Why Should We Take Refuge in God?

Psalm 16 is a Psalm of David…we don’t know the specifics of the occasion of the Psalm, however there is speculation that it could be when the Philistines seized him in Gath or possibly during his fleeing from Saul. Whatever the case, David is crying out to God for protection. Psalm 16:1, “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” Preserve comes from the Hebrew word shamar means to keep, watch or to preserve, or as one lexicon states that it could have the meaning to guard. Spurgeon writes, “guard me” even as bodyguards surround their monarch, or as shepherds protect their flocks.” So when David says preserve me, there is a definite desire for God’s protection. David’s faith in God is not just vocal, but is actual…having faith that knows God will preserve and protect him.
David’s declaration of faith in God’s preservation and protection is followed in verses 2-11 with 5 reasons to take refuge in God. So why should we take refuge in God?

(1) God is Our Lord and Master. Psalm 16:2, “I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord.” You cannot expect to take refuge in God, If you haven’t first been saved by God. Refuge and protection in this life is worthless without refuge in eternity. God has planned his eternal refuge through the death of His Son so that God’s justice would be accomplished as Christ took our sin debt. If by faith we receive God’s grace we will have eternal refuge.

(2) God is the Source of Every Good Thing (Psalm 16:2-4). There are some differences in the translations of the last phrase of verse 2… “I have no good apart from you.” (ESV), “Every good thing I have comes from you.” (NLT), “my goodness extendeth not to thee.” (KJV). These are some significant differences, the ESV and the NLT focusing on God’s good to us, positively. The KJV focuses on the fact that our good deeds do not extend to God, negatively. Both of these are correct, they are translating the same phrase from a different vantage point. A simple analogy to better understand this point. Its like watching this years Super Bowl from the Packers sideline vs. the Steelers sideline this year. The Packers won is one outlook. The Steelers lost is the other outlook. Both are correct just different aspects of the same truth. One will have a positive outlook on its description of the action…one will have a negative outlook. It is true, nothing good comes to us from anything other than God. It is also true that God does not need us. Acts 17:24-25, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (ESV). Spurgeon writes, “God would have been inconceivably glorious had the human race perished, and had no atonement been offered. Although the life-work and death-agony of the Son did reflect unparalleled luster upon every attribute of God, yet the Most blessed and infinitely happy God stood in no need of the obedience and death of His Son; it was for our sakes that the work of redemption was undertaken…”
As David continues in Psalm 16:3-4 he contrasts between godly and the idolatrous. The godly people in the land are my heroes. Within these 2 verses we see God’s hatred of sin as well as the sinners longing for it. How often are we as believers slow to towards the true God, But sinners chase after other gods. Or as Spurgeon said, “They run like madmen where we creep like snails.” This contrast is clear in who he seeks to keep company with in his life. It is not those who are idolaters, but those who seek after God.
(3) God is Our Inheritance (Psalm 16:5-6). Are you satisfied with your possessions? That is what David is using to point back to God. I love the ESV study bible notes here as I think it nailed it…“The terms portion, lot, lines, and inheritance evoke the allocation of the land into family plots… The song promotes contentment with the arrangements of one’s life, seeing them as providentially ordered.” “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (ESV, v.6). This verse is dealing with property lines, and that David is pleased with his possessions. They have fallen in good places, and he realizes that his physical inheritance is very good. But that is not David’s focus…“THE LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” (v.5) Whatever our status financially David reminds us that our ultimate inheritance is God Himself.
(4) God Directs Our Paths. (Psalm 16:7-8). Wondering what step is next in your life? David says here’s how you do…put God first. V.8, “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken,” (ESV). He puts God first, because he knows God will give him counsel And as he meditates on God and His Word, his heart instructs him. C.S. Lewis, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and do as you please.” If our hearts and lives led by the Spirit and entrenched in God and His Word we can do as we please, because our actions will be influenced by Christ and will exalt Him.
(5) God’s Security Brings Rejoicing (Psalm 16:9-11). God’s security is not just in the eternal, but physical as well. Does this mean that this is a promise of no suffering? Unfortunately so many Christians believe that Jesus came to die only for an example and to give us a prosperous life. It is true that Christ proclaimed that he came “to give life, and to give it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). However Christ later in John’s gospel also states that there will be tribulations and persecutions. Further, the apostle Paul also states in Romans 8 that sufferings are not just a little possibility or for just those “who have not followed Christ the way they should.” Paul proclaims the joy and praise to God through sufferings that WILL face the life of every true believer. David is proclaiming that through present and future sufferings that God will be our refuge. During these sufferings God, “will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever,” (11) (NLT).
What would your response be in a life threatening situation such as David’s? Better yet, what would your response be in a trivial difficulty in comparison? Would it be to complain? Murmur? Point the finger at God? What is David’s response? Unashamed praise to God! I will end with David’s words in verse Psalm 16:9, “… No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice,” (NLT).