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Thursday, June 30, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 16
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble ones
in whom is all my delight.
Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
I bless the Lord, who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (NRSV)
When I read this psalm my first thought was that this sounds like something from the letters in the New Testament. In the New Revised Standard translation, it is captioned as a “Song of Trust and Security in God.” It is also labeled a “Miktam of David.” In his commentary, eighteenth-century minister Matthew Henry says some translate miktam as “a golden psalm, a very precious one, more to be valued by us than gold, yea, than much fine gold, because it speaks so plainly of Christ and his resurrection, who is the true treasure hidden in the field of the Old Testament.”
Psalm 16 has the feel of the Gospel message. It starts with the standard petition for protection and moves to the declaration that everything good in life comes from God. The poetry concludes with the assurance of an eternity of joy in God’s presence.
The verses in between expand on what the presence and joy of God means to the psalmist.
I take a minimalist view of God’s message. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
To my way of thinking everything else is commentary—necessary commentary, but commentary, nonetheless.
I find great comfort as I see that this axiom of faith runs throughout the entirety of God’s word to us.
Lord, thank you for the gift of your Holy Word. Help me to be ever mindful of the bedrock of the message, lest I get lost on the periphery. Amen.
Written by Blake Anderson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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