Psalm 16 - The Lord is my chosen portion

A Miktam of David.
1) Protect 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 holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.
4) Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
5) The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
7) I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8) I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
10) For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11) You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16 (NRSV)
The Great Vigil of Easter
2nd Sunday of Easter, Year A
Proper 8, Year C, Sunday between June 26 and July 2
Proper 28, Year B, Sunday between November 13 and November 19

This psalm is a straight-up, unadulterated declaration of loyalty. 'I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord."' Bam!

We make similar declarations. But "You da man!" or "I'm your guy," don't carry quite the same force. "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same..." is starting to approach the gravity, if not the simplicity, of "You are my Lord."

We may forget that "Lord" is a more than a formality. It is a title of authority, a title of priority. We follow our Lord, we we obey our Lord, we trust our Lord.

Now people follow all kinds of lords. And they may offer similar praise and flattery and oaths. Whether with puffery or sincerity, ultimately it is about the kind of lord and that lord's intention and action.

The testimony of this psalm and of the community of faith throughout the ages, is that this lord, the God of Israel, the author of good, is a giving Lord who loves, nurtures, and wants us to be whole.

In contrast to other lords, this Lord wants no offerings of blood. This Lord does not lead to the Pit, to destruction.

The psalm says it all. Put these words on your lips. Bless the Lord and listen to his counsel, heard in conventional ways and in the stirrings of your heart, open to God. With a God of blessing and of justice, why not choose to take up residence in her kingdom? The path to this "pleasant portion" is the way of life. Therefore my heart is glad!

Boardwalk at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Public domain.
Juan Pablo Arenas, View of City, licensed for use.


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