A Proclamation of Spiritual Healing

Luke wrote, “And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well’” (Lk. 17:19). The Samaritan put his faith in Christ. His faith in Christ made him well. Thus, this story is not only a story of gratitude to Christ. It is a story of faith in Christ.

Only the Samaritan had put his faith in Jesus. Thus, the Samaritan worshiped God and thanked Jesus. Giving thanks to Jesus begins with faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus produces thanksgiving to Jesus. You cannot thank God enough if you haven’t trusted Christ. Thanksgiving begins with faith in Christ.

Now praising and thanking God will not solve your problems. But it will carry you through your problems. Thanking God means that you are telling God that God is bigger than your problems. Say to God right now, “Lord, you are bigger than my problems. I will still thank you for everything.”

The verb “made you well” (sozo) means “save.” (Friberg) Jesus is saying, “Your faith has saved you.” The Samaritan is healed already of leprosy. He is saved from his leprosy already. But why does Jesus tell him that his faith has saved him after he has been saved of leprosy? The nine ungrateful Jews were saved of leprosy. Why did Jesus not say to the nine Jews that their faith saved them? Jesus singled out only the Samaritan’s faith that saved him. Why did Jesus say that to the Samaritan only?

The answer is that the Samaritan put his faith in Christ. He was not only saved physically. He was also saved spiritually. He did not only receive physical healing. He also received spiritual healing. His faith in Christ did not save him from his sickness only. His faith in Christ has also saved him from his sin.

The NT teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation is by the grace of God through the faith of man. Salvation is the gift of God. Faith is the hand that receives the gift of salvation. Grace is the hand of God that gives salvation. Yet faith is the hand of man that receives salvation. Salvation is given by God’s grace. But salvation is to be received by your faith in Christ. There is the divine work of saving us by God’s grace. There is the human responsibility of receiving this salvation by faith in Christ.

The Samaritan’s faith has saved him. Yet we know from Paul that it is by God’s grace through the faith of the Samaritan. Thus, the Samaritan received not merely physical healing but also spiritual healing.

Now it is possible to receive physical healing but not spiritual healing. The ten lepers were healed physically. But they were not healed spiritually. They did not put their faith in Christ. You may enjoy His blessings physically but lose your soul spiritually.

Have you come to Christ for your spiritual salvation? Come to Christ for spiritual healing. Put your faith in Christ now.

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Conclusion

imagesBy Em Sumaway

Our Gospel reading today can be summarized as follows.

It Starts with Ten Unclean Men (Lk. 17:11-13)

The account begins with ten unclean men, all of whom were lepers. This group of ten men are most likely composed of both Jews and Samaritans. This is notable since Jews and Samaritans would not normally live together. But as the saying goes, “Misery loves company,” and all ten were outcasts and driven away by their own people. But regardless of their miserable condition they still had hope because they trusted in Jesus’ power to heal them.

It Continues with Nine Ungrateful Men (Lk. 17:17)

Jesus commanded the men to show themselves to the priest, which is an act of faith itself since they were not cured yet. When they obeyed the command of the Lord, they were healed, for their obedience was the evidence of their faith. Now one would naturally expect all ten men to run back to Jesus and thank Him for this but only one did so.

It Closes with One Unusual Man (Lk. 17:15-19)

This Samaritan—a foreigner—shouted “Glory to God!” and fell at Jesus’ feet to praise Him and give Him thanks. It would have been so easy to just follow the other nine men and go to the temple to brag about the miracle they’ve experienced, or to go to places they’ve always wanted to go to or do things they were never able to do. But what he did first was to go back to Jesus and offer Him his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. I hope each of us is like this unusual man who gave thanks to God versus nine men who forgot to do so.

As I end this discourse, there’s one more thing I would like to point out in our Gospel passage. This is in relation to the difference in the tenses used for the word “cleansed” in verse 17 and the phrase “made you well” in verse 19. I would like to quote from the Annotated New Testament written by Dr. Gadiel Isidro:

While the nine lepers were cleansed, yet their healing was transitory. This is the thrust of the tense of the verb cleansed in v. 17. But healing of the tenth and a Samaritan was permanent. The verb healed in v. 19 is in the perfect tense. Further, the Greek word used here is sozo which is the word translated save. Could this also mean that the tenth leper was not only cleansed of his leprosy but was also saved in his soul? Why? Because he came back glorifying God.[1]

By coming to Jesus, the Samaritan received something far greater than physical healing. He was also saved from his sins. It is important to note that the Greek word translated, “made you well.” is the same word Jesus used when He spoke to the repentant woman who anointed His feet (Lk. 7:50). The Samaritan’s nine friends were declared clean by the priest, but he was declared saved by the Son of God! While it is wonderful to experience the miracle of physical healing, it is even more wonderful to experience the miracle of eternal salvation.[2]

I challenge you folks today to just pause and count your blessings. Then return to God recognizing that He is the source of all those blessings. At the same time let’s ask for His most wonderful gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, abounding with thanksgiving in our hearts knowing we don’t deserve any of it, and yet He lovingly offers it.

[1] Gadiel T. Isidro, Isidro Annotated New Testament (Dr. Gadiel T. Isidro, 2005), 117.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Chariot Victor Publishing).

Lesson 3: It is Our Responsibility to Thank God

By Em Sumawayimages

The Word of God teaches us to be thankful. It also rebukes us when we are unthankful. Giving thanks to God is not an option but a mandate. Yes, you heard that right. The Bible commands that we be thankful. 1 Chronicles 16:8 says, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” Many of the Psalms also call upon people to give thanks to the Lord. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalms 105-107, 118, and 136 all begin with appeals to give thanks to the Lord.

The New Testament is just as strong in its appeals to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Paul, when describing the proper kind of speech for Christians, wrote in Ephesians 5:4, “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

The Samaritan in our Gospel reading recognized that Jesus was the One responsible for his healing. Instead of rushing to the temple to get the certification from the priest, he went back and did what every man should do when receiving a favor from God—he thanked Jesus and praised Him. When was the last time you received a favor from God? A promotion? Salary increase? Or perhaps a job offer from your dream company? We don’t even have to go as far as the workplace. Have you had breakfast this morning? Dinner last night? And have you thanked God for your family and friends? You should. Even the clothes you wear and the house waiting for your return are all evidences of God’s favor. Remember that thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember and no one can give thanks who has a short memory. Asked to write a composition entitled, “What I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving,” Little Johnny wrote, “I am thankful that I’m not a turkey.”[1] If a child like Little Johnny can think of a reason—however mundane—to be thankful to God, I’m sure every one of us can, too.

In November 24, 2011 President Obama gave the traditional presidential Thanksgiving proclamation. Good thing is that he did call upon Americans to be thankful. The sad part was that he did not call upon Americans to thank God even one time. He didn’t even say “God bless” at the end.

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” Are you obeying the Bible’s commands to give thanks? Do you give thanks to God on a regular basis? Or are you a self-centered complainer? What is your “GQ” or “Gratitude Quotient”? Too often we enjoy the gift but we forget the Giver of the gift. And I’m not talking about Santa Claus, mind you.

Let’s take time to ponder on all the blessings that we received from God. And let’s thank God for those blessings. In fact, why don’t we go further and thank Him for the blessings that are still on their way. The Bible tells us that God will always provide for all our needs. That’s an assurance that there are many blessings going your way that you can also be thankful for.

[1] http://www.jokes4us.com/holidayjokes/thanksgivingjokes.html

 

Lesson 2: There are Many Ways to Thank God

imagesBy Em Sumaway

Thanksgiving is not just expressed through words. It also involves action or demonstration. John Fitzgerald Kennedy is quoted saying, “[The] highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” If we say that we are truly thankful to God, it must be visible in how we live our lives. Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action (W. J. Cameron).

Let’s look at verses 15-16 of our Gospel reading.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

This Samaritan did not just say in his heart, “Wow, that guy was amazing!” and then ran off with the other nine men to enjoy the new life of a man made well. Instead he returned to Jesus and thanked him with a loud voice and fell down at His feet, which is a posture of worship. This man understood the significance of what was done for him and his heart overflowed with thanksgiving until he couldn’t contain it anymore and had to lay it all out at Jesus’ feet.

The Art of Thanksgiving[i]

The art of thanksgiving is thanksliving. It is gratitude in action.

It is thanking God for the gift of life by living it triumphantly.

It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good.

It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you by doing things for others.

It is thanking God for happiness by striving to make others happy.

It is thanking God for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful.

It is thanking God for inspiration by trying to be an inspiration to others.

It is thanking God for health and strength by the care and respect you show your body.

Ways of Thanking God

The Bible teaches that there are many ways to give thanks to God. Let’s look at some of them.

We Can Thank God With Words of Thanksgiving.

  • Hebrews 13:15 – “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
  • Psalm 35:18 – “I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.”

We Can Thank God With Songs of Thanksgiving.

  • Psalm 147:7 – “Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God.”
  • Psalm 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
  • Ephesians 5:19-20 – “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • It is also interesting that when the people of Israel were about to dedicate the wall of Jerusalem, one of the things Nehemiah did was to appoint “two large thanksgiving choirs” (Neh. 12:31). He assigned these two groups to continually give thanks to the Lord.

We Can Thank God by Giving Back to Him.

Many times in the Bible thanksgiving and giving unto are God are linked together. Let’s look at some examples.

  • Thank Offering – Leviticus 7:11-14 (peace offering with unleavened cakes, wafers, and bread); Leviticus 10:15 (thigh of the heave offering and breast of the wave offering); 2 Chronicles 29:31 (King Hezekiah said, “come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord”); Psalm 50:14 (sacrifice thank offerings to God); Psalm 116:17 (I will sacrifice to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving).
  • Offering of First Fruits – Deuteronomy 26:1-11 records how the offering of first fruits must be offered; (v.2) put first produce in a basket and bring it to the Tabernacle, (v.5) declare before the priest that God had made them into a mighty nation, (vv.6-8) delivered them from Egyptian bondage, (v. 8) and had given them a good land, flowing with milk and honey. Then the basket of first fruits was placed on the altar, and given to God in thanksgiving to Him. And the Israelite was to worship and rejoice before the Lord.
  • Proportionate Giving – The amount of our giving to God should be based on how much God has given to us (Dt. 16:17). 1 Corinthians 16:2 clearly conveys the New Testament’s teaching on proportionate giving. Paul wrote, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (emphasis added; the NIV translates it as “in keeping with his income”). Tithe is also an example of proportionate giving. Generally, God did not require the people to give the same amount. Instead, they were to give the same percentage, which was 10% of all that God had blessed them with. The more God gave them, the more they were to return to God in the form of a tithe.

The Bible also teaches that whatever offering we bring to God must be offered out of our own free will (Lev. 22:29). To be acceptable to God, thanksgiving must be offered freely and willingly. God wants our thanksgiving to be freely expressed from the heart. That’s why 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (emphasis added). And the good thing about giving back to God as a form of thanksgiving is that it results into further thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9:11-12).

How about you? How do you demonstrate your gratitude to God? Is your gratitude evident in your actions? Or is it just confined in your words? I challenge you to show God that you are thankful and not just utter it with words.

[i] PC Study Bible 5 Library Illustrations.

Lots of Reasons to Thank God

imagesBy Em Sumaway

The Bible gives us plenty of reasons why we can give thanks to God. Let us reflect on some of these reasons.

First, we thank God for His wonderful attributes.

  • 1 Chronicles 16:34 – “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!”
  • Psalm 107:8 – “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (repeated 3 times in the same chapter)
  • Psalm 7:17 – “I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”

Second, we thank God for what He has done, what He is doing for us, and for what He will do for us in the future.

God gives us material blessings. In King David’s thanksgiving prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 he acknowledged that “both riches and honor” come from the Lord (v. 12a). This, coming from one of the richest and most honorable men who ever lived. He continues by saying that in God’s hand, “it is to make great and to give strength to all” (v. 12b).

God blesses us with caring people in our lives. It’s so easy to take people for granted. It’s also easy to complain about people because they don’t come up to our expectations. Take a look around you. People have their faults and no doubt will let you down or disappoint you at some point. But that doesn’t lessen the fact that God has richly blessed you with these people. Let’s make it a habit to express our appreciation to the individuals who are special to us.

God gives us strength in the middle of difficulties. Sometimes life takes you down roads you would rather not travel. These roads are full of unpleasant signboards like sickness, grief, scarcity, accidents, or even death. But even through the dark valleys of life and the overshadowing of pain and suffering, God is always with us. He has always been with us and He will always see us through (Ps. 23:4).

God gave us salvation in Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:16). 2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” This is the most wonderful gift that we could ever receive in this life. And God offers it freely to everyone who would accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

The Bible also teaches us that we are to thank God for His righteous judgments (Ps. 119:62); for His wondrous works (Ps. 75:1); for every good and perfect gift (Jam. 1:17); for spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12); for eternal life (Rom. 6:23); for the gift of faith and salvation (Eph. 2:8); for the grace given in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:4); and for the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).

This list is nowhere near in covering all the reasons why we thank God. Let me just end this section with a passage in Deuteronomy 8:7-10 where Moses reminded the people of Israel,

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.” (emphasis added)

When was the last time you received a favor from God? Did you thank Him for it?

Just like the nation of Israel, we have so much to be thankful to God for. The Samaritan guy in the story had the presence of mind to contemplate on the wonderful blessing that he received and concluded that it was a blessing from God. We just need to pause and give it some thought. I’m sure each of us has something special in mind that wasn’t mentioned in any of these verses. Let us consider all these things and thank God for them.

Give Thanks!

By Em Sumaway

indexLESSON #1: WE HAVE PLENTY OF REASONS TO THANK GOD

Let’s start with the basics. What is the meaning of the word, “Thanks”? This is how most dictionaries would define it: “Thanks” is appreciation, gratitude, kind thoughts or feelings toward any one for favors or services received. That seems very straightforward. No one needs to be told that.

But what is “Thanks” for the Christian? It’s similar but with a little variation. “Thanks” for the Christian is appreciation, gratitude, kind thoughts or feelings toward God in heaven for favors or services received. We firmly believe that even though we receive a lot of help from the people around us, God Himself ultimately blesses us.

Their Money’s Worth

Rudyard Kipling at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. A few college students, however, did not appreciate Kipling’s writings. They facetiously sent him a letter and enclosed ten shillings. It read, “Please send us your best word.” They got back a letter from Kipling that said, “Thanks.”[1] Is that your best word, too? I hope it is.

In our Gospel reading there were ten men healed by Jesus from their leprosy. He commanded them to present themselves to the priest and when they turned to obey, Jesus healed them. In Jewish culture, the priest is the only one that can declare a man clean if he was previously deemed unclean because of some health condition or something that he touched or handled. The priest then can arbitrarily decide who is no longer unclean and certify anyone as clean.

It is remarkable then that even before the ten men were able to present themselves before the priest they were already healed. This is the import of the verb “as they went” in verse 14 which is in the present tense. While they were on their way to see the priest, God miraculously cured them from leprosy. Nine of them were probably so focused and so excited in getting their “Certificate of Cleanness,” that they forgot to thank Jesus. But one of them saw beyond all that happened. He acknowledged that his cleanness was made possible by Jesus Himself and not because of some certificate he would receive. In the first place, these ten men asked for Jesus, and not the priests, to heal them.

[1] PC Study Bible 5 Library Illustrations.

Ten Lepers Cleansed

(A Thanksgiving Sermon preached to God of Grace Christian Fellowship, Inc., Maxwell Hotel, Escario St., Cebu City, last Nov. 30, 2014)

By Em Sumaway

images11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.

13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?

18 “Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19, NKJV)[1]

Holidays sermons are the toughest sermons to preach. It tends to be clichéd, stereotyped, or plain boring. It’s those “I’ve-heard-that-already” type of sermons. Thanksgiving is also included in this list. We all know that we should be thankful—more so with Christians. Tell a Christian that he needs to be thankful and he will most likely return an “I-know-that” glare at you. But sermons are a good reminder of the key values which make our lives fulfilling before God. Even Christians tend to forget that. Let’s read through our text today and digest the lessons we can learn from it in relation to thanksgiving (Read Luke 17:11-19).

Why in the World?

A woman was hosting a dinner party and at the table she asked her six-year-old daughter to say grace. “But, I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl responded. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” replied the mother. The little girl nodded, bowed her head, and prayed, “Dear Lord, why in the world did I invite all these people to dinner?”[2]

I think many of us can identify with that mother. The routine of keeping up with all of our responsibilities drains our energy. The pressure mounts and we get frustrated. We get tired. We get irritable. We look around the demands on us, and say, “Oh Lord, why in the world is this on my shoulders?”

We focus so much on the negative things that we fail to see the positive things. Then we end up complaining rather than giving thanks for the good things we already have. Sometimes we think that we can only be happy when things get “better” or if we get this or that. We fail to realize that the miracle of happiness is in being thankful for what you already have. Frank A. Clark is quoted saying, “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.”[3] Along the same line, Storm Jameson wisely stated, “For what I have received may the Lord make me truly thankful. And more truly for what I have not received.”

What’s Your Perspective?

The very quality of your life, whether you love it or hate it, is based upon how thankful you are toward God. It is one’s attitude that determines whether life unfolds into a place of blessedness or wretchedness. Indeed, looking at the same rose bush, some people complain that the roses have thorns while others rejoice that some thorns come with roses. It all depends on your perspective. This is the only life you will have before you enter eternity. If you want to find joy, you must first find thankfulness. Indeed, the one who is thankful for even a little enjoys much. But the unappreciative soul is always miserable, always complaining. He lives outside the shelter of the Most High God.[4]

From our Gospel reading today, we learn some important lessons on thanksgiving. Let’s take a look at them.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982).

[2] Rev. Russell B. Smith’s sermon, “Thanksgiving and Abundance,” IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 33, August 13 to August 19, 2001.

[3] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_thanksgiving. html.

[4] http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/thanksgiving.

You Make Known to Me the Path of Life

In my previous post, one reason why David rejoices is that God will not bring him to death and Sheol. Another reason is in Ps.16:2—“I have no good apart from you.” Apart from God, he receives no good. With God, he receives all good. But in death, he receives no good from God.

Thus, David rejoices because while still living, he will receive all the good from God. He will still enjoy God and the joy of God forevermore.

That is why David concludes with the words in v. 11. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 ESV).

David is confident that the LORD will show him the path of life. Now we have to ask the question—Why did David say that?

Peter gives us the meaning of David’s words in Acts 2:24-32.

For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
. . . Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:25-31, ESV)

Peter says that David foresaw the coming of Christ. Peter says that David prophesied the resurrection of Christ. Peter says that David hoped for the resurrection. David anticipated the solution to the problem of death. The solution to the problem of death is the resurrection of Christ. Because Christ will rise from the dead, David can therefore say, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Because David believed in the resurrection of Christ, he can now confidently say that he will walk the path of life.

At the end of the day, in a future day, David will not die. Death will not cut him off from the presence of God. David will live in the presence of the LORD! He will experience the fullness of joy in the presence of the LORD! He will enjoy pleasures forevermore in the presence of the LORD!

Like David, we know that the resurrection of Christ is the path to life. Like David, we will not die. The LORD shall preserve us. Death will not cut us off from the presence of the LORD. We will live in the presence of God. We will experience fullness of joy in the presence of the LORD. We will enjoy pleasures forevermore in the presence of the LORD.

A Trust That Experiences Life, Joy, and Pleasures Forevermore

I read a story about a group of children that “was lining up for lunch in the cafeteria of a church primary school. At the head of the table was a bowl of juicy apples. The supervising nun wrote a note and placed it next to the apples: ‘Take only ONE. God is watching.’ At the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate coated biscuits. A child had written a note and put it next to the plate: ‘Take as many as you want. God is watching the apples.’”[1]

In v. 1, David asks the LORD for preservation and protection. He asks the LORD to watch over him.

In v. 9, David says that he rejoices in his whole being. His physical life is secure. The reason is in v. 10—God will not bring him to Sheol—the place of the dead. God will not let him die and see physical corruption. I think v. 1 and v. 9 are connected. To be preserved by the LORD for David is to be protected from physical corruption.

David is not saying here that he rejoices because God will save him from death. Rather, David is saying that he rejoices because God will not let him die yet. Because if God will not let him die yet, he will still enjoy the presence of God.

In v. 8, he just finished saying that the LORD is at his side. Because the LORD is at his right hand, therefore, he will rejoice. He will rejoice because he will not yet suffer physical death. Why would David rejoice for not suffering death? The reason is that death will end his enjoyment of the presence of God.

In the worldview of the Psalms, death is not just the end of life.Death is to be cut off from the presence of God. Death is detachment from the pleasures of the presence of God. Death is a cessation from enjoying the presence of God. Death is a termination of praising God. Death is the loss of the memory and act of praising God (Ps. 6).

To the psalmist, then, you do not only lose your life in death. In death, you lose God Himself.[2] That is why David rejoices that he will not yet die. Because to die is to lose God Himself.

Thus, David rejoices because while still living, he will still enjoy the pleasures of the presence of God. He will not lose God.


[1] “Sermon Illustrations: God – His Nature, Attributes And Power.” Cited December 1, 2012. Online: http://hotsermons.com/sermon-illustrations/sermon-illustrations-god.html

[2] Mays, Psalms, 87.

The Security of Faith

In Ps. 16:8, David says that he has “set” the LORD before him. The word, “set” (Heb. shawa), means, “to set together.” (TWOT) David has set himself together with the LORD. David believes in the presence of the LORD with him.

The second line in v. 8 explains the first line, “because he is at my right hand.”  The LORD is before David insofar as the LORD is at his right hand. Maclaren best described it, “God is ours only in reality when we are conscious of his nearness.” David is fully conscious of God’s nearness. He has set his heart in the confidence that God is with him, that God is at his right hand.

Because Yahweh is at his right hand, he can then confidently say in v. 8, “I shall not be shaken.” This is the security of faith. Because the LORD is before him, David can say that he is secure against wrong, fearful thoughts. Because the LORD is beside him, David is secure against all threats. Because the LORD is at his side, David is secure against all his enemies.

Are you facing a dangerous situation? Is something bothering you that you cannot sleep well? Call on the Lord in the night—every night.  Claim the presence of God. Say with David, Because the Lord is at my side, I will not be shaken.

This is the faith of David. It is a faith that rests on the wisdom of the LORD. It is a faith that rests secure in the presence of the LORD.