Psalm 16 (NRSV)
Verse 1Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Verse 2I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."
Verse 3As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.
Verse 4Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.
Verse 5The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
Verse 6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
Verse 7I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
Verse 8I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Verse 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.
Verse 10For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
Verse 11You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
For several summers, I worked for highway maintenance, clearing trash from rest areas and mowing along guard rails, providing safety for travelers along their journey.
In today’s psalm the writer reflects on the journey of faith, seeing the foolish results of pursuing other paths rather than finding refuge in the “boundaries” for our journeys that have been set by God. The reference in the psalm suggests the allotment of land that had been part of the settlement in the Promised Land.
Today we value home and property ownership. We also realize that access is not always experienced equitably. As we pray this psalm, perhaps “boundaries” can represent the necessary lines—material and spiritual—drawn to protect us and others in our relationships. If we let these boundaries be drawn by God, then we too will experience a path of life that is safe and pleasant for all.
Loving God, I can remember times when I ignored your path. For the times you intervened, thank you. For the repercussions still lingering, help me now walk forward through your gracious strength. Amen.