Theme: Faith Is the Victory
In this week’s lessons we learn from one text how the Old Testament points ahead to Jesus’ resurrection.
Scripture: Psalm 16:1-11
Did David consciously prophecy the Lord’s resurrection? He may have, but it is not necessary to think so. To be sure, Peter termed him a prophet in Acts 2. But later in his first letter, Peter wrote that the prophets “searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:10, 11). This means that David did not necessarily understand that he was writing of Jesus’ resurrection when he composed verse 10.
Yet if he was not writing of Christ, the verse is in some ways even more remarkable. In that case, David was writing of his own hope, expecting that God would not abandon him to the grave and would preserve him. He did not have the resurrection of Jesus before him as a sample of what he had in mind or proof of what God can and will do, as we who live on this side of the resurrection do.
How did David get to this point? There is only one answer. It was by the logic of faith. He reasoned that if God had blessed him and kept him in this life, then God, who does not change, would undoubtedly keep him and bless him in the life to come. One commentator has written,
The boldness of it all almost leaves the reader breathless. How can a man see all men dying and note that all the children of men before him have died without exception and still say: God cannot let that happen to me! It appears like sheer being carried away into rhapsody of bold assertions. But still, in the last analysis, must not faith draw the conclusion that, if you hold to God, God will take care of you perfectly.4
I have said that David achieved this great pinnacle of trusting God in death through the logic of faith. But the victory itself was achieved by Jesus about whom David perhaps only unintentionally prophesied. It was Jesus’ victory that won salvation for us all.
Reuben A. Torrey, a Bible teacher of an earlier generation, tells the story of four men who were climbing the most difficult face of the Matterhorn. There was a guide, a tourist, a second guide and a second tourist, all roped together. As they went over a particularly difficult place the lower tourist lost his footing and went over the side. The sudden pull of the rope carried the lower guide with him, and he carried the other tourist along also. Three men were now dangling over the cliff. But the guide who was in the lead, feeling the first pull upon the rope, drove his ax into the ice, braced himself and held fast. The first tourist then regained his footing, the second guide regained his, and the lower tourist followed. Then they went on in safety.
So it is in this life. As the human race ascended the lofty cliffs of life, the first Adam lost his footing and tumbled headlong over the abyss. He pulled the next man after him, and the next and the next, until the whole human race hung in deadly peril. But the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, kept his footing. He stood fast. Thus all who are united to him by a living faith are secure and can regain the path.5
What is David’s future blessing?
Whatever knowledge David had concerning the coming of Christ, how did he arrive at it? What did he need, just as we do?
For Further Study: To learn more about what Jesus’ resurrection means for Christians, download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Speaking Sense about the Resurrection.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)
4H. C. Leupold, Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker), p. 152.5Reuben A. Torrey, The Bible and Its Christ (New York: Revell, 1904-1906), pp. 107-108.