Psalms 16:1, “Michtam of David. Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”
We live in a world that is temporary, where things change and are unpredictable. Oddly enough human nature tends to be the very opposite of this. People tend to not like change. And people tend to not like things to be unpredictable and uncertain. And people also like things to last. Why are men this way when the world we live in is not this way? Because of sin. It is sin that has made the world this way. But the desire for something lasting, and unchanging and certain, something eternal, comes from God. The Word “preserve” is used 468 times in the Old Testament alone. This word actually has the idea of a shepherd watching over His flock, a watchman, a keeper.
The teaching of preservation in the Bible is very important. It applies both to God’s Word and to His Children. Those that trust in God He will preserve. Jesus said in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
Once you have turned from your sins and turned to Jesus for salvation, you are saved. You are saved not by anything you have done, but you are saved by the work of Christ when He died on the Cross. Therefore, you cannot lose your salvation. You cannot be plucked from Jesus’ hand or from the Father’s hand. There is no lie, there is no sin on your part, and there is nothing that can change this.
In a world where things are so temporary and uncertain, how do we know this is true: because the Bible says so. The Bible itself is God’s Word. We know that God always keeps His promises and God’s Word is also preserved. Jesus said in Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Psalms 12:6-7 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.”
What are the worst lies that you can possibly say to another human being? Why, the same thing the devil said to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, “...hath God said,” (Genesis 3:1). You can be certain that over your lifetime you will hear again and again: that there are errors in the Bible, that God has not preserved His Word. The primary reason for such a lie is so that then what can be said is that you can lose your salvation. If there are errors in the Bible, if God’s Word is not preserved, wouldn’t the same apply to salvation? Both, after all, are things we understand based on the promises of God, the things He has said. And thirdly, if you can lose your salvation, then why get saved at all? There is, after all, so much to suffer, so much to give up, if you follow Christ. Is the teaching of preservation important? Yes, it is. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Is the teaching of preservation true? Yes, it is. Not only do we know this because of God’s Word, but we also know it is true because the Spirit itself teaches us.
Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” If you ever have doubts about your salvation or about God’s Word, there are two places you can go to quench those doubts and to find answers for any questions that you might have: The Word of God, and The Spirit of God. The best way to know God’s Word for yourself is to read it. And the best way to be connected to the Spirit of God is to pray. Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Is God going to preserve those that trust in Him? Yes, He is. This is the reason it is so important you keep your sins confessed. Unconfessed sin will quench the Spirit in you and it will also put cracks in your foundation. That is why those who maintain a strong faith are those who keep their sins confessed. First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is God who does the preserving; the lies of men and the lies of the devil cannot change that.
Psalms 16:2 says, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.”
If anything, the word “preservation” reminds us of the faithfulness of God. If only men were even just a shadow as faithful as God what a difference that would make. In Psalms 14 we read about how terrible it is when those who begin to serve God stop. It causes great damage to begin a work for God or to begin a testimony and then to not finish it.
Perhaps that is why Paul said in Second Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Paul didn’t say he stopped failing. But he said he didn’t quit. He continued to serve Jesus and to trust in Him until the end of His life.
Here in Psalms 16 a very serious warning is given to those who have come to Jesus. It is not just about the damage that you will do if you stop following Christ but it is also about what you will suffer. This seems ironic, does it not? There are things to suffer if you follow Christ. But if you start following Christ and then stop, you just might suffer even more. It clearly says here in Psalms 16:3-4, “To the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god.” The best example of this in the Bible is the nation of Israel. What happened to the nation of Israel when they turned from the true living God and turned to idols? Other nations conquered them. When a country that is ruled by power-hungry and hateful men conquers another country, the cruelty and the suffering that is brought about to the people who are conquered is unspeakable. These things would have never happened to the children of Israel if they had not turned from God.
The Bible emphasizes over and over that God is a shield to those that trust in Him. If you stop using your shield, what is going to happen? Perhaps the direst warning for Christians is found not in the Old Testament but in the New Testament. Speaking of unconfessed sin and unrepentant Christians, First Corinthians 11:30 says, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” This should be no surprise. After all, the end of sin is death. It is always best to repent of your sins. The truth is that it is never too late to repent.
Lastly notice the phrase, “that hasten after another god.” Either God is your God or something else is. The word “hasten” means suddenly, quickly, headlong. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Now put these two ideas together, hasten and narrow. If the road is narrow, then it only takes one step off the path and you are suddenly, quickly, and headlong hastening the wrong direction. The truth is there is no such thing as slowly drifting away from fellowship with the LORD. You are either holding hands with Jesus, or you are not. The road is narrow, the heart is deceitful, and at any moment you could take a hasty step off the path. This is why it is so important to remember First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightouesness.” If, when you take your first step off the narrow way, you quickly and just as hastily step back, it is much better for you than if you wait till you have wandered far off. There is always less danger if you follow the road on your travels, than if you wander off the road into the wilderness.
There are many things a child of God will suffer who hastens after another god. Keep in mind this passage is a warning to believers rather than non-believers. Those who don’t know Jesus suffer too when they do wrong. But those who know Jesus in some ways suffer more. The reason is explained in verse 3 in the phrase, “In whom is all my delight.” Turn away from Christ after having come to Him and your sorrows will be multiplied because the Spirit of God now dwells inside of you. This is one reason that sometimes Christians who have stopped following the Lord can be worse people than the non-believers because they have the Spirit of God inside of them, grieving, and vexing them. They have the Spirit of God inside of them saying, “my goodness extendeth not to thee.” It almost doesn’t even make sense that a person would stop following Christ after coming to find forgiveness of sins simply because of the sorrows that shall be multiplied upon them, but it does happen.
Psalms 16:5-6 “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
One of the best ways to avoid hastening after another god is to follow what Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” The key word in this verse is the word inheritance. An inheritance is something that you are given as a result of a family member passing away. When you turn to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, you receive an inheritance from Jesus because Jesus died for your sins. The inheritance that you will receive as a child of God is important to think about because it is something that will help you not to hasten after other gods.
Let’s look at some phrases in the New Testament that bring out some of the details of what is the portion of the inheritance. First Peter 3:7 says, “heirs of the grace of life.” James 2:5 says, “heirs of the kingdom.” Hebrews 6:17, “heirs of the promise of the immutability of His council.” Hebrews 1:14, “heirs of salvation.” First Peter 1:4 says, “To an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that faded not away, reserved in heaven for you.”
There is a lot to be gained by turning from your sins and turning to Jesus. Sometimes people hasten after other gods after salvation because they have become blind and cannot see afar off. They have forgotten not just the great rewards that can be earned for serving Jesus, but they have also forgotten the great inheritance that already is promised to them. Even if there were no rewards for suffering in this life and following Christ, it would be worth doing, because of the inheritance that awaits. Rewards and inheritance are not the same thing. A reward is something that you earn. But an inheritance is something that you are already guaranteed to receive.
Ephesians 1:11-14, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
The best way to understand and get not just a glimpse but a taste of the actual inheritance which is given to us who know Christ is through the Spirit of God. In Ephesians 1:14 the Spirit of God is called, “The earnest of our inheritance.”
What will it be like in that day when the child of God receives all those wonderful things promised in the Bible, a new body incorruptible and untainted by sin, a new heaven and a new earth, a new name, a closer fellowship with Christ than is possible in this life? If you are saved, then you should already know what it will be like to receive this inheritance, because you have the earnest of the Spirit inside you. The more that you are filled with the Spirit, the more you will understand the wonders of the inheritance that awaits.
Most importantly regarding the inheritance notice that Psalms 16:5 says, “The LORD is the portion.” Deuteronomy 32:9 says, “For the LORD’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” To Jesus the greatest thing that He has gained from dying on the Cross and paying the penalty for the souls of men; is their souls. The souls of men are His inheritance. And for men it is just the opposite. Jesus is our inheritance. After all, what could be greater than to gain the eternal friendship of the Christ? If you know Christ, truly know Him, intimately not just as a Savior, but also a master, a shepherd, a counselor, a comforter, and a friend, then why would you ever hasten after another God? The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance.
There is one other very important truth mentioned in verse 6 and it is found in the word “lines.” A line is a boundary. This word can also be translated “snare,” or “to be made sorry.” There are some lines that should never be crossed. Psalms chapter 16 makes it very clear what lines those are. If you cross the lines that you should not cross, you will fall into a snare and you will be sorry. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance. That’s it. Those are the lines, those are the boundaries. Once you cross that line, once your expectation, your hope for anything else out of this life becomes more than that, you may very well hasten away after other gods. Think again of what Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” We love Him because He first loved us. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Copyright; 2012 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved