I want to share with you some thoughts I’ve had on Psalm 16:5-6. The new normal for us with COVID-19 has given me more space to ponder my heart and think about where my loyalties actually are. Of course, we all struggle and vacillate in certain situations and can find ourselves either indifferent or in fear over our circumstances. But, if you’re like me you can also look to other places or things for security or happiness. Most of my life has been plagued with the “If only I had this, then I’d be happy” syndrome and the Lord has taught me so much through those struggles. Contentment seems to flee from me but thankfully he is at work in my heart. Allow me to unpack Psalm 16 and the incredible truths in this passage. Let me quote it first:
“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
That passage directly confronts my tendency to want to dictate how God blesses me. Here are four thoughts I’ve had on these verses.
First, David says the Lord is his “chosen portion.” This means that David chose to drink from the Living Water instead of his own resources. But, I see something more there. I think this passage says that the Lord respects us in that he actually gives us choice. This, of course, is consistent with the fact that we are made in his image and reflect him, but I love two things. I love that he respects us, and I love that we actually CAN choose him. Amazing.
Secondly, David says, “You hold my lot.” I was walking recently and pondering this thought and it dawned on me that my lot, or my life and all that the Lord has provided for me, is something he has set and protects in his generosity. In other words, he is personally involved in what my “lot” is, so for me to complain is a pretty offensive posture. After all, he has provided me with so much, not the least of which is his amazing grace. He has written my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and I have the hope of eternal life and, best of all, I have a relationship with him! He’s my father! So, I’m grateful for the fact that he is so personal with me that he holds my lot.
Thirdly, I realized that because God drew the lines for me in pleasant places I truly have it quite good. I have nothing to complain about even though my heart often leans in that direction. But the main reason I have it good is because……he is good. His nature is flawless, his mercy is perpetually fresh, his magnificence is untainted, and he calls me friend and speaks highly of me because of Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-15). So, the lines have truly fallen in good places for me even if sometimes my life is painful and I don’t understand those circumstance. We are to look at him, not our understanding of our circumstances.
Lastly, I am reminded that I have an unspoiled and sure inheritance. John Piper writes that the best thing about heaven is not that we get forgiveness, or even that we get heaven itself. The best thing about heaven, he writes, is that we get God! God is the fulfillment of our greatest longing and we are invited to enjoy him forever. That reality is certainly expressed in this last line. I live in God is the fulfillment of our greatest longing and we are invited to enjoy him forever. That reality is certainly expressed in this last line. I live in relationship with the Lord now, but I have an undying and increasing hope that propels me on when I am discouraged. This inheritance is experienced now, in part, but will come to pas in fulness of joy. Our inheritance will be lived out without tears, injustice, death, and despair. In fact, joy will be so overwhelming and we’ll see, in fullness, that Jesus is all we truly want. He will satisfy us because he is truly good and his character is that flawless.
Although contentment can seem elusive, pondering this Psalm has given me a firm grasp on how things really are. That means I can experience contentment and joy in the present tension of “now and not yet.” Contentment is attainable, but greater things lie ahead!