It's been said that Psalm 16 is a psalm of lament. Yet by the time we finish reading it we can also come to a conclusion that it is a celebratory psalm. Just notice the ending of this psalm, "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
"The path of life" - everyone's talking about how to find it. Books in Walmart are filled with such title. "Joy in your presence" - in a world so dysfunctional and empty joy is the one missing ingredient. "Eternal pleasures at Your right hand" - while earthly goods only offer temporary pleasure God-derived pleasure offers a better alternative, a more lasting fulfillment in the pursuit of His will. Who would not want any of these?
Psalm 16 also echoes Psalm 14's assertion that there is no one who does good. It states, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." This is why we teach that goodness in and of ourselves alone is never enough to earn our ticket to heaven. We need someone outside of us to redeem us from the sin nature passed down on us. This is where a Savior needs to come in to save us - a Savior who once proclaimed through unequivocal terms, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). And this Savior's name is Jesus.
Psalm 16 also contains an admonition, "Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more." King Solomon, touted to be the wisest person who ever lived, knows this principle all too well. He pursued various gods in his lifetime - wealth, fame, education, sex and pleasure. He held nothing back and got everything he desired. When he assessed all that he had done and achieved in life, he astonishingly concluded that apart from God everything is but an absolute futility, like chasing after the wind.
The things that truly matter most in life are few and far between. Faith in a a living and sovereign God is foremost of them. As the psalmist David looks up to this God and affirms His mighty presence he begins to worship, "I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me."
While this psalm is considered a Messianic psalm which is ascribed to the suffering Jesus prophetically, we can say with David, "You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave." In God, death loses its sting. Make God your refuge and He will keep you safe and secure - not from trouble but in spite of or in the midst of it all (Psalm 16:1).