“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.’ 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. 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. 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.” Psalm 16:1-8
“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. (happiness)”
…I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.” Abd al-Rahman III of Cordoba, assessing his life at age 70. (circa 1100)
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
From Pleading (Psalm 16:1) to Rock Solid Confidence (Psalm 16:8)
1. The Treasure (v. 2)
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. THESE ARE BUT SHADOWS; BUT THE ENJOYMENT OF GOD IS THE SUBSTANCE. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.” Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12
2. The Refreshment of Community Among God’s People (v. 3)
“Friendship is agreement with kindliness and affection about things human and divine in Jesus Christ our Lord who is our real peace.” (Augustine d. 430)
3. Warnings (“the sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply”) and Resolve (“I will not take their name on my lips”) (v. 4)
4. Provision, Protection, and Expectation (vv. 5-6, 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.” Psalm 16:11
5. The Trusted Counselor (v. 7)
“The terrible danger of our time consists in the fact that ours is a Cut Flower Civilization. Beautiful as cut flowers may be, as much as we may use our ingenuity to keep them looking fresh for a while, they will eventually die, and they die because they are severed from their sustaining roots. We are trying to maintain the dignity of the individual apart from the deep faith that every man is made in God’s image and is therefore precious in God’s eyes.” Elton Trueblood, The Predicament of Modern Man
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
1. Why is it important to remember that good gifts are the beams but the Triune God is the sun? (see the quote by Jonathan Edwards)
2. What are some applications of 1 John 1:5 in daily living?
3. Who are some of the excellent ones (noble, Christ-honoring believers) in your life, past and present?
4. How do the sorrows of idolaters multiply?
5. Where are the “pleasant places” where the Good Shepherd has led you?