1 Protect me, God, for I take refuge in you. 2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides you.” 3 As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones. All my delight is in them. 4 The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips. 5 Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing; you hold my future. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 7 I will bless the Lord who counsels me—even at night when my thoughts trouble me. 8 I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely. 10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay. 11 You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures. — Psalm 16
In Your Presence There is Abundant Joy
by Marlin Keel
“But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.”
The closing line of Ernest Thayer’s poem “Casey at the Bat” succinctly chronicles the somber mood of the Mudville faithful, for their hero and final hope for victory had failed. Casey struck out with the tying runs in scoring position.
No joy. Each person left the stadium with the weight of defeat on their shoulders. Not only was this a loss for the Mudville nine, it was also a personal loss for each fan in the stands. Casey was supposed to win the game for them.
We can read the poem and think how foolish the fans were to put their total faith and happiness in Casey’s performance. But in reality, maybe you and I have found ourselves sitting in the Mudville stands, hoping that some Casey would come through for us, making things better for us and giving us joy. All too often, I have hoped that ‘things will be better’ with the new group of friends, the new job, the raise in pay, the new car, the new house, or the ‘new’ whatever. And then reality sets in, and I realize that my Casey also struck out. The joy was temporary. I had worked too hard to collect for myself “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 5:19).
Like us, David found himself making choices that would cost him dearly throughout the remainder of his life. Lust grew into an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, which then manifested itself in the planned murder of Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11). No joy for David.
Due to the bold intervention from his friend Nathan, David was brought to a full recognition and confession of his sins before the Lord. “I have sinned against the Lord,” David says to Nathan in 2 Samuel 12: 13. Confession was David’s first step toward healing and redemption.
David’s walk with the Lord is evident throughout Psalm 16. David writes about the results of a fully repentant heart: the realized forgiveness from God and the glorious and eternal benefits of putting his faith, trust and security in the Lord. The terms David uses throughout this Psalm reflect the dimensional depth of David’s relationship with the Lord—a primary example being in verse 2, where David writes: “I said to Yahweh, ‘You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.’”
In his walk with the Lord, David could boldly profess in Psalm 16:
Lord, you are my portion
and my cup of blessing;
You hold my future…
I have a beautiful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord
Who counsels me…
I keep the Lord in mind always.
Because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
My heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body rests securely
You reveal the path of life to me;
In Your presence is abundant joy.
You and I can make the same bold statements David made in this Psalm. We can—if we know Jesus by confessing and repenting of our sins and asking Jesus Christ to become the Lord of our life. It is all about our daily walk and relationship with Him. With Jesus, and only with Jesus, can we find abundant and eternal joy.
- Consider the statement David makes in Psalm 16: 2, “Yahweh, you are my Lord.” Are you able to confidently and boldly make this statement to Jesus today? If not, now is the time to begin your walk with the Lord.
- Prayerfully confess your sins before Christ and ask for His forgiveness. The Lord is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins.
- Follow in Believer’s Baptism to make known to all that the old self is dead and you are now raised to walk in a newness of life with Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-6).
Marlin was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and his family moved to the Nashville area when he was very young. He attended public schools in Nashville. He received his BSCE in 1969 and an MS in 1972 from Vanderbilt University. He is currently retired from active practice as a Professional Engineer and Register Land Surveyor in Tennessee. Marlin has been married to Donna L. Keel for almost 48 years. They have two children, Daniel Keel (his wife is Traci) and Karen Campbell (her husband is David). They are also "Pop" and "Dee" to six grandchildren. His life verse is Romans 12:1-2, and he has taught Bible study groups at various age levels for over 40 years.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.