David’s song would probably not be played on a contemporary Christian radio station, or played in our churches, but maybe it should.
In Psalm 16, he prayed, “Preserve me, O God.” The Hebrew word for “preserve” means “to keep or guard.” We can see this word in action when we look at how guards surround a king, and when a shepherd guards his sheep. David took refuge in the only person who can perfectly shepherd and protect him.
In verse 2, there is a second singular ending on the end of the Hebrew verb, “Say.” It is a strange thing because it is in the feminine form. I believe the KJV and the NKJV captures the gist of the why it might be there when they translated verse 2, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord.” David confessed to himself and the Lord, “You are my Lord.” At the end of verse 2, David declares that his goodness “Extendeth not to thee…”David recognized his radical corruption. This recognition is crucial for a true understanding of our condition before God. We won’t feel a need to run to Jesus without this knowledge.
We stand undone and condemned before a holy God. Without the foreign righteousness of Christ we are men most miserable – we are without hope. The realization of knowing ones sins was huge for pillars in church history. Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th century mystic said, “The knowledge of God and knowledge of self belong together and that in their mutual dependence they are necessary for salvation.” Question # 1 of The Heidelberg Catechism provides a biblical summary of our only comfort in life and in death. But question #2 asks, “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort? The answer – “Three things: First, how great my sin and misery are…” This was the first on the list. This was the song. The apostles knew how great their sin and misery were; the believer in the 12th Century knew this; the elders and church leaders in Germany in the 16th Century knew this; and David declared this in Psalm 16. When you look squarely “into the eyes” of a Holy God, can you see “How Great, How Great is our sin! Sing with me how great is our sin. Then all will see how Great, how Great is our GOD”
Can you sing the song of King David and our forefathers? Well then, there is hope for you… You can now RUN to Jesus for safety.
Brian Spivey — D.O.C.