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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Psalms 16

Verses 1-11

Let's turn now to Psalms 16:1-11 . The sixteenth psalm is called a Michtam of David. A Michtam is actually a meditation or a prayer. And there are about five or six psalms that are designated as Michtam, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, with the sixteenth. David's prayer unto the Lord is,

Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust ( Psalms 16:1 ).

The prayer for preservation. Now David, I guess, all through his life he had those that were out after him. Sometimes without cause. Saul sought to destroy David. Later Absalom his own son rebelled against him. David was a popular king, but it seems that you have, you know, a person has a capacity of gaining friends, but there are some people who just become your enemy because you have so many friends. There was a lot of jealousy. David was a very handsome young man. He was a very athletic person. He was a very dynamic person. And so it did inspire jealousy, and so David was constantly, it seems, being harassed by those that were jealous of him, seeking to get rid of him. And so the prayer, "Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust."

O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord ( Psalms 16:2 ):

Actually, again, if we read it more literally to the Hebrew, "Thou has said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord." The two different lords again. The first one the name of God; the second one the title by which it expresses my relationship to Him. "Thou art my Lord," my Adonai, my Master. The translation:

my goodness extendeth not to thee ( Psalms 16:2 );

Is actually a poor translation. That would much better be translated, because that doesn't really make much sense, "My goodness extendeth not to Thee." Literally it is, "I have no goodness but Thee," and that is a much better translation. "Lord, I have no goodness but Thee." If there is anything that is good in me, it is from the Lord. I have no goodness outside of Him.

Paul tells us that, "What do you have but what you have received? And if you have received it, then why do you boast as though you didn't receive it?" ( 1 Corinthians 4:7 ) If there is any goodness in my life, it is because of God's work in my life. I can't go around and boast or brag about my work for God or my righteousness or anything else, because my righteousness is that gift of God to me, through my faith in Jesus Christ. "I have no goodness but Thee, Lord," and so it is surely something that we all agree in that truth.

Now, David speaks concerning those that would worship other gods.

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names unto my lips ( Psalms 16:4 ).

I will not utter the names of the other gods, nor will I take up their drink offerings of blood.

Now this is exactly what God had prohibited in the law when He said, "Thou shalt not drink or eat blood." God was referring to the pagan sacrifices, where they would sacrifice an animal to their gods, and as they would take the blood of the animal, they would drink it as a libation unto their gods. The drinking of blood, it was definitely prohibited in the law, not to drink the blood of animals. But it is tragic that the ignorant leaders of the Jehovah Witnesses have translated that commandment to mean that you are not the have any blood transfusions. And as a result of this mistranslation due to the ignorance of the leaders, they are killing more people every year than Jim Jones killed down in Ghana. Hundreds, thousands of people are dying every year because they refuse to take a blood transfusion, because the ignorant leaders of the Watch Tower Society have declared to them that they are damning their souls if they take a blood transfusion because the Bible says that you are not to drink blood.

But God is referring to the pagan practices that were extent in those days where they would sacrifice an animal to their god and take the blood of the animal and drink it. And David is saying, "I will not drink their drink offerings of blood." Referring to the very same practice. It is tragic that the blind are leading the blind into the ditch. My heart goes out to the people that are going around door to door, because they have been deceived by those leaders into believing everything that comes out from Brooklyn is gospel truth. That these men are the true spokesmen for God. Every church is trying to deceive them. They are the only ones who are really preaching the truth of God; all of the churches are really mixed up in the Babylonian system of religion, and thus, all of the churches are to perish and they only have the truth. And these poor people have been deceived, and they are going around door to door to spread that deception. But death is the fruit of that deception.

The LORD is the portion of my inheritance, and of my cup ( Psalms 16:5 ):

I am not going to drink the cup of their drink offerings of blood to their gods, but the Lord is my inheritance and of my cup.

thou maintainest my position. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my mind also will instruct me in the night seasons ( Psalms 16:5-7 ).

Oftentimes I have found that God speaks to me in the night seasons. It used to be when I was younger that I could never remember when I laid down at night. Just slept straight through until the alarm in the morning. But as I am getting older, somehow I just don't sleep through like I used to. Now noises in the night can wake me up. Used to be that you could shake and rattle. In fact, I used to counsel young kids up at the summer camps and I would say to them, "Now, kids, if you are smart you will just wait until I go to sleep and you can carry the camp off and I will never know it. But let me get to sleep." And so they wised up and they would let me get to sleep and then they would terrorize the camp. I'd never know it. I slept so soundly. Nothing would disturb my sleep. But things have changed, and now there are things that do disturb my sleep at night. And it used to be if something would disturb me, I could just roll right back over and go right back to sleep. But, you know, the phone rings at three in the morning and then I have difficulty going back to sleep after that. And I just lie there and I just sort of toss because I have been awakened out of a deep sleep, and now I am in the tossing stage. And I used to get upset at tossing, but no more. I find this is just glorious time to commune with the Lord. He instructs me in the night seasons just to open my heart to God, and it is amazing the things that God pours into my heart in the night hours. So I just now take it as an opportunity, rather than cursing the sleeplessness of night. I just take it as a neat opportunity to be instructed of the Lord in the night seasons.

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved ( Psalms 16:8 ).

And now we are actually getting into a prophecy. Peter quotes this on the day of Pentecost when they have been challenged because of the phenomenon that has taken place, the sound like a mighty rushing wind. The Galilean disciples speaking in many different dialects, and the accusation, "These men are filled with new wine. They are drunk with new wine." And Peter said, "No, these are not drunk as you suppose. It is only nine o'clock in the morning. It is too early to be drunk, but this is that which is spoken of by the prophet Joel," and then he quotes the prophet Joel.

And then he, having given them a scriptural basis for the phenomenon that they were observing, he then began to preach to them. The message was of Jesus. There were seven points to the message. He began by the identification of the person he was going to talk about, "Jesus of Nazareth." There were a lot of little Jewish boys named Jesus. It was a popular name, because Joshua was one of the national heroes. After all, he was the one that led them into the Promise Land. "Jehovah is salvation." So there were many Jewish mothers that were hoping that their child would be the savior also of Israel, and so they named their little boys Joshua, which in Greek is Jesus. And so to identify Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." There was probably a Jesus of Jerusalem, and of Bethany, and of Bethel, and of Samaria, so to identify Him, "Jesus of Nazareth. A man who was proved to be of God by the miracles and wonders that He did in your midst. Whom you, according to the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God, with your wicked hands have crucified and slain. But God has raised Him from the dead." The center truth of the message of Peter. The central truth is the resurrection of Jesus.

That is the central message of the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the hope and the basis of the hope for our whole Christian experience. If Christ be not raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain; we are hopeless. So the central truth, the message of the New Testament, the resurrection. So Peter gets it in the center of the truth that he is proclaiming, "Whom God hath raised from the dead, for it was not possible that He could be held by it. For David," he said, "by the mouth of the Holy Spirit spake of Him saying, 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither will You allow the Holy One to see corruption." In fact, he quoted the whole.

Therefore my heart shall be glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou allow the Holy One to see corruption ( Psalms 16:9-10 ).

Peter saw this as God's direct promise to His Son. And no doubt Jesus made reference to this, and that is why Peter made the association. That this was God's promise to Jesus, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, and neither will You allow your Holy One to see corruption."

Now concerning David, "Let me tell you, he was a prophet and he spake not of himself, but of Him who was to come. And we do testify that God did not leave His soul in hell, and neither did He allow His Holy One to see corruption. But this same Jesus hath God raised from the dead and is exalted Him to the right hand of the throne on high, and has given to Him this which He has shed forth upon us which you now see. That is, the gift of the Holy Spirit." For He said, "I will pray the Father. He'll send you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive."

So this what you see is the result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it is His promise to send the Holy Spirit upon us. But He went into hell with the promise of God that His soul would not be left in hell. So that when Jesus died, and this hell is the Hebrew Sheol, which is also translated grave. "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol, the grave, or hell." Now, prior to the death of Jesus Christ, Sheol of the Hebrew, or Hades of the Greek, was an area in the center of the earth that was divided into two compartments.

And Jesus tells us about it in the sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Luke, where He tells about a certain rich man who faired sumptuously every day and a poor man that was brought daily and laid at his gate full of sores, and the dogs came and licked his sores. And how that the poor man died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. And also the rich man died, and in Hades, hell, lifted up his eyes being in torment. And seeing Abraham afar off and Lazarus there, the man he recognized, being comforted in Abraham's bosom, cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to me that he may take his finger, dip it in water, touch my tongue. I am tormented in this heat." Abraham said, "Well, son, you remember in your lifetime you had the good things, Lazarus evil. Now he is comforted while you are tormented. Besides that, between us there is a gulf that is fixed. It is impossible for those that are here to go over there or those that are there to come over here." "Then I pray thee, if he cannot come over here, send him back, send him back to the earth that he might warn my brothers, lest they come to this awesome place." Abraham said, "They have the law and the prophets. If they will not believe them, neither will they believe should one come back again from the dead."

So Jesus gives us a description of hell in the center of the earth. For one day they were asking Jesus for a sign and He said, "A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" ( Matthew 12:39-40 ). So it is located for us by Jesus.

Now Peter is telling us that this was God's promise to His Son, "Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will You allow the Holy One to see corruption." Paul tells us, in the fourth chapter of Ephesians that He who ascended is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. So when Jesus ascended from the grave, those that were there with Abraham, being comforted, awaiting the promise of God, were delivered from the grave also. He set free those captives.

You remember the prophecy of Isaiah, in the sixty-first chapter where it said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to mend up those that are broken. To set at liberty those that are bound and to open the prison doors to those that are captive." He is talking about the prison doors of death, of Hades, to those that were captive. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, when we are told of all of these great saints of the Old Testament, who by faith, wrought all of these wonderful things, the chapter concludes, "Now these all died in faith, not having received the promise." That is, of resurrection and of eternal life, "but seeing it afar off, they embraced it, they held on to it, and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here." They were looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. And then in the end of the chapter, again it says, "These all died in faith not having received the promise, God having reserved some better thing for us, that they without us could not come into the perfect or completed state."

Until Jesus made the provision on the cross to put away sins, they could not come into the completed state in heaven. The Old Testament sacrifices served to cover their sins, but it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could put away sin. All they could do was to testify of a better offering that was to come, the offering of Jesus Christ Himself for our sins, by which He made the way into heaven for all men. So those in the Old Testament who were by faith believing the promise of God and trusting God through faith to fulfill His promise, they were in one side of hell being comforted by Abraham, and they were released from that captivity at the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Peter, the epistle of Peter, we read where Jesus went down and preached to those souls that were in prison. And so for three days and three nights Jesus was preaching the glorious Good News to those who had been waiting with faithful Abraham for God's promises to be fulfilled. What a time of rejoicing that must have been. And then when He ascended, He broke the bars of the grave. He ascended. He led the captives from their captivity, and gave gifts unto men. So Peter is quoting this in the New Testament, he said, "David, being a prophet, spoke not of himself; his sepulcher is with us till this day. But he was speaking of Jesus, and we bear witness, God did not leave His soul in hell, neither did He allow the Holy One to see corruption."

For thou wilt show to me the path of life: and in thy presence is fullness of joy; and at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore ( Psalms 16:11 ).

This now is the exalted place of Jesus Christ, at the right hand of the Father. He said, "Henceforth You'll not see Me until you see Me sitting there at the right hand of My Father in glory." At thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore, in thy presence there is fullness of joy God has shown to me, not death. "Thou will not leave my soul in the grave, but You have shown to me the path of life." And so the glorious promise to the Son. "And who for the joy that was set before Him by the Father endured the cross though He despised the shame" ( Hebrews 12:2 ).


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 16". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.