The Sure & Satisfying Inheritance of God's People

Guided by a Sovereign God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:05
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Psalm 16
A Michtam of David.
In life, we have two basic desires – to feel safe and to feel satisfied. These two basic desires drive so many choices we make every day. When we don’t feel safe, fear and anxiety grip our minds. When we don’t feel satisfied, greed and lust control our hearts.
Entire industries (like marketing) and professional services (like psychology) devote themselves to fulfilling these desires. Insurance companies, home security systems, gun manufacturers, healthcare providers, and investment agencies promise to make us safer. Fine dining, collectibles, travel, entertainment, and entertainment promise to satisfy us.
How much money and power would it take for you to finally feel safe and satisfied, needing nothing more? If you, like David, were king over an entire nation, would you feel safe and satisfied? With so many opportunities and resources at your disposal, couldn’t you at last be able to get what you need to feel satisfied and safe?
In this psalm, David tells how he resolved both these desires. His answer may surprise, because it has nothing to do with leveraging his power or wealth. His solution cost nothing and is available to anyone. He found safety and satisfaction not in circumstances, experiences, and possessions, but in a close, confident relationship with God. Rather than run away from God to fulfill these desires, he ran to God instead.
Do you feel perfectly safe and satisfied? Are you pursuing these feelings in the wrong places? Or like David, have you found total safety and satisfaction with God?
Together, let’s trace David’s thoughts and let God’s Word challenge us to find safety and satisfaction in a close relationship with him, not just today but forever.

David expresses his trust in God.

Preserve me, God,
because I have taken shelter in you.
I said to Yahweh, “You are my Lord;
I have nothing good apart from you.”
Preserve means “to guard or watch over.” Take shelter means to hide somewhere for protection, such as in a cave or castle. As king over the nation of Israel, David had a castle and army to protect him, yet he still felt scared. So, he learned not to rely on those things for his safety. He relied on God instead.
In these opening verses, David speaks of God three ways. He calls him ‘God’ (categorical title), then ‘Yahweh’ (personal name), then ‘Lord’ (royal title). By using Lord, David submits himself to God as king and master over his life, which is remarkable for David to say because he was also a king and Lord over a nation.
To find safety and satisfaction in God like David, we must fully submit to God as King and Lord. We cannot set the agenda and rules for our lives and expect to feel safe and satisfied in doing so. Freedom from anxiety and genuine satisfaction in life begin when we submit our lives entirely to God, when we rest in him and delight in him.
As Augustine, a well-known believer from the ancient port city of Hippo in Northern Africa, rightly observed, “Because God has made us for himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in him.”
By saying, “I have nothing good apart from you,” David traces every good circumstance and detail in his life back to God.
He correctly understood what James would later say in the NT, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights” (Jam 1:17).
Paul agreed with this correct perspective when he said, “God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy…” (1 Tim 6:17).
If there is anything good in or about your life, then it comes from God. Yet we should do more than acknowledge this fact of where good things come from. We should acknowledge that we cannot enjoy true safety and satisfaction from these things without experiencing them in tandem with a close relationship with God.
We enjoy food best, for instance, when we enjoy it as being from God. That’s why we give thanks to God from our hearts for our food before we eat it. When we distance or divorce God’s gifts from the God who gave them, we separate him from his blessings and then easily slide into worshiping his gifts rather than himself.

David associated himself with godly people.

As for the chosen ones who are in the land,
they even the prominent ones,
in them is all my delight.
They will increase their pain who hurry after another;
I will not pour their drink offerings of blood,
and I will not bear their names on my lips.
In these next verses, David explains a commitment to pursue close relationships with godly people. As king over the people of Israel, he chose to associate with certain kinds of people on one hand while disassociating himself with other kinds on the other.
Delight here means to find joy and pleasure in people; it is a word about relationships. In a negative sense, Eccl 5:4 tells us that “God has no pleasure in fools.” In a positive sense, David said, “I am a companion of all who fear you, and of those who keep your precepts.”
“The chosen ones who are in the land” here likely refers Israelite people who lived in the land of Palestine, which God had given them. “Even the prominent ones” (or “excellent,” “glorious” ones) likely refers to those who had leadership roles among the people of Israel.
Next, David clarifies that he did not closely associate with everyone who governed or lived in the land of Israel. Some living in the land chased after other gods. These chose to hurry or run after other gods besides Yahweh. They did not submit to Yahweh as Lord but pursued their safety and satisfaction from other gods, instead.
This principle, associating with ungodly people carries over into the NT, when James says, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jam 4:4).
So, David is saying that one ways he demonstrated his total reliance upon God for safety and satisfaction is by associating himself with people who do the same and by disassociating himself with people who do not.
The word for pour drink offerings never in the Old Testament refers to the kind of sacrifices or offerings given in the Jewish tabernacle or temple. It refers to offering sacrifices to pagan deities and included the practice of drinking blood as part of such rituals, so David is specifically referring to the worship of gods other than Yahweh.
That he would “not bear their names on my lips” most likely refers not to the names of the people who did these things but to the names of the other gods. In fact, you may have noticed that false gods are not even mentioned at all (though some translations supply god). They are referred to merely as “another” in the first line of v.4.
Can you see the contrast here? David calls speaks of God, Yahweh, and the Lord all while mentioning no names of any pagan deities at all.
With a new school year starting soon, you may be presented with a choice to make new friends. Though we should be caring and friendly to all, we should build close, heartfelt relationships only with those who love and fear God. Will you associate with people who trust in God and distance yourself from those who do not? Will you run after other gods and participate in the ungodly activities and behavior of people who are searching for safety and satisfaction apart from God?
Ultimately, David reminded himself that those who look for safety and satisfaction from other gods would find the opposite experience. They would “increase their pain” instead.
Pain here covers a range of undesirable experiences, from mental and emotional anxiety to physical injury and pain. When you’re tempted to run after other gods and to pursue safety and satisfaction in ungodly ways, remember that your safety and satisfaction will not increase but will go from bad to worse. Your anxiety and pain will increase.
The blessing of God is different. As Prov 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” When you find your safety and satisfaction in God, then anxiety, guilt, pain, regret, and sorrow does not accompany the pleasure.

David trusted exclusively in God.

Yahweh is my share of the territory – my cup,
and you uphold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, my inheritance is beautiful to me.
I will bless Yahweh who gives me counsel –
even at night my heart instructs me.
I set Yahweh before me continually;
since he is at my right hand, I will not be moved.
So, David trusted completely in God for safety and satisfaction in this life and he lived out this trust by associating himself with people who shared his values and by disassociating himself with people who did not.
Now, notice how David found his safety and satisfaction not in the things which God provided but in God himself. In the opening verses, he said he had taken shelter not from God but in God. Here he says that he enjoyed not merely the territory or cup which God had given him, but he enjoyed God as his territory and cup.
By “my cup,” he viewed what God provided to him (esp. God himself) as the drink or food portion served to him at a meal. He was satisfied with his portion and didn’t want more.
At the end of the book of Joshua, we read how God assigned certain areas of land to the tribes of Israel. This property, then, was divided into smaller plots of ground among the families of that tribe. These plots were then passed down to each family’s children, from one generation to the next as a guaranteed inheritance.
People didn’t buy and sell real estate then like we do today. Even if a person sold real estate, laws guaranteed that the land would eventually return to a person in the original family line. So, boundary lines of real estate holdings were remarkably secure and stable.
Such stability would tend to bring a feeling of security, wouldn’t you think? Yet, David chose to find his security in God instead. He chose to trust God for the security of his possessions, as well. What about you? Do you find your security in God or in the material and financial possessions he provides?
David found not only his security but his satisfaction in God’s provision. He said, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” So, he was satisfied with exactly what God had provided. Though the original property lines had been assigned by casting lots (like casting dice), David believed God had superintended that seemingly random process. He did not wish he had another man’s property or wish to file a border dispute.
Like David, we demonstrate our complete trust in God when we express gratitude and satisfaction with what he provides. This attitude acknowledges the providence of God – the belief that God accomplishes his will for our lives not only through occasional, extraordinary interventions but through ordinary circumstances and details of life.
Are you anxious, dissatisfied, or restless with your life as God has provided it for you? Are you grateful and satisfied with your appearance? Abilities? Family? Spouse? Children? Housing arrangement? Vehicle? Job? Finances? A failure to be grateful for the life God has providentially given you fosters anxiety, covetousness, greed, and lust. But gratitude for God’s providential provision encourages satisfaction and peace.
Next, David explains how he practiced trust in God. Not only did he find his security and satisfaction with God and what he provides through circumstances, but he followed God’s counsel and plans through Scripture. Though he was king over the nation of Israel, he submitted himself devotedly and humbly to God by following the counsel of God’s Word.
This commitment to being guided by the Word of God should remind us of how the book of Psalms opens, saying, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law, he meditates day and night” (Psa 1:1-2).
David shows the degree of his devotion to following God’s counsel three ways:
He carefully considered the teaching of God’s Word even late at night during those times when his mind was still active and awake.
He lived at all times as though Yahweh was standing right before him. This awareness of God protected David from making unwise and wrong decisions.
He envisioned God being at his right hand, the place where a king’s primary counselor would sit in a royal courtroom – meaning God was his primary source of counsel.
Since David trusted completely in God, he enjoyed a feeling of complete security and satisfaction. He said, “I will not be moved” (or “shaken,” “swayed,” or “toppled”). Secure and satisfied people are not easily deceived or tempted, nor do they become easily afraid, anxious, discouraged, or frustrated. Rather than be afraid or anxious about what the future might hold, he was glad in the face of the unknown.

David trusted God into eternity.

Therefore, my heart is glad,
and my whole being rejoices,
and my body rests securely.
For you will not abandon my life to Sheol,
nor will you give your faithful one to the Pit.
You will show me the pathway of life;
there is fullness of joy in your presence,
there are pleasures at your right hand forever.
David closes this psalm by looking to the future with glad and positive optimism, not bitter or fearful pessimism, which reminds me of what Benjamin Franklin once said. During the gatherings of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, George Washington sat on a chair which featured the painted carving of a half-faced sun.
As the convention came to a close, Franklin said: “I have often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: but now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”
This is how David viewed the future because of his close and confident relationship with God. Because he found his safety and satisfaction in God alone, he knew his future would be secure and satisfying as well and even more.
This optimism was more than a fleeting thought or momentary feeling. It permeated his entire being, his whole person, as his “heart,” “whole being” (or “glory”), and “body” indicates a comprehensive experience that includes both his inner and outer, immaterial and material, physical and emotional being. Gladness and confidence was his full and genuine feeling and experience. He was no longer restless – a quality which describes so many people today.
As David looked ahead, he saw – as we all do – the inevitable shadow of death. Even so, he had confidence that the very same God who had guided him through life would guide him through death, as well. Though he knew he would die – as we all do – he knew that his relationship with God would not end at death but would continue onward forever.
When we die, God does not abandon us and move on. He guides us forward on the pathway of life. David felt so secure and satisfied in his relationship with and trust in God that he knew he would experience even greater joy and pleasure after death and that this increased security and satisfaction would last forever.
“How did David get to this point,” asks the preacher James Montgomery Boice? “There is only one answer. It was by the logic of faith. He reasoned that if God had blessed him and kept him in this life, then God, who does not change, would undoubtedly keep him and bless him in the life to come” (Psalms 1-41: An Expositional Commentary, 134).
Paul expressed this same optimism about life beyond death when he said, “We prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8, NIV)
Again, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain … for I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better …” (Phil 1:23).

Lasting safety and satisfaction are possible because of Christ.

Before we conclude, I need to draw your attention to a very important reality – that our lasting safety and satisfaction are due specifically to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter pointed this out in a sermon in Acts 2:29-33:
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.”
In Christ, we have both God and the man who represents us. We have the one person who died and returned from the dead, never to die again. And because he did this, we have more than promises and a wishful hope that death is not the end but the beginning.
When death does come knocking, we know – because of Christ’s resurrection – that God will not abandon us in the grave. We will be resurrected and restored to his presence – temporarily in heaven and then forever in the New Earth which he will create, free from the presence of death, sin, and sorrow and infinitely safer and more satisfying than anything this present world can provide.
What about you? Are you facing a new school year? A new job? A difficult health crisis? The prospect of death? Relationship problems? Financial challenges? Political or social concerns? Or problems related to your employment or career?
On a scale of 1-10, how safe and how satisfied are you feeling today? Are you not only confident but glad about what the future holds because you are trusting completely in God and following the clear counsel of his Word?
If you are feeling anxious or afraid, dissatisfied and wanting more – then what sort of people are you associating yourself with? And what things are you chasing after to provide you with the safety and satisfaction that you desire?
Let me remind you that when you search for safety and satisfaction apart from close and confident relationship with God, you will always and only increase and intensify your pain. But when you trust in Christ alone as your Savior and submit to him as your King and Master, he will provide you with complete and lasting safety and satisfaction forever.
“Reuben A. Torrey, a Bible teacher of an earlier generation, tells the story of four men who were climbing the most difficult face of the Matterhorn. A guide, a tourist, a second guide, and a second tourist were all roped together. As they went over a particularly difficult place, the second tourist lost his footing and went over the side. The sudden pull of the rope carried the second guide with him, and he carried the other tourist along also. Three men were now dangling over the cliff. But the guide who was in the lead, feeling the first pull upon the rope, drove his ax into the ice, braced himself, and held fast. The first tourist then regained his footing, the guide regained his, and the second tourist followed. They went on in safety” (An Expositional Commentary, 134-35).
So is our life today, as though we are climbing the difficult face of a mountain. We feel anxious and insecure. We wonder what will happen if we fall over the edge. But when we are anchored to Christ, we are not only completely safe but completely free to enjoy the journey. And even if we do – when we do – fall over the edge, we know that we will still be fastened to him forever with an eternity to enjoy in the New Creation. This is the sure and satisfying inheritance of God’s people.
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