A Psalm of Confidence

Written on: April 15, 2024

Article by: Thayer Salisbury

Psalm 16

A straightforward reading of this Psalm in its Old Testament context would indicate that great confidence was felt by the writer. He says, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5  The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot” (4-5). Later he adds, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption” (9-11). He has problems and may face death, but he has confidence.

From the Christian point of view the level of confidence should be even greater. Most of us recognize this as a psalm quoted in the New Testament. Peter quotes it in Acts 2 with reference to Jesus. The trial of the cross was even greater than that faced by David, or any of the psalmists.

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This psalm is, therefore, a good place to search for information about how Jesus remained calm and confident in the midst of the trials he faced.

There are a number of translation difficulties in the opening verses of this Psalm, but these do not affect the most basic truth that is the central thought. That thought is that confidence comes from closeness with God.

We cannot serve two masters. Verse 4 tells us, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.”

Many try to have it both ways. The Israelites tried to join the worship of the Lord and the worship of Baal (1 Kings 18:21), Many Africans worship the Lord on Sunday and appeal to the ancestors on other days. Western Christians may worship the Lord on Sundays and money or the government on other days. What Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24, the Old Testament has already told us in many places — we cannot serve two masters. To attempt it will only multiply our troubles. It will not provide confidence or security.

We must be fully devoted to the Lord. Verse 8 tells us, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

One might attempt to avoid serving two masters without really be setting the Lord in his proper place. We may attempt to be without a master at all, but this will not work.

Romans 6:16 tells us, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Confidence is not possible for those with two masters. Confidence is not possible for those who attempt to be their own master. But confidence is possible for those who “set the Lord always before them.”

Why make yourself miserable with half-hearted religion? The confidence of David, the serenity of Jesus, can be yours. Set the Lord constantly before you and beside you, seek to dwell in him and have him dwell in you, then you will have peace.