Dr. Tucker Ferda, Lecturer in New Testament


Psalm 16

1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; 
          I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, 
          in whom is all my delight.
4 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.
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; 
          you hold my lot. 
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
          I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; 
          in the night also my heart instructs me. 
8 I keep the LORD always before me; 
          because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; 
          my body also rests secure. 
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol, 
          or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life. 
          In your presence there is fullness of joy; 
          in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


There are several terms in this Psalm that also fill advertisements this time of year: “Delight,” “gladness,” “rejoicing,” “joy,” “pleasures.” These ads call us to adopt these attitudes in the same way we would purchase products and thus are ultimately about our own gratification and enjoyment of the holiday season. The psalmist offers a different picture, and one with deepened significance in the light of the incarnation of Jesus Christ:  “Delight,” “gladness,” “rejoicing,” “joy,” “pleasures” are due to God’s character and God’s nearness to us. We affirm, with the psalmist, that our hearts are “glad” and our souls “rejoice” because God is “always before” us and has come near to us in Christ. We are “secure” because of that gift, and “shall not be moved.”


Gracious God, enable us to sing “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Be our delight, portion, and cup this day, as we wait for what only you can provide and have in fact provided. Let us sing this psalm with lives that delight to take refuge in you. Amen.