by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
This is the psalm of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the heart of Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost. Simon Peter said that Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I am taking his word for it.
I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
The Hebrew for I FORESAW THE LORD translates I expected, or waited for. It expresses the appeal of one who is helpless and dependent, who waits for help from God. It is often used in this way in the Old Testament. The phrase means to foresee, and then to envision before us, that is, to regard as being near, or present with us. As it is used here, it implies to put confidence in one; to rely on him, or expect assistance from him. Jesus foresees His Father being always present to help Him, and to deliver Him out of all His troubles.
Here we see the constant regard that our Lord Jesus had for his Father throughout the entirety of His work on earth: I FORESAW THE LORD BEFORE ME CONTINUALLY. Jesus always worked to bring His Father glory. It was the end He FORESAW—because He saw that his sufferings would contribute abundantly to the honour of God, and would, in the end, bring Him great joy; He was aware of everything that would occur in His future, and he had an eye for the Cross and the suffering it would bring, but in everything He did and suffered the prospect of these things only served to buoy Him up and encourage Him to carry on—“Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him…If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him” (Jn. 13:31, 32; KJV). This verse points to the departure of Judas and sets the scene for the death and ultimate glorification of Christ. God would glorify the Son through the Son’s passion, and would show the close relationship between the two.
for he is on my right hand,
HE IS ON MY RIGHT HAND conveys the idea of one being at hand or nearby and ready to help when needed. The right hand is mentioned because that was the place of dignity and honour. David did not want to simply say that God was near in order to help him, but that He had the place of honour, the uppermost place in his affections—“For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, To save him from those who condemn him” (Psalms 109:31; NKJV). In this verse, David says God will not be absent when his people are on trial; he will show them what to do and stand up in court as their advocate, prepared to plead on their behalf. How different is this from the plight of the ungodly who have Satan at their right hand—“Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand” (Psalms 109:6; KJV). Who is a better right-hand friend for an opponent of the righteous than the great adversary himself? What could be more natural than for those who serve Satan to expect to have his company, his assistance, his temptations, and at last his doom—then, in the end, to have Satan stand at his right hand when God says to him, I never knew you.
Since we are dependent on God, we should exalt Him. We should not merely regard him as our help, but should at the same time give him the highest place in our affections. David was confident of his Father’s presence and power going along with him, and therefore he could say HE IS ON MY RIGHT HAND—the hand of action; He is strengthening, guiding, and upholding it, so THAT I SHOULD NOT BE MOVED, or driven away from my undertaking by the hardships I must go through.’’ This was an article of the covenant of redemption (Ps. 89:21) which says, “With whom My hand shall be established; Also My arm shall strengthen him;” and therefore he is confident that the work God has called on him to do will not fail in his hand. If God is at our right hand we shall not be moved.
that I should not be moved:
That is, that nothing, no great evil or calamity, could happen to me, therefore, I will stand firm. The phrase signifies sinking into calamities, or to fall into the power of enemies. This expresses the confidence of one who is in danger of great calamities, and who puts his trust in the help of God alone. “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved…He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62.2, 6). Zadok, the high priest is going to travel with David. He is faithful and has brought the ark, a symbol to the Israelites of God’s presence in their midst, and he is following David when the old king turns and, seeing the ark, commands Zadok to carry it back to the city, for the reason that “… if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation: But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him” (2 Sam. 15:25–26).
Allow me at this point to make this great truth clear so that it will live for you! Here is a man so wholly committed to God that he turns aside from any thought of merit in the ark, clinging only unto God and saying to Zadok that if it is God’s will for him to come back to this city, he will be allowed to come back; if not, then he is in God’s hands. He refuses to attempt to force God to do anything but determines to go the way God leads, regardless of the path. Oh, to live like that today!
That is the central truth of the psalm. That is the central truth of David’s life. That is the dynamo that ran his life. That is the thing that caused him to stand head and shoulders above other men on the horizon of history. It has caused him to cast a long shadow down the corridor of time. “He only is my rock.”
When we come to the New Testament, we can see what the Lord Jesus means when He makes this tremendous statement: “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever, it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matt. 21:44). Christ is that Rock, that Stone. There is coming a day when the Stone cut out without hands will fall on this earth. Today, you and I can fall on this Stone, and those who fall on it will be saved.
A little Scottish woman got up in a testimony meeting and gave this as her testimony: “You know, sometimes I tremmel tremble on the rock, but the rock never tremmels under me.” Are you on this Rock? Whosoever falls on this Rock shall be saved. This is what Paul meant when he said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). David said, “He only is my rock. He is the One I am trusting. O, the throne is toppling, Jerusalem is in convulsions, the people have turned against me, but I am on the Rock!” David has learned that glorious lesson.
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Therefore did my heart rejoice,
Peter ascribes these expressions to the Messiah; Rejoicing, gladness, hope. The reason why he could rejoice was because He knew He would be sustained by His Father as He passed through the sorrows and suffering that He was soon to fall upon Him, and could look forward to the triumph that awaited him. Therefore, Paul says, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Heb 12:2; NLT). Throughout the New Testament, the shame and sorrow of his sufferings were regarded as connected with his glory and his triumph (see Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:6-9; Ephesians 1:20, 21). Herein, our Saviour has left us an example, so that we might walk in his steps. The prospect of future glory and triumph should sustain us as it did Him, as we encounter afflictions, and it should prepare us, like it did Him, to lie down even among the corruptions of the grave.
The cheerfulness with which our Lord Jesus continued to do his work is in view here, in spite of the sorrows he must pass through: "Being satisfied that I shall not be moved, but the good pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in my hand, therefore doth my heart rejoice, and my tongue is glad, and the thought of my sorrow is as nothing to me.” It was a constant pleasure for our Lord Jesus to look ahead to the end of his work, and to know, without a doubt, that it would be a glorious end: It did His heart good to know that His undertaking met the will and design of God. He rejoiced in spirit—“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit…” (Luke 10:21; KJV).
In the Hebrew DID MY HEART REJOICE is in the present tense, "my heart rejoices." The word heart is used here to signify the person, and is the same as saying “I rejoice.” The Hebrews used the different parts or members of the body to represent the person. The meaning may be expressed this way: Because God is near me in time of heartbreak and disaster, and will support and deliver me, I will not be distressed or be afraid, but will revel in the expectation of the future, bearing in mind the "joy that is set before me."
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