Sunday, April 04, 2021

“You Will Not Abandon Me to the Grave” Psalm 16 [Matt's Messages]

“You Will Not Abandon Me to the Grave”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church :: Resurrection Sunday
April 4, 2021 :: Psalm 16

I picked Psalm 16 for Resurrection Sunday because both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul preached on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from Psalm 16.

The Apostle Peter preached from Psalm 16 on the
Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit came in power, and the church was born.

And the Apostle Paul preached from Psalm 16 in a synagogue in the city of Pisidian Antioch. Paul got up to preach about Jesus Christ being raised from the dead, and one of his key go-to passages to preach about the resurrection was Psalm 16.

For the last several months we’ve been studying the Psalms together for their fortifying truth. And the last several weeks we’ve been specifically studying the Psalms of the Passion. Those psalms that–whatever else they were doing–were prophetically singing not just about King David but about King Jesus and what He did for us on that first Passion Week.

The last three psalms (69, 55, and 22) prefigured and predicted the sufferings of our Lord Jesus.

But Psalm 16 prophesied of Jesus’ glorious resurrection!

The psalm has this confident line in verse 10 prayed directly to God, “You will not abandon me to the grave.”

“Up from the grave He arose!”

But that’s getting ahead of the story. It’s getting ahead of the song.

I want us to look at the entire psalm, not just verse 10. Because there is a lot of good stuff in Psalm 16 for our hearts today.

It’s basically a song about how good we have it if we have the Lord.

In Psalm 16, there are these words that run through this song that just sound so good.

Joy. Rejoicing.
Rest. Refuge.
Secure. Unshaken.
Pleasure. Pleasures. Eternal pleasures.

Doesn’t that sound good? That’s Psalm 16!

It’s a psalm of delight and pleasure and confidence and everlasting joy.

Psalm 16 is a song that David wrote and David sang and David lived.
And it’s song that Jesus sang and Jesus lived like no one else.
And it’s also a song that we all can sing with our lives today.

I think David is in trouble...again.

David is in trouble a lot. 

We saw that back when we studied 1 and 2 Samuel, and we’ve seen it again and again in the Psalms.

David is in trouble, and he calls out for help.

But Psalm 16 is a little different because–instead of pouring out his troubles and concerns and fears to the Lord (a very good thing to do that he does in other psalms)–David uses this song to express his utter confidence and utter contentment in the Lord no matter what.

In this psalm, David gives many of the reasons why he is trusting the Lord in the midst of his trouble and specifically focuses on how good he has it because he has the Lord and how good he expects to have it because he has the Lord.

Listen to verse 1. Psalm 16, verse 1.

“A miktam of David. Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.”

“Yes, I’m in trouble, and I need you to keep me safe once again. And I’m trusting in you to keep me safe.” “In you I take refuge.”

So David begins with a prayer request for help in the midst of whatever trouble he’s found himself in this time. 

But the interesting thing is–that’s the last prayer request in this song!

The whole rest of the song is David celebrating why he takes refuge in the Lord and exclaiming just how good it is to belong to Him.

If I had to sum up the entire song in one sentence it would be something like this:


Would you say that with me? “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.”

Say that to your neighbor today: “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.”

Write that down if you are taking notes: “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.”

That’s basically what he sings in verse 2. Verse 2.

“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’”

Now, I want you to note the pattern here. It starts with his personal commitment, and it leads to his personal contentment. Commitment then contentment.

David says to Yahweh, “You are my Lord.” Personally. “In you I take refuge.” “And I am putting all of my eggs in your basket.” “Apart from you I have no good thing.”

King David has decided that he will follow Yahweh, and he has declared that Yahweh is where it’s at. “Apart from you I have no good thing.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.


In the Lord, I’ve got it so good because I have the Lord Himself in all of his perfect goodness, and He is all that I need.

If you have everything in the world, but you don’t have the Lord, you actually have nothing.

But if you have nothing in the world, but you have the Lord, you actually have everything. Amen?

“Apart from you I have no good thing.”

And the flip-side is true, too. With You, I have all kinds of good things!

Like what? Like God’s people. Look verse 3.

“As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.”

Point number two. (By the way I’ve got 7 of these subpoints, but they’re going to come hot and fast. Stay on your toes.)

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good. 


David is praising God for the “saints,” the faithful believers in the Lord that are in the land. His kingdom citizens who are living out the covenant by faith.

And how does David feel about them? In them (v.2) “is all my delight.”

David just loves God’s people.

If you truly love God, you will also love God’s people.

Because when we come to God, we don’t come to God alone but to God’s community, the family of God, the saints that are in the land, that are in the church.

I am just so happy to be with you all this morning. It has been so hard to be so separated from you all these last twelve months! 

You are my delight. In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

Now, in verse 4, David paints a contrast. He’s been proclaiming his total commitment to the LORD, but that is not what others may be doing. V.4

“The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. [The ones that are not the LORD.] I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.”

David says that those who exhaust themselves chasing after other gods will only cause themselves trouble and sorrow.

And we’ve all seen that, haven’t we? Maybe not other gods like Allah or Baal or Molech, but other gods like Money, Sex, Power, Pleasure, Security, Popularity.

Those who run after them end up in a world of hurt.

David says that he is not going to get on that treadmill. He’s not going to worship at those pagan altars. Yahweh is his Lord.

Do you need to be reminded of that today? What have you been chasing recently? And where does that lead?

David knows how futile following counterfeit gods can be.

And he knows how good it is to follow the one true God.

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

#3. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PROVISIONS. Look at verses 5 and 6.

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

Isn’t that wonderful?!

David uses metaphors of portion and cup which conveys like “real wealth” and “real satisfaction” and “real pleasure” (Tim Keller). And he uses the metaphor of land allotment like when the twelve tribes got their land inheritances in the book of Joshua?

“[Y]ou have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

It’s just a beautiful way of saying, “Boy, do I have it good!”

“I just love how things have fallen out for me. This line right here is in just the best place. And everything inside of it is so wonderful.”

And the point is not real estate! Not ultimately. The inheritance here is the Lord Himself and then everything else he provides.

It’s kind of like “count your blessings” like we sang back on Celebration Sunday.

But it’s more like, “I have more blessings than I can count. And the blessings I have  are more wonderful than I can describe.”

It’s better than anything.

And we who belong to Jesus know that this is true for us. There is nothing greater than knowing Him. 

Philippians 3:8, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...”

“[S]urely I have a delightful inheritance.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good. Do you feel it?

David sure does. He goes on to say that he has the Lord’s guidance. Or we’ll say to keep up the alliteration, “The Lord’s path.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.


“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”

When you have the Lord, you have the Lord’s counsel and direction. You have God’s Word hidden in your heart, and at night time as you mull it over, the Lord can speak to you through that Word hidden in your heart, and you get His direction and get set on His path.

Do you see how David is so full of contentment?

He’s so happy!

Are you happy like David is?

Now, we know that he’s not always this happy. He sure wasn’t this happy in most of Psalm 22 last week, was he?

There is a time for lament. Hard times call for hard prayers.

But total commitment also leads to total contentment when you have the Lord.

David is saying, “In the Lord, I have it so good.”


“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Now, where is the LORD in verse 8?

David sings that he has set the Lord before him. So he’s got his eyes fixed on the Lord. A very good idea! Keep your focus on the Lord.

But where is the Lord in verse 8? He also says, “Because [the LORD] is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Which is it? Before beside? It’s both, right?

I think he means that the LORD is not just his goal but his guide. And his defense. He stands by David. He stands with David. He is there to help.

The Lord is present.

Notice again, the pattern of commitment then contentment.

He sets the LORD before him, that’s a commitment to put the Lord first.

And he finds the Lord beside him, that’s contentment in the Lord.

He says, “I will not be shaken.”

I don’t know about you, but I want that for my life. I am so easily shaken.

I want to be unshakable.

And that only comes with knowing the presence of the Lord. Before and beside.

But here’s how unshakable David feels. He is ready to praise God with his whole being. V.9

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because [and here’s our key verse for Resurrection Sunday] you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.


David rejoices with his heart and voice, and also his body. He feels so secure. So happy. So blessed to belong to the Lord.

And I think that David expects to be rescued once again.

Now, verse 10 is kind of tricky to interpret. And there are a lot of legitimate possibilities for how to understand it.

Some biblical scholars think that David is saying that he expects to die but not to be abandoned to the place of the wicked. That word for “grave” in the NIV is “Sheol” in Hebrew and can be translated “Hades” or even “Hell.” So in that interpretation, David is saying that he won’t be lost in hell and the “decay” in the second part of the verse (what we call the B-line) is “corruption” as in eternal corruption. 

David would be saying, “I know that you will keep my soul out of Hell.”

And that’s possible. Lots of good theologians take it that way.

But, with other theologians, I think he’s basically just saying that he doesn’t expect to die today.

He might be in trouble. He might be on the run. 

Things may be heating up for him, but David believes that God is protecting him at this point and that God will deliver him on this day.

Of course, David doesn’t expect to live on forever. But, on this day, he expects to live to see tomorrow.

“You’re not going to abandon me to ‘Sheol’ [the place of the dead] in this crisis, Lord. I don’t believe that. I believe I have your promise to get out of this.”

And the second part could mean the same thing because of Hebrew parallelism. “Nor will you let your Holy One [i.e. David as the anointed king] see decay.”

This is how good I’ve got it in the Lord. I am not dying today! I believe I have your promise on that.

Now we come to Jesus.

Now we come to those sermons of Peter and Paul when they quoted Psalm 16 in Acts 2 and 13.

If you have your Bible, you might want to turn to Acts 2, verse 22.

And see again why we are gathered here today.

Peter is preaching to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. He says: 

“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. [“Death could not keep his prey. He tore the bars away.”] 

David said about him [And here’s our Psalm 16]: ‘'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

[It turns out that Psalm 16 was about Jesus all along! V.29 of Acts 2.]

“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. [He did eventually go into his grave and decay!] But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. [There was a greater Holy One who could fill up verse 10 in a way that David never could. David was a prophet (to what degree he knew and understood that we don’t know, but Peter says:] Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:22-32).

The last couple of weeks we’ve said that whatever David merely tasted, Jesus swallowed whole.

So David experienced betrayal. Jesus experienced betrayal like no other.
David felt like he was being attacked by vicious dogs. Jesus literally had his hands and feet pierced.

But the flip-side is also true.

Whatever good things David was singing about in part, Jesus experienced to the fullest.

So if King David expected to not be abandoned to the grave by not going into the grave, King Jesus was not abandoned to the grave by going into it and then coming right out of it!

Walking right out of it! Alive again!

If King David expected as the “Holy One” to avoid decay because he avoided death on the day he wrote Psalm 16, King Jesus was the really Holy One” who really avoided decay by not decaying even after He actually died!

By being resurrected with a body with new properties.

With the perishable now clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

To now live in the power of an indestructible life.

“He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!”

So nobody can say like Jesus can say, “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.!”

Of course, He had to go through so bad to get to that good. But now He’s so good and will be forever. 

And that’s good news for us. Because it means our salvation. That’s where the Apostle Paul took it in Acts 13 when he preached a sermon on Psalm 16.

He was preaching to Jews and Gentiles in this synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, and he told the gospel story once again. Paul told them about how Jesus was crucified, buried in the tomb but then (Acts 13:30), “But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.' 

The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: ‘'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.' So it is stated elsewhere: ‘'You will not let your Holy One see decay.' [That’s the promise of Psalm 16:10.] For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:30-38).

You see, because Jesus died and was raised to life, we can be forgiven.

You can be forgiven. 

And even more than that! You and I can also trust the promise that we will not be abandoned to the grave forever when we die. But we, too, will be raised up, resurrected to be with Jesus Christ in imperishable immortal bodies, as well.

To experience the blessings of the Lord’s presence forever.

Forever! That’s where David goes with his last verse of this amazingly beautiful song.

After all is said and done, even beyond the grave, this is what will remain for those who have the Lord. V.11

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.


And they are eternal pleasures.

I can’t wrap my mind around that, but I look forward to experiencing it forever.

Talk about delight!

Talk about the boundary lines falling in pleasant places!

For all eternity: “[Y]ou will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

It doesn’t get any better than that and yet it will never get worse!

That’s what we have to look forward to because we’ve got the Lord.

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good, and I’ll have it so good forever.

Not because of anything I have done.

Or because of anything King David has done.

But because of what King Jesus has done going down, down, down into the grave.

It looked like he was abandoned there.

That word “abandoned” in the Hebrew is the exact same Hebrew word translated “forsaken” last week in Psalm 22 and the Greek word also matches in Matthew and Acts.

Jesus felt abandoned, forsaken, into the grave.

But He also went down singing in his heart Psalm 16:10, “You will not abandon me to the grave! You will not let your Holy One see decay!”

And He did not stay in the grave.

Nor did He gather any decay.

Instead, He came back to life to give us forgiveness for all who put their faith in Him. [I hope that’s you!]

And He came back to life to give us life with him in His presence filled with joy and experiencing eternal pleasures at HIS right hand.

No longer are we talking about God being at our right hand.

Now, we are at His. Together with Jesus enjoying Him forevermore.

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King.”

We captured 18 minutes of yesterday's message before the video camera quit recording. 


Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 / Spring 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55