Week 5: Psalms 16-18


Reading:  PSALMS 16-18

           Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week.  As we read, let us not do so in haste.  Take time to read each Psalm at least three times:  once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life.   There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.


PSALM 16: I Keep the LORD Always Before Me

            Psalm 16 teaches us about trust.  The psalm shows that trust is not merely a warm feeling or a passing impulse in a time of trouble.  It is a structure of acts and experiences that open one’s consciousness to the LORD as the supreme reality in life.  Verses 8-11 is one of the texts Peter used on the Day of Pentecost to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:25-2).  Faced with death, Jesus both complained and petitioned for the removal of the cup of suffering; yet at the same time, he completely entrusted his life and future to God (Mark 14:36).   Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are a testimony to the truth that Psalm 16 articulates:  Suffering and glory are inseparable.  Indeed, the author of Hebrews spoke of Jesus’ enduring the cross “for the sake of the joy that was set before him (Heb. 12:2).  Those who entrust their lives to God experience a depth of stability and joy and security that not even death can undermine.


Psalm 17: I Shall Behold Your Face

            The psalmist is asserting, not sinlessness in general, but rightness in a particular case involving false accusations.   The assurance in verse 15 that the psalmist will somehow see God’s face and likeness puts the opposition of enemies in a new perspective.  The psalmist now knows that nothing will be able to separate her or him from God’s protecting love.  The last two verses of the psalm leave modern believers with the challenge of considering what it is that truly satisfies.  Shall we be content with a “portion in life” that consists only of what the world can cram into our greedy stomachs and minds?  One of the real dangers of a culture of affluence is the boredom that results from satiation.  We have our reward, but it does not truly satisfy.  Luxuriance does not constitute life.  We hunger for a higher good.  Psalm 17 promises a satisfaction that does not fade, for it involves nothing less than seeing God’s likeness—unbroken communion with God, whose “eyes see the right” (verse 2).


PSALM 18: A Royal Song of Thanksgiving

            Out of his distress, the king calls upon God (vv. 1-6), and God comes to his rescue (vv. 6-19).  The king’s righteousness (vv. 20-24) and God’s faithfulness (vv. 25-30) are then described.  Finally, the LORD is praised for his deliverance (40-50).

            The Christian interpretation of Psalm 18 understands David as a type of Christ.  The psalm is the voice of a person in the power of death crying out to God, who delivers him.  In the deliverance, God vindicates his own righteousness and reveals the perfection of his own way.  The deliverance is a victory that makes the person the ruler of all nations.  Christ fulfills the prophecy in his death, resurrection, and ascension.  In Christ, a descendant of David, the ultimate triumph of salvation is enacted.






This is the Psalm in hymn form.  Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension. 



 PH 165 Lord, Who May Dwell Within Your House

We’ve attached a video clip for a different version of a musical adaptation of Psalm 16 below.


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