Peter quotes part of this psalm in his sermon in Acts 2:25-28
to support the resurrection of Jesus. So, we as Christians
come to the psalm affirming its voice in the life of Israel’s faith
even as we affirm its apparent witness to Jesus’ resurrection.
The psalmist opens with a one-word imperative: Protect.
That word may also be translated as “guard, keep, preserve.”
He affirms God’s refuge, declares God to be the Lord of his life,
and acknowledges God’s blessings upon him—no good comes to
him apart from God.
The psalmist remembers all the “holy ones,” those who have
called upon God in times of trouble. They are noble in his sight,
and he happily acknowledges his delight in them. They are chief
among the blessings of faith, brothers and sisters who through
the ages have, in challenging times, taken refuge in God. He
contrasts the holy ones, those who place their loyalty and trust in
God, with “those who choose another god.” He identifies himself
as one loyal to God and to God’s people.
The psalmist makes a clear choice to serve God. He knows
the Lord as the source of his every good. By contrast, those who
fail to make a similar choice only multiply their sorrows. So the
psalmist wants nothing to do with them. He will not take their
names upon his lips. He keeps his focus on the Lord, who is his
chosen portion. Such a steadfast gaze on God alone reaps immediate
benefit: a “goodly heritage.”
Like the psalmist, we too can choose a relationship with
God, a God who listens patiently and offers protection and
refuge. As we experience the security of that relationship, the
expansive nature of that relationship, we will find that our
boundary lines fall in “pleasant places.”
Gracious God, as we recognize the blessings of our “goodly heritage,” help us to acknowledge the saints who inspire us to renewed vision and courage. Amen.
Psalm 16 and Acts 2 fit together, since the latter quotes the former. Both celebrate God’s presence in human life and the powerful expression of that presence. In his Pentecost sermon Peter sees a messianic application of the psalm to the resurrection of Jesus. First Peter affirms that resurrection creates community, stressing the faith and love of Christians that arise without the experience of physical contact with Jesus. For later generations, belief and commitment are born out of the witness of others.
• Read Acts 2:14a, 22-32. When has a life experience made you, like Peter, feel that your faith was a sham? How did you move past that experience into renewed hope?
• Read Psalm 16. When have you perceived God as refuge? How has your faith in God steadied your life? What is your “goodly heritage”?
• Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. What act of power and grace on God’s part allows you to reconfigure or reinterpret your life story?
• Read John 20:19-31. When have you employed the power to release others from their sin? to leave them in their sin?
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