Monday Musings: I Have No Good Apart From You
This morning, despite having no school, I woke up extra early. After tossing and turning begrudgingly for another thirty minutes, I shuffled into our living room and started my daily bible reading. In this time of worry and unrest with COVID-19, God convicted and encouraged my heart through my time in Psalm 16.
"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after[c] another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[e] rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.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."
I've read this Psalm several times before, but this morning it made me stop and ponder. King David, in this particular chapter, is praising the Lord for his authoritative and infallible protection. In God, David finds his refuge and safety, but not only that — he finds his delight and pleasure in the Lord. In verse 2, David exclaims, "I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord. I have no good apart from you."
I have no good apart from you.
David recognizes that God is his most supreme treasure. There is no greater gift, no riches more valuable or costly. And any good gift that he enjoys or delights in is an instrument used to point back to the greater gift — the Creator. This high view of God causes him to delight in the fellowship he has been given through the saints around him (verse 4) and to disregard the foolishness of seeking gods that lead to death and destruction (verse 5).
Later on in Psalm 16:5, David says, "The LORD is my chosen portion and cup; you hold my lot." This is probably one of my favorite verses in the chapter. David is saying that even if he had a choice of the richest wine or most delectable spread of food, including the Lord himself, he would always choose the Lord. Nothing compares. He knows that God is the one who sustains him — No wine or choice of meat could satisfy and nourish him like God. And this Lord, who is good and kind, holds his lot. He does not fear what's to come because the Lord is the Sovereign one and in control, not him. How wonderful is it that we can trust God with our yesterdays, today, and tomorrows? We can rest knowing that God has numbered our days and is working all things together for our good. And because of this hope in Christ, we have a beautiful inheritance (verse 6) that can never be thwarted or taken away.
These few verses made me stop and contemplate: Does my heart truly sing, "There is no good thing apart from you?" Is my truest treasure the Lord himself, or are my eyes fixed on the conveniences of the world? Do I delight in his word and presence or in nap time/Netflix/date night with my husband/you fill in the blank? Do I live and rejoice in the fact that the Lord holds my lot? Often, I think not. I find myself navel-gazing, worrying about my desires and inconveniences, instead of focusing on Christ. And in this time of loving our neighbors well by self-quarantining and staying put, we all can get a little…well, restless. Schools, daycares, and pre-ks are closed, and our sense of routine and normalcy gets thrown out the window. I know if I'm not careful and vigilant, that I can become frustrated (or worse, bitter) for the annoyances and difficulties that pop up around me. But God is using this time to remind me that he holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), including my little family in Montgomery. He is reminding me that there is no true good apart from him, regardless if I can have my weekly latte at Prevail.
In verse 7, David continues by telling of not only who God is to him, but also what he is for him. Psalm 16:7 says, "I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night he instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." God is not only Sovereign and our fortress for refuge, but we see that the Lord instructs, counsels, and guides through his word. When we listen and obey his word just as David did, God molds and shapes us into the likeness of Christ. Through this steadfastness and dependence on the Lord, we will not be shaken (verse 8). He will uphold us with His mighty hand. This isn't a faulty or fragile confidence; it's built on the bedrock of the Lord's character. And we can be sure that this confidence will not fail.
Because of God's Sovereign hand and his loving counsel through his word, David's heart is glad, and his whole being rejoices (verse 9). The Lord has made him secure and preserved him. God will not abandon him to Sheol (death/the grave). And as verse 11 promises, this will be forevermore when we are found in Christ. We experience fullness of joy in this life and the next, because of our inheritance in Jesus.
Ephesians 2: 4-7 says, "Because God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he has loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
Because of the immeasurable riches of God's grace through Jesus Christ, we can experience the fullness of joy in his presence. Our confidence is solid and stable because of the cross. And because of Jesus's triumph over sin and the grave, we no longer have to fear death and the wrath of God. Our righteousness is found in the person Christ.
So this week (and for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19), pray and ask that God would help you not be frustrated or angry because of wonky, irregular schedules. Ask that he would help you genuinely say, "I have no good apart from you." Know that none of this catches him by surprise — he holds your lot, your life, in his hands. Ask that he would give you a heart that desires his word and that he might use it to give you counsel and guidance. And I pray that through this pandemic, that Christ will be glorified and that we might use it show that there is fullness of joy and hope in the person of Jesus Christ.
Picture from UnSplash: Carolyn V.