Monday, November 8, 2021

Tuesday prior to Proper 28


Psalm 16; key verse, verse 11You will show me the path of life. The Psalm for this week reminds us that God is our refuge in trying times and assures us that God will not abandon us in our trials.

The benefits of a life committed to God.

This psalm is titled ‘A Michtam of David.’ The title Michtam is commonly understood as golden; others think it is related to a word meaning to cover. Since the psalms with this title (16, 56-60) are written from times of peril, some think the idea is of covering the lips in the sense of secrecy, as if this were a secret or silent psalm given in a time of crisis. This is a wonderful song relating how David found the secret of contentment and great gladness even in pressing times; it also powerfully predicts Jesus and His work for us.

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. This tells that both in this life and the life beyond, true pleasures forevermore are found at the right hand of God, not in separation from Him.

In his fictional work The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote in the voice of a senior devil, complaining about the “unfair advantage” that God has against the devils as they do their dark work: “He’s a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures forevermore’. Ugh! I don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least – sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before its any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.”

The conclusion of this psalm is especially wonderful when we consider how it began. “The refugee of verse 1 finds himself an heir, and his inheritance beyond all imagining and all exploring.” (Kidner)

When we go back to the first verse, we remember that this life of gladness and rejoicing and fullness of joy is not a problem-free life. It is a life that may be challenged and face attack on many levels. Yet in that a life commitment to God has been made and is enjoyed, it is a secure, happy, blessed life.[2]

Collect for Psalm 16: Lord Jesus, uphold those who hope in you, and give us your counsel, so that we may know the joy of your resurrection and share the pleasures of the saints at your right hand, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[3]- 09 November 2021


[1] The Crucifixion, Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

[3] Collect for Psalm 16, For All the Saints, A Prayer Book For and By the Church, Vol. IV © 1996 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

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