April 23 – Devotion Sharing (Psalm 16)

Submitted by Cynthia P. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 16

Prayer

1 Keep me safe, O God,

for in you I take refuge.

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

apart from you I have no good thing.”

Lord, thank you that you are my refuge, someone I can go to when I feel unsafe in a fallen world. God you are the source of all goodness and apart from you, it’s so true that I have no good thing. Lord, I confess that there are times I listen to the lies of this world and think that other things can keep me safe such as financial security or comforts of this world or even a loving spouse and family but I am reminded of who you are, the Sovereign Lord, my Shelter and true Refuge.

3 As for the saints who are in the land,

they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

Lord, there are so many saints who are glorious and who are my delight.  In particular, as we mourn the passing away of your servant Chuck Colson, I am reminded of what a glorious life he led. He is undoubtedly one of the heroes in my life and for our church as we have read his books, subscribed to daily Breakpoint articles, and had the privilege of hosting him on numerous occasions.  It is a bittersweet thought to know that he is with You, sad to have lost such a godly man but thankful that he is now at home with You where he can have eternal rest and be in that great multitude worshipping you.  Lord, I am very inspired by his life, that he finished this race, strong to the end. As a young man when he was released from prison, he could’ve gone back to just a quiet life but he didn’t and instead committed to go back and serve prisoners and started Prison Fellowship.  There could have been so many junctures after that when he could have reasonably told himself that he was getting old and should stop and rest, but he didn’t. At the age of 80, he was still so actively involved in serving you, it’s amazing!  How do I delight and take pleasure in godly people and heroes like Chuck Colson, or other saints right before me like my spiritual leaders at this church?  Lord, please help me to delight in them more by committing to a life following their example.  If I really delighted in them, I think it should result in me wanting to emulate them and not in me wanting to just praise them from a distance and live my own selfish life. Lord, please help me to pour out my life for your kingdom work and not hold back and never quit and be in it for the long haul!

4 The sorrows of those will increase

who run after other gods.

I will not pour out their libations of blood

or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, this is so true, that those who chase after other gods will only increase in their sorrow and troubles. But the lies of this world tell us the opposite, at times I hear the voices that lie to me and say that living this life of discipleship will increase my sorrow because it’ll be hard, while a life of carefree, selfish living is more enjoyable.  But I only need to go back to my own testimony, of how I was before I became a Christian and the answer is clear.  Growing up, though I was physically at church, my heart was busy chasing after other gods, namely academic success, romance, people’s approval and it resulted in the increase of my sorrows and troubles; I was as restless as ever and full of shame and guilt and regrets.  How silly of me to forget this reality!

5 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;

you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Lord, indeed, you have assigned me my portion and my cup and made my lot secure and I am so thankful for this.  I am so thankful for your boundary lines, without which, I would have only gotten myself into deeper sorrows and troubles.  Lord, I confess all the times in which I have fought against the boundary lines in my life or seen them more as restrictions instead of protections, when I had this groundless rebellion against anything that seemed to limit my “freedom”.  But more and more as I get older, I see with the gift of hindsight how the boundary lines really have been pleasant as I see the depth of my sinfulness and how my “freedom” often results in others getting hurt.  Compared to that, how rich my life is right now because of the boundary lines that I have submitted to, surely I have a delightful inheritance.  And I want to commit to living a life of welcoming more boundary lines as that is the call of discipleship to every believer and what it means to love.

7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;

even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the Lord always before me.

Because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;

my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,

nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

11 You have made known to me the path of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Lord, I praise you for counseling me and for being with me.  Thank you for your promise that you will not abandon me to the grave.  Thank you that you have made known to me the path of life.  I only pray for the grace to remain on this path.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Submitted by Josh W. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 16

1        Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.

Safety from what?  Refuge from what?  I need safety from sin and from Satan.  Satan uses my sin to trap me.  How naïve it is when I think that my talents or abilities can keep me safe from Satan and sin.  Only you can be that kind of refuge.  I do not take refuge in my abilities or my talents.  I do not take refuge in what I can do with my theater background in arts, or how I can lead games, or how I can be a teacher for social change, who builds good rapport with my students, or how I can be a host, or cook, or clean, or be a family man who takes care of my house and home.  I cannot hide behind these things and expect them to keep me safe.  Only God can keep me safe, and only through Jesus’ death on the cross do I have true refuge from sin.  How good and precious is the cross of Jesus that I can hide behind it and be able to withstand Satan’s attacks of self-doubt, guilt, shame, self-loathing through sin.

2        I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

apart from you I have no good thing.”

You are my Lord and master, apart from you I would have no good thing in my life.

You have surrounded me with good, caring people in my life.  At times, I may think they are not good, because I don’t want them to care about me.  I want them to leave me alone and I want them to allow me to pursue my own desires.  I want to be surrounded by people who are just like me: narcissistic, self-serving, self-preserving, egotistical, “look-at-me,” thoughtless, uncompassionate, “don’t-care-about others” kind of people.  Apart from you, I would have been given over to that kind of terrible “non-community” where I could just be left alone because everyone only cares about themselves.  Apart from you, I would have been fairly alone, been fairly isolated, and the level in which I would relate to people would be limited to a superficial level.  However, because you are the Lord and master who has given me all the good things in my life, you’ve given me people who are not like me, who actually challenge me and grow me, and who refuse to let me, the sinner, be more practiced in my sinful ways.  People like my wife, different peers, spiritual leaders, all injecting truth and wisdom and challenge into my life and forcing me to face uncomfortable truths about myself like my lack of love and concern for others.

3        As for the saints who are in the land,

they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

Who are the saints?  They are the people who take steps of obedience towards you and grow closer to you.  I delight in the life of Chuck Colson, who in his old age, became a personal hero for Christian thinking and a model of self-sacrifice.  I delight in the Christian heroes and martyrs of old.  Heroes like Jim Elliot, Hudson Taylor, Eric Liddle, William Wilberforce.  I delight in these heroes by honoring them, by studying their lives, and by trying to reproduce their faithfulness in what was entrusted to them.

I delight in the godly people in my life, many of the older and more seasoned Christians who I consider my spiritual betters, who spur me on to take on greater levels of self-sacrifice in my life as I quietly watch their choices and decisions.

I delight in those who are becoming more godly as they take steps towards godliness.   I delight in their testimonies of obedience, of greater love for others, of renouncement of sin, of surrendering of idols, of vulnerable humility.  I take pleasure in the lives of those younger than me who are growing closer to God.

4        The sorrows of those will increase

who run after other gods.

I will not pour out their libations of blood

or take up their names on my lips.

I do not take delight in the lives of celebrities, the rich, the powerful and influential, or even the middle-class suburban family.  The sorrows of those will increase who worship gods of fame, money, power, status, pleasure, and comfort to feed their own egos and to build up a protective fortress of security.  Their sorrows will increase when they run out of fame, money and power and they can’t maintain their current lifestyle.  Their sorrows will increase when their old age catches up with their debilitating body, or when their bank account dips to zero, or when they realize there are things that money can’t buy, or when they realize that there will always be someone more powerful or more influential than they are.  Their sorrows will increase when they look back on their life and realize that they’ve cut off all their meaningful relationships, and they’ve pushed away people who care about them for the sake of these false gods.  And ultimately their sorrows will increase when they die and realize they can take nothing they’ve acquired with them.  I will not offer up sacrifices of time, money, mental energy and emotional energy into these false gods.  I will not waste my mind researching about these false gods, nor will I align my heart to these false gods.  I will not speak about these false gods with reverence or honor.  In fact, I will seek to expose these false gods so that they do not mislead others.

5        Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;

you have made my lot secure.

6        The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

For you alone are my inheritance and I can say that is a good thing.  You have given me this inheritance: the church, a family of broken, forgiven sinners, where I can rest secure in my salvation.  Ultimately my inheritance is in heaven, so I don’t need to pine after temporary inheritances on earth.  And I am already investing in this inheritance in heaven while I am on earth as I invest in the relationships I have and the people I know.  How much more pleasant and glorious will this inheritance be in heaven!

7        I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;

even at night my heart instructs me.

8        I have set the Lord always before me.

Because he is 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 grave,

nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

11      You have made known to me the path of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence,

with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Because you counsel me and instruct my heart, because you are with me, because I know you are alive and you are with me, I will not be shaken in moments of distress and trouble.  Rather my heart will be glad, and I will rejoice and praise you.  I will not have my foundations be shaken when trouble, setback, hardship and persecution come, or when death occurs, because I know that my body will rest secure and that I will not be abandoned to the grave.  When my money runs low, when I lose my job, when my child keeps me up for days, when my car breaks down, when my laptop gets stolen, or when my ministry is unfruitful or painful, all at the same time, I will still praise you and be glad, because you are ever before me.  For you have conquered death itself and you have made known to me the path to life: faith and trust in Jesus Christ’ death on the cross that allows me to rejoice with you forever in heaven, where I will have the joy of being in your presence and the joy of living with you forever.  My inheritance is an eternal life of praising you in heaven, and that is truly my refuge, the most good thing, and my portion and my cup, and I shall delight and rejoice in that.

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