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  • Writer's pictureDale DuBose

Psalm 16

Author: Valerie Seely

When I was single, I longed to be married. When I was teaching English in a small mid-western town, I longed to be on the mission field doing great things for God. When I was on the mission field raising four small children in a 9 th floor apartment, I longed to be in the USA near my parents. When the borders to China closed and our family found ourselves on the farm with my parents, I longed to go back home to China. Now I’m living in Union Mills in a dormitory, longing for a “real” home. Hmmm . . . notice a

pattern here? I may be the only one like this, but I know the plans I have for my life. Surely I know best what makes me happy!

Psalm 16 is a psalm of trust that I have come back to many times over the years. After a plea for God to keep him safe, David, in Psalm 16:2 says, “I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” The Lord is David’s one and only good thing. Deep down what I’m really longing for is the Lord. Only He can satisfy. I know I have a God-shaped void. I just keep vainly trying to fill it with lesser things.

In verse 5-6 David refers to the allotments of land that each tribe received by lot when they entered the promised land. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” A host offers his guest a cup of something good to drink. But what if our portion, our cup, our inheritance is not so pleasant? We’re full of sin, sickness, suffering, finding ourselves in situations we’d never choose. . .

The Levites are intriguing to me. They received no land in the allotments given to the tribes of Israel because the Lord himself was to be their inheritance. The Lord said, “I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.” (Num. 18:20) I ask myself which I would choose . . . A nice piece of land to settle on, or the Lord Himself? This is actually a choice I need to make daily. The Lord offers me Himself, His salvation and blessing. Is this not enough for me? Will I trust the Lord enough to choose Him and find that He really satisfies?

There is not much in my life that I truly have control over. But what I can do is “set the Lord always before me”, as the object of my longing. “Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Ps. 16:8) Psalm 16:9-10 describes the total security of trusting the Lord – David says his heart is glad, his speech is positive, his body is at rest. No complaining words or anxious tummy aches for him. He knew God was enough and God would not abandon him. And ultimately David was referring to Christ himself –

“because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (vs. 10). Christ was resurrected from the grave and so will I be! Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! He has made known to me the path of Life; regardless of my circumstances I can be filled with joy in his presence now, and eternal pleasures at his right hand (vs. 11).


Lord, help me live with open hands, accepting my particular portion and cup as your specific assignment for me. May you give me strength and courage to say, “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” “Whom have I in heaven by you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)

What are you longing for? Release it to the Lord as an act of worship and trust that He knows best.

In acceptance lieth peace,

O my heart be still;

Let thy restless worries cease

And accept His will.

Though this test be not thy choice,

It is His—therefore rejoice.

In His plan there cannot be

Aught to make thee sad:

If this is His choice for thee,

Take it and be glad.

Make from it some lovely thing

To the glory of thy King.

Cease from sighs and murmuring,

Sing His loving grace,

This thing means thy furthering

To a wealthy place.

From thy fears He’ll give release,

In acceptance lieth peace.

- Hannah Hurnard

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