1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Of all the Old Testament scripture quoted in the New Testament, the psalms account for 40 percent. This psalm in particular is noted twice in the New Testament, once by Peter (Acts 2:25-28) and then by Paul (Acts 13:35). David opens this psalm like many others, asking for protection from God, however, it is not written in the typical ‘imminent danger’ fashion of David. This psalm is considered by many scholars, and by New Testament Apostles as a Messianic Psalm. It points to Christ, and even is spoken in part – through the prophet David – by Christ. As I read it, it seems to go back and forth between David speaking and then David speaking on behalf of Christ. This is common in many books of the Bible, such as Habakkuk, where he and God have a conversation. This psalm is not a conversation but imitates how God often works in other books.. making sure the reader knows that it is He who is supplying the inspiration.
Though Jesus was fully God, he was also fully man, and being so asks for God’s protection (vs. 1). He makes the case that in God is where he finds refuge. This is the same heart response for those of us who are sealed by the Holy Spirit for salvation. We constantly ask for protection and rely on God for our place of safety and security. Jesus found His security in the Father. In verse 2 Jesus recognizes that God is his Lord and that apart from the Father he has no good thing. A better translation from the Hebrew is that he cannot offer anything to make God better. Christ’s atonement was not needed, but was given as a gift for those who would be saved. God did not need to offer any type of atonement for mankind, because God is whole without us. We cannot offer anything of benefit to God. There is nothing we can do to change Him into thinking or doing one thing or another. God does not need us… however, He offers us redemption through His Son’s work on the cross. What an amazing picture of the humility of Christ to give the Father all the glory!
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him”. – John 5
In verse 3 we see the love given to those whom Christ deems as holy. In them He finds delight. This is in stark contradiction to those in verse 4 who are running after other gods. This picture helps us better understand how God regards those that are not part of His people. Christ will not offer His blood for those who place other things before Him. “You are what you eat” comes to mind. If you worship the things of this world, then those things become your gods. Those things consume you and give way to what you are really worshiping, yourself. As basic as it may seem, all things done or hoped for outside of Christ are fueling our pride, and as the psalmist says it will cause us to suffer more and more. Escape comes only thru Christ. Freedom comes only thru Christ. At the end of this age names will be spoken, and all those who have placed their faith in Christ will be on the lips of Him (Revelation 3:5).
Verses 5-8 continue in humility, revealing that what the psalmist desires most is his God. As someone who has been given the gift of life through Christ we are assured that our treasure is God, Himself. He is our portion – He is what we are given as a most awesome gift. What more could we ask for than the one and only Eternal God as our hearts desire? What other possession could yield such joy? He is our cup – he is what we must be filled with, constantly. If we are not filling ourselves with His Word, we are filling ourselves with emptiness. Best of all, we can rest secure knowing that it is the Lord who keeps us in Himself. He is who makes our lot / our inheritance secure. Our salvation cannot be lost.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:4-6
What are the boundary lines in verse 6? If God is omnipotent, omnipresent, all powerful, and nothing happens beyond His control, then surly we can understand His sovereignty in all things. This includes our lives. He knows all and has ordained all to pass. If one thing happens outside of what He desires then He is no longer God because something else has the power to overrule Him. This all being true, then God has laid out the ‘boundaries’ of our lives. There is a time, a purpose, and a reason for all things that we encounter, good and bad. The psalmist says here that his life has been laid out in such a way that it is pleasant, and that he is aware of and sure that he has a wonderful inheritance. We might think this is odd written from David, or even from Christ, since neither one of their lives was ‘pleasant’. However, as both of them knew well, it is not this life that we should cling to, but the one which is to come. It is possible to be sure of your inheritance in the Lord, and that in itself creates a pleasant life in which to wait for eternity.
Once the truth of God’s sovereignty is fully realized, there is a peace that sweeps over your heart. This is why Paul says, if God is for us, who can be against us. If we are positive in God’s grasp of our souls for salvation and that absolutely nothing can separate us from Him, then it is cause for praise and celebration as verse 7 continues. It is by God’s grace, and because of Him that we can praise Him. It’s all about Him. It’s so amazing, and so humbling. In all things God will instruct if we have ears to hear Him. His Spirit guides us as we read the scripture and learn more and more about our awesome God. As our eyes are on Him, we understand that He alone has the power to keep us for eternity, and will work in us to produce perseverance for that day.
It is in this praise of who God is – unchanging, and always present – that we read verses 9-11. Here the psalmist describes the salvation of not only his soul, but his body. In Acts 13:36 we are given the explanation of how this could be, since David was a man who died and was buried. This is Jesus who is speaking. He is the only man who has ever died and risen bodily, defeating death, his body being spared from decay. It was by God’s power that Jesus rose from the dead and was given new life. It is this same power that brings to life each person who is saved – who was marked for salvation since before time began. This is the closing line in the psalm, that God is forever to be praised for the work He does. He alone has the power to save, and give eternal pleasure to all who will hear His voice. For Christ, the eternal reward is the church, His bride.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. – Ephesians 1:18-23