Wednesday of Pentecost 25 – Psalm 16

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being 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.

At first, I had visited her in her home. Now, she was in a nursing home. She was drawing inexorably closer to her death. She knew this. Her doctor had been forthright with her. It would not be long. Her daughter was having a much more difficult time with this than she was. My elderly friend smiled and her eyes twinkled at me from behind her thick lenses. She was always glad to see me.

This week focuses our attention on the last things. It is the end of a liturgical year but also the end of a growing season. The falling leaves and colder weather all tell us that winter is around the corner. Our thoughts are drawn toward endings. The end of the world comes to all of us, either as a corporate event which the Bible speaks about as the second coming of Christ or as a personal event, the day on which you or I draw a last breath.

This psalm gives us a firm expectation in the face of that reality. David’s heart is glad and his whole being rejoices, his flesh dwells secure. God does not abandon us but has made known to us a path of life. Jesus tells us that he is the Way (path), Truth, and Life itself. He sits at God’s right hand and brings us eternal joy. In baptism we came to know Him, and more importantly He knows us.

David prays in the first verse that God preserve him. He preserved my elderly friend. She died not long after my last visit. We grieved losing her, but we also rejoiced with her. Those two emotions are not exclusive. God has kept his promise. Her beautiful inheritance, the pleasant boundary lines, has been given to her. The end of the world means life eternal.

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