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.
Where do you find joy? The psalmist must have been facing a difficult time. Talking about taking refuge would not normally be seen as a time of great joy. Yet, the mood changes and the writer states that not only is the LORD in the cup, but also the cup itself. How often do we get stuck in a downward spiral of life and need to find refuge? We develop a sincere case of myopia and can barely find our navels. The psalm gives us a model for finding hope and joy. If we keep the LORD always before us, without losing the bigger picture, we will find our hearts gladdened, souls rejoicing, and be able to sleep peacefully. If only that were true. Martin Luther reminds us that the gift of the Spirit will give us the ability to overcome our natural tendency to turn inward. The Spirit helps us remember that in God’s presence is the fullness of joy.
Gracious and loving God, we pray with thankful hearts that you provide all we need. Not only those things considered “daily bread,” but all that allows us to be content in your presence and filled with joy. Amen.