Psalm 16: God our Good


  • God as our good
  • God makes other things good
  • Some other goods we have in God
  • God our good in Christ


When all is being shaken you need something unshakeable to hold on to to keep you from falling apart; when all things temporary are slipping away you need an eternal anchor. Psalm 16 is a psalm of David where his world is crumbling, things are going as badly as they can go and yet he finds his good and comfort in the unshakeable God. David in this psalm is a refugee fleeing from Saul. Now when we think of refugees the picture we have in our minds is one of poverty, filth, devastation, rape, women and children, refugee camps where medicine is in short supply, cholera and other epidemics break out, and the wars that have caused this large exodus of people. Refugees are people to pity, people who have nothing, they have no homeland, no resources, no hope, no possessions, they are displaced among strangers and a strain on good will. Their lives are marked by survival, and not certainty, depression and not joy, however this is not David’s experience when he is a refugee. How do we know David is a refugee? There are certain clues in the text. Firstly, his prayer for protection in v1 indicates a time when he would have been in danger, most likely when fleeing from Absalom or Saul. The reference to not worshipping idols in v4 remind us of some of the things that were said to David when he was fleeing from Saul around the time he entered Philistia for just over a year, after he spared Saul in his sleep, listen to his words, 1 Samuel 26:17-20 (ESV) Saul recognised David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” [18] And he said, “Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What evil is on my hands? [19] Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering, but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in the heritage of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ [20] Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.” The dig in saying to David to go and serve other gods is refuted in Ps 16:4. And thirdly, given David’s nostalgic references to the saints in the land in v3, this would fit well with the situation we find David in, in 1 Samuel 27 when he is amongst the Philistines. So David then is a refugee, away from home, on the run, his wife has been taken from him, his friends have turned against him, things seem bad, how is he doing spiritually? This Psalm reflects how David finds his good in God.

As we reflect on this psalm we will be looking at four things: Firstly, that God is our good; how God makes other things good; the other goods we have in God, and finally God our good in Christ.