Psalm 16

Small White Flowers

According to the Blue Letter Bible, Psalm 16 may have been written around the time that the prophet Nathan told David that his “throne would be established forever,” (through many children), but that he was not the one to build a temple.

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Miktam of David.

What is a miktam? According to, scholars are not completely certain.

“No one is precisely sure what a michtam (or miktam) was, and that’s why the Hebrew word remains as a transliteration in our English Bibles. Translators didn’t know how to translate michtam, so they spelled it phonetically and called it good enough.

Psalm 16 is titled ‘A miktam of David.’ The other psalms that are called “michtams” are Psalms 56–60. All six of these are psalms of David. In Isaiah 38:9, King Hezekiah’s song is introduced with these words: ‘A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery.’ The Hebrew word for ‘writing’ here is miktab, which many scholars believe is related to michtam.” Psalm 16 doesn’t speak of illness outright, but it certainly offers encouragement in hard times. Let’s start off with Psalm 16:1-2.

Preserve 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.”

We know we can trust God and rely on Him. Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” This is meant to be encouragement for people enduring circumstances that feel endless and appear seemingly impossible. Hebrews 11:1 promises that we can trust God. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

In John 15:4-6, John uses a metaphor to describe a person’s relationship with Jesus. Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” We are like nothing without Christ, but we can find encouragement to do anything if we believe that he died and rose again.

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.

Psalm 16:3 reflects Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

Humanity was the pinnacle of creation and the apex of His delight. Let’s continue with Psalm 16:5-6…

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

God holds our futures in His hands – whether we choose to believe in Him or not. He has plans for us according to Jeremiah. King Nebuchadnezzar had driven the Jewish people into exile. Jeremiah 29:10-12 states, “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you…” This was a promise to the Jewish people, but choosing to follow the Lord is not a path of ease. Matthew 7:14 tells us, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Yet, the Lord provides us with guidance and strength, as we can see in Psalm 16:7-8.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

The wisdom God provides allows us to stand tall and endure any trial. We can trust in Him. Paul’s letter in Corinthians 12:9 reminds us, But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Hardship can lead to joy, as we see in verses 9-10.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

God allows us to endure hardship so that we can be whole in Him when we believe that Christ died for our sins. According to Merriam Webster, “joy” as a verb implies, “to experience great pleasure or delight.” Completion – He fulfills our longings. This is even further described in verse 11.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

When Christ fills us, there is no need for worry, as Christ teaches in Matthew 6:25-26: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” He fulfills our needs and restores us after we suffer challenges. Believe in Him as Lord and Savior, and Christ will restore you also.

We can pray something along the lines of: Dear God, please give me patience and endurance through this difficult time, because You promise in Psalm 16:8 that you “will always be there” and that “I will not be shaken.” I feel weak at times, and I need your strength. Please strengthen my faith, and provide for and protect me during difficult times. Amen.

Have a blessed evening!

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