with which he began and upon which his felicity rests: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken (v. 6).
4. The psalmist’s future hope (vv. 9-11). The first part of the psalm has been a strong statement of how the psalmist has committed his entire life to God and the difference this has made for him. But nothing said thus far is as remarkable as what follows. Having spoken of the present blessings that result from his relationship to God, the writer now turns to the future and expresses his confidence in what God will do for him in death and even beyond death. It is where the verse that prophecies the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ comes in.
What is the first present blessing described by David? What does “portion” mean?
What does David probably have in mind when he speaks of his “lot” in the second present blessing?
Recall the third present blessing. What principle is taught?
What is the fourth present blessing that David gives? Why do we need it, and how do we obtain it?
Reflection: Dr. Boice commented on people’s deep restlessness, and that there is no cure for it except what God gives. What evidence of this restlessness do you observe in people around you, or from news stories about well-known people?
3Mike Bellah, Baby Boom Believers: Why We Think We Need It All and How to Survive When We Don’t Get It (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), p. 49.
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