A Prayer for the New Year
Text: Psalm 16
The Plea of the Petitioner "Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You."
The Posture of the Petitioner
Submissive: Addressed to the Lord / Acknowledged as his Lord: I said to the Lord, “You are [c]my Lord;“ Since He is the Lord, God has a right to require of us whatever he pleases. By calling Him Lord, he declares that both himself and all he possessed are the property of God.”
Humbly Self-Aware: Acknowledgment that he has nothing to offer: "I have no good besides You. Again, in Romans 7:18 Paul writes, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me.”
Our goodness does not add to Him, because:
first, He himself is all-sufficient and stands in need of nothing, and
second, because we are empty and destitute of all good things, and have nothing with which to show ourselves beneficial to Him.
Cheerfully Connected: He takes delight in the fellowship with and service to God’s children. “As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.” Since our good deeds cannot benefit God, He equips and calls us to serve His body, the church instead. It is the petitioners delight to be among God’s children.
Holy: Keeps pure in their human ties. We cannot be truly united into the body of Christ, if we do not break from the world. “The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” We must seek to separate ourselves from the world and keep ourselves pure and at a distance from all that pollutes our singular devotion to God.
The Practice of the Petitioner
In contrast to the enticements of the world, the psalmist is satisfied with God. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup. It may be difficult to turn away from the world and its pleasures, unless you embrace something of greater beauty, pleasure, and lasting value. This is how the psalmist views his relationship with God. It is a reward, and inheritance, to be enjoyed, and God himself guarantees the ultimate fulfillment of His promises. Thou dost support my lot.
Then the evaluation of the inheritance is that it is good. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. We have good reason to be content, since God (who is the fullness of all good) has given himself to be enjoyed by us, so our true condition will always be pleasant and comfortable; for those who have God as their portion lack nothing which is needed for a pleasant life. Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me
Worship: Blessing God is our response to God’s initiative in our lives. “I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel. My mind (heart) instructs me in the night.” He counsels us by the Holy Spirit, and speaks to our hearts and minds in the nights when the distractions of the world are lessened. That He has pursued us, that He has taken the initiative to move upon our heart and mind to draw us to Himself is reason to worship Him.
Consistency: “I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” A persistent practice of acknowledging His presence and sovereignty over our life and circumstances, so much so that regardless of the appearance of adverse circumstances, even then we are not shaken.
"Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;” is the expression of the satisfied soul that knows we are in His hands and in His heart. “My glory rejoices,” is the expression of the satisfied soul that knows we are in His hands and in His heart. “My glory rejoices,” is the celebration of the image of God in us being rekindled and fulfilled in His presence.
We can even have confidence looking forward, My flesh also will dwell securely, because the God who has fashioned us in the flesh is able to care for our flesh.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol (the place of the dead); Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. Speaking of our resurrection but also prophetically of Jesus. Note Paul spoke quoting this passage in his sermon in Acts 13. Even in consideration of death and resurrection, the psalmist proclaims, “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life.” He is confident of God’s provision for life here and now, as well as beyond the grave.
The Perfection of the Petitioner
Presence Awareness: The psalmist comes to a new recognition of his condition. His plea to be preserved and rescued (v.1) has been answered as he changed his focus from his circumstances to a focus on God. Now the focus is not on rescue, or deliverance, but a recognition that “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” You can almost see the transformation in the psalmist from fear and uncertainty, to confidence and joy even though the circumstances have not changed.
Positive Optimism: Then there is an even greater expression of faith in future grace, "In Your right hand there are pleasures forever". We can hear the longing in the psalmist to experience the continuing pleasures of God that He holds for those draw near and trust Him.
Fearless Faith: The attitude with which the psalmist faces an uncertain future has drastically changed. He was fearful and seeking deliverance, now he faces the future with excitement and anticipation for what God will do in his life moving forward.