A Whispered Psalm of Hope


Psalm 16 is called a “Mikhtam” of David and no one is sure what that means. “Mikhtam,” is also used before Psalms 56 – 60 and all six of these Psalms are cries for help that are written when the writer is in danger. You can’t cry out loud so your protest is “Mikhtam” (covered); your words to God feel drowned out and can barely be heard.

Psalm 16: 5-11

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

A portion is your inheritance.  It is savings, retirement, everything you own – all wrapped up into one.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

The Psalmist isn’t sleeping well, but he sees this as the instruction of God.
His heart instructs him through the night

8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

This Psalm is quoted by Peter in Acts 2: 25-38 and also by Paul in Acts 13: 35, both as a prediction that is fulfilled only in Jesus. David was likely speaking hyperbolically but through the Holy Spirit, he speaks better than he knows. Jesus is our portion, since we have no possessions that compare to the richness of knowing Christ; at least according to Paul:

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ

Phil 3: 8-9

We are not abandoned, nor are we orphaned. Our deliverer adopts us as sons and daughters. We are held in His hands until we depart. God does not give us an inheritance that will spoil or fade. While we are here on earth we do not receive Christ’s things. We receive Christ. He is our treasure.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73: 21-26


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