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Synopsis Home Psalms Psalm 16
Book 1
Psalm 1
Psalm 2
Psalm 3
Psalm 4
Psalm 5
Psalm 6
Psalm 7
Psalm 8
Psalms 9 and 10
Psalm 11
Psalm 12
Psalm 13
Psalm 14
Psalm 15
Psalm 16
Psalm 17
Psalm 18
Psalm 19
Psalm 20
Psalm 21
Psalm 22
Psalms 23 and 24
Psalm 25
Psalm 26
Psalm 27
Psalm 28
Psalm 29
Psalm 30
Psalm 31
Psalm 32
Psalm 33
Psalm 34
Psalm 35
Psalm 36
Psalm 37
Psalm 38
Psalm 39
Psalm 40
Psalm 41
Book 2
Psalms 42, 43
Psalm 44
Psalm 45
Psalm 46
Psalm 47
Psalm 48
Psalm 49
Psalm 50
Psalm 51
Psalm 52
Psalm 53
Psalm 54
Psalm 55
Psalm 56
Psalm 57
Psalm 58
Psalm 59
Psalm 60
Psalm 61
Psalm 62
Psalm 63
Psalm 64
Psalm 65
Psalm 66
Psalm 67
Psalm 68
Psalm 69
Psalm 70
Psalm 71
Psalm 72
Book 3
Psalm 73
Psalm 74
Psalm 75
Psalm 76
Psalm 77
Psalm 78
Psalm 79
Psalm 80
Psalm 81
Psalm 82
Psalm 83
Psalm 84
Psalm 85
Psalm 86
Psalm 87
Psalm 88
Psalm 89
Book 4
Psalm 90
Psalm 91
Psalm 92
Psalm 93
Psalm 94
Psalm 95
Psalm 96
Psalm 97
Psalm 98
Psalm 99
Psalm 100
Psalm 101
Psalm 102
Psalm 103
Psalm 104
Psalm 105
Psalm 106
Book 5
Psalm 107
Psalm 108
Psalm 109
Psalm 110
Psalm 111
Psalm 112
Psalm 113
Psalm 114
Psalm 115
Psalm 116
Psalm 117
Psalm 118
Psalm 119
Psalm 120
Psalm 121
Psalm 122
Psalm 123
Psalm 124
Psalm 125
Psalm 126
Psalm 127
Psalm 128
Psalm 129
Psalm 130
Psalm 131
Psalm 132
Psalm 133
Psalm 134
Psalm 135
Psalm 136
Psalm 137
Psalm 138
Psalm 139
Psalms 140-143
Psalm 144
Psalm 145
Psalm 146
Psalm 147
Psalm 148
Psalm 149
Psalm 150

Christ formally takes His place in dependence among the remnant on earth

With Psalm 16 we begin a very important series of psalms-those in which the connection of Christ Himself with the remnant is brought before us by the divine Spirit. In Psalm 16, Christ takes formally His place among the remnant. It is quoted by the apostle Peter to prove His resurrection, and the principle of it is referred to in the epistle to the Hebrews to show His participation in human nature.* After examining many critical authorities, I adhere to the English translation of the second verse. The third leaves the sense obscure, from not changing the preposition. "But to the saints" answers to "said unto the Lord," not to "extendeth not to thee." He says to the Lord, "My goodness ... to the saints, ... in them is all my delight." Thus this psalm has a most important and deeply interesting place. It is Christ taking His place in grace amongst the poor remnant of Israel of the servant to tread the path of life which none as in flesh had found in this world, and that leading through death to beyond it, where there was fulness of joy. He takes the place of dependence, of trust, not of divine equality. And He who says He does not, must have had title to do so, or need not have said it. He was taking another place. He takes the place of servant, and calls Jehovah His Lord. Nor was this all. He takes a place, however alone He might be in perfection and perfect in doing it, with the saints on earth. And this He does, not merely as a fact, but with the fullest affection. His delight is in them. He joys to call them the excellent of the earth.

{*The quotation in Hebrews 2 is literally from the LXX of Isaiah 8.}

Note further, it is not with the heavenly saints He associates Himself, nor are those of whom He speaks here united to Him in heaven, but He associated with them. Some may go to heaven by that path of life of which He has Himself left the track, but His association with them, and theirs with Him, is under the title of the excellent of the earth.

We may further remark, that the whole psalm breathes this spirit, and takes this place, of dependence, so precious for the poor remnant. It is not, Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days that was taking a divine place. His body was a temple; He raised it up Himself. Here He leans as man on Jehovah in both perfect. "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption." Let us now consider the contents of this psalm in more detailed order. We have already noticed the first verses; but the principles are of the last importance, as presenting Christ taking this place, so that I return to them.

Messiah taking the place of a man with God

Messiah looks as man to God to preserve Him. He takes the place of man. It is not merely a Jew already there calling on Jehovah, but a man with God. He puts His trust in Him. The principle of trust Paul alleges in Hebrews 2 as a witness that Messiah was the true man. Next, He takes the place of a servant. He says to Jehovah for now He takes His place before Him "Thou art my Adon, my Lord." This is a definite and distinct place. He moreover takes His place, not in divine goodness towards others, but before God in a man's place. My goodness, He says, extendeth not to thee. Thus He said to the young man who came to Him, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God." But though in truth alone, looked at in His relationship to man, for all were sinners, He takes His place with the remnant, the excellent of the earth. This He did historically, when He went to the baptism of John Baptist, with those whom the Spirit led to God in the holy path of repentance. They went first there. He associates Himself with them in grace. Still, we look on to the full result in the last days even here. He will not hear of any God but Jehovah. The sorrows of those who did should be multiplied. Jehovah Himself was His portion, and He maintained Him in the sure enjoyment of that which He was to enjoy in the purpose of God, and pleasant was the place where the lines had fallen to Him. It was Jehovah's inheritance on the earth that was His portion, and this is specially in Israel. Such was His portion; but then there was His path first. Here He blesses Jehovah too. His counsel was always His guide. He walked by it. The secret of Jehovah was with Him to guide Him; and away from men, when all was brought into the silence of His heart and its inmost feelings, His own inmost thoughts were light and guidance. It is ever so when we are in communion with God; for, though in the heart (such thoughts are always His light in it, the fruit, and the moral fruit, of the working of His Spirit) there was the positive direction and guidance of Jehovah, and those inward apprehensions of His soul, the result of divine work in it.

The perfection of Christ as a man

In Christ of course this was perfect. It is well, while judging of all by the word, not to neglect this working of the soul, as moved and taught of God. The mind of the Spirit in moral discernment, is found in it. Besides this guidance, there was positive purpose of heart. He had set Jehovah always before Him. This only direction did He follow, and because of His being near, and at His right hand, He would not be moved. It was not self-dependence, but trust in Jehovah. This was indeed the path of life, though as yet unmanifested in visible power (compare Rom. 1: 4).

Hence He would rejoice through all, and pass through death with unclouded hope; His flesh should rest in it; as a man He did not fear it. Jehovah, whom He trusted, would not leave His soul in hades, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. Soul and body, though going respectively to the place of departed spirits and the place of corruption, would not be left in the one or see the other. Jehovah would show Him the path of life through, but beyond, death. How blessedly He did so! It led up to brighter joys than Israel's blessing, among whom He had come to sojourn. There indeed the excellent of the earth could not follow Him (John 13: 33, 36; John 21: 19). He must first dry up the waters of Jordan for them, and make it the path for them also where He was gone. For that path, since it led through death, must lead, if it was indeed the path of life, to what was beyond it the presence of Him, in whose presence there is fulness of joy and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Resurrection, the blessed issue and result of the Lord's path here

Such is the blessed issue and result of the Lord's path across this world, where He took His place among the saints, and trod, in confidence on Jehovah (into whose hands He committed His spirit), the path which, if He took us up, must lead through death, and then found the path again in resurrection, and so as man up to Him with whom is fulness of joy. The Spirit of holiness marked the life of the Son of God all through. He was declared to be such, with power, by resurrection; but, being man, passed up into the presence of God. The holy confiding life found its perfect joy there. He is (blessed be God, and the name of that blessed One who has trod this path!) our forerunner.*

{*Compare as to a special aspect of this, John 12: 23, 24; and the Lord's consequent place, in chapters 11, 12, 13, as we have seen, had given testimony to His place according to Psalm 2. See note on Psalm 8.}

Christ's position in the midst of Israel; the difference between Israel's associations with Christ and those of the assembly

Let us dwell for a moment on the connection of this with other scriptures, partially referred to. It is of importance, as showing Christ's position in the midst of Israel, and the difference of their associations with Him, from those of the saints of the assembly. And besides that, we get the divinely perfect feelings of Christ Himself in this position: He is in association with the saints in Israel; only He voluntarily takes it (that is, that into which they are called out in witness of their return to God). We see (Heb. 2: 13) that this association is with those that are sanctified. He makes one company with that pious remnant manifested thus for God. He is not ashamed to call them brethren, having taken up their cause and consequently become man, become flesh and blood, because the children whom God had given Him partook of it.

We see that He really became man, but to identify Himself with the interests, and to secure the blessing of the saints,* of the remnant, of the children whom God was bringing to glory, and who are distinguished from the mass of Israel, to whom they were to be a sign (see Isaiah 8: 18). In this passage the condition of this remnant and the expectation of better days are considered. Leaving aside the assembly which is not the subject of prophecy, the passage passes, as we often see, from Christ's personal connection with the saints in Israel to this position and portion of these saints in the last days. This is with sufficient distinctness given us in this passage of Isaiah to help us much in understanding the way in which the Spirit of God does pass from the previous history of the saints in Israel over to the last days, leaving out the assembly altogether. Christ, in spirit, contemplates these only His connection, that is, with the remnant of Israel, and so far with the nation, and thus passes over the whole history of the assembly, to Himself again in the same connection with the nation in the last days.

{*Thus, becoming man, and through glorifying God in His work as man, He has also title under God's gift over all flesh.} 76

"Bind up the testimony," He says (Isaiah 8: 16, 17), "seal the law among my disciples, and I will wait* upon Jehovah, who hideth his face from the house of Israel, and will look for him." This was when He had become the rejected sanctuary and the stumbling-stone.

{*This is the passage quoted in Hebrews 2 "I will put my trust in him."}

It continues to the final glory, when Israel shall possess Him as the Son born to them (Isaiah 9: 6, 7). If we do not abstract the assembly, it is impossible to understand the prophecies of the Old Testament. The assembly has her heavenly portion, but Christ can consider His relationship with His earthly people separately.

Trust alone in Jehovah ending in the highest joy -- the presence of God

To return to Psalm 16, the reader will remark the reference to idolatry (one of God's great controversies with Israel) in the fourth verse. From Matthew 12: 43-45, and Isaiah 65 we learn that the Jews will fall into idolatry in the latter days. Jehovah alone is acknowledged by the prophetic Spirit of Christ. It is after this is all done away that He will rejoice, in the days that are to come, in the portion which Jehovah has given Him with the excellent of the earth. The certainty of this hope is connected with the resurrection (which is a necessary condition to its fulfilment, and which the favour of Jehovah secures to His Anointed) in all the virtue of that power which will not suffer His Holy One to see corruption. Hence the apostle refers to the sure mercies of David; that is, to the accomplishment of all God's promises to Israel, as a proof that Christ was to rise from the dead now no more to return to corruption. Nothing can be more beautiful (if it be not His death) than the expression of the Lord's feelings given us in this psalm the expression by Himself of the place He has taken, and that with the saints. Jehovah is His own portion. How truly was it so! What other had He? Yet His delight was in the saints. Do we not see it in His disciples? With the first step of spiritual life in the remnant, shown in their going to John's baptism of repentance, He identifies Himself who surely had no need of repentance. So, as a faithful man, an Israelite, He sets Jehovah always before Him. So, even in death, He rests, in confidence, on Him for resurrection, that path of life through, and in spite of, death (and which He has opened for us), and there Jehovah, God, His Father's presence, is (He knows) the fulness of joy; at His right hand pleasures for evermore. This is the highest proper joy of the mind and Spirit of Christ; not glory, but the presence of God.

Synopsis by John Darby