In God We Trust - A Prayer from Psalm 16
Using Psalm 16 as a prayer to deepen our trust in God.
His promises are true, and they work!
In previous generations if you said to a friend, “This is what I believe,” they’d likely respond, “Is it true? Where’s the evidence?”
There’s been shift though, in western societies which means that the question, “Is it true?” has largely been replaced by another question; “Does it work?” There seems to be much less interest in truthfulness, in the empirical facts concerning something – look at the persistent spread of false information about Coronavirus and 5G mobile technology. Today people seem to be more interested in whether a particular approach to life works. Whether or not someone will adopt a particular belief or approach to life is determined less by the truthfulness of that approach, but on “does it work?” and particularly on the individual working out, “does it work for me?”
Psalm 16 looks a lot like what today we might call a testimony, a testimony of someone’s faith in God. We are always greatly encouraged when hear our brothers and sisters share their testimony of God’s faithfulness to them, and the same is true when we read this Psalm. Here we’re encouraged that not only is it true that we can put our trust in God, but doing so actually works! Trust in God, in his provision and salvation, makes sense of life, whatever the uncertainties we face. Those around us who see and hear of our faith in God, might ask us in the midst of the present uncertainties, does it work? Psalm 16’s answer is a resounding “yes!” in four different ways:
To trust God is to know that you have enough 1 – 2
To trust God is to delight in God’s people and reject his rivals 3 – 4
To trust God is to be delighted in what he gives 5 – 6
To trust God is to take confidence from him and his Word 7 -11
Title: A miktam of David.
We don’t know the exact circumstances that caused Israel’s King David to write this Psalm, but the repeated ideas of death and dying in the closing verses suggest to us that whatever the situation was, the risk was very real. Here is a Psalm about trusting in God in real life! As we’ve done with all the previous Psalms in this series, I have added a single line of expansion to each verse for us to pray, either individually, or with others in our household or small group.
1. Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
In our changing and at times confusing and frightening world, keep us safe, our loving Father, as only you are able to.
2. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
Though you are Lord of heaven and earth, and ruler over everything, your care of us is so complete that every good gift we have comes from you.
3. I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
In uncertain times, what a joy it is to be united with Christ, and through him, to all those you have made your own, in this country and around the world!
4. Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.
Convince us that human hearts, even our own hearts, are factories for idols. Show us the emptiness of their promises and guard us from putting anything in the place of honour and rule in our lives.
5. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
May we not cling to you only because we’re convinced you offer what we need for the life to come, but that in Christ, we have all we need for life and godliness now.
6. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
While we may feel anxious at economic recession or financial difficulties, help us remember not to depend on the physical resources we have at hand, but to remember you are our inheritance; we are secure in relationship with you, and our eternal glory is guaranteed by the gift of your Holy Spirit.
7. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
We praise you for the counsel and instruction in your living Word; there is never a time when you a silent, because you have spoken completely in your Son, Jesus.
8. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Whatever our circumstances, we can have confidence for the future, fixing our eyes on Christ in the Scriptures, knowing you have drawn near to us in him.
9. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
In these days when we’re confronted with the reality and ugliness of death, we praise you that our trust in your goodness and salvation won’t be proved empty at our own death, but will be shown to be of eternal value.
10. because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
Since you raised Christ victorious over death and united us with him in his life, help us not to fear death, but to hold firmly to our trust in Jesus.
11. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Grow in us a trust in Christ whatever our circumstances, and in the face of every hurt and distress, knowing that his promises of life now and into eternity are true, and that they work – for our good!