Psalm 16 Song of the Risen

My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. Psalm 16:9-10

Psalm 16 is a song of confidence expressing a deep trust in the Lord in both life and death. The Psalmist possesses a security as he rejoices to know that his future is safe, and that the Lord will not allow His beloved to “see decay” (a metaphor for suffering eternal abandonment from God’s presence).

The quotation from Psalm 16 by Peter in Acts 2:25-28 and Paul in Acts 13:35 makes this Psalm particularly cherished to Christians, as it speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Psalmist’s assertion and confidence in his own resurrection is not unlike that of Paul’s in Romans 8:5-11, wherein he speaks of a future resurrection in terms of absolute certainty (8:5). While it is one thing for Paul to write this after witnessing the resurrection of Christ, it is even more striking that David sings it in Psalm 16 long before the advent of Christ. It was similarly Job’s confession, long before Christ, in Job 19:25-27, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

This was however, not always Job’s state of mind. Just read Job chapter 17 and you will see his lack of peace, as Job considers his own death and corruption in the grave. Contrast this to how his heart burned in his faith-filled statement only two chapters later in 19:25. It is his faith in the resurrection that makes the Christian a hopeful creature. True faith in the resurrection instills a confidence not only in death, but in life as well. Faith in the truth of the resurrection leads to genuine optimism in the life of the Christian, even in the most adverse of circumstances. As Paul wrote, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18). The beloved apostle John writes, “it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 Jn 3:2-3).

It is important to realize that the Christian hope in the resurrection is not a vain hope, neither in its source nor in its product. The source of the Christian’s hope is based on the veracity of the risen Savior. If He did not rise, then we will not rise; if He did not rise, then we remain in our sins; if He did not rise, then our faith is in vain, and we are of all men most pitiable (1 Cor 15:13-19). But it is equally true that our faith in the resurrection is not vain in its product – that is, because He did rise and conquer sin and death, it will produces in us the fruits of joy, peace, patience, and a hopeful and pure life in Christ.

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