Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. – Psalm 16:9-10 ESV
The quarantine stretches on, and things seem to be getting worse, not better. More people are getting sick and dying, not less. More bills are coming in, and some of them going unpaid, or paid out of savings, and they aren’t going to stop. There is less time spent with the people we love, because we want to protect them. And there is no clear timeline for when things will change back to normal.
These are real problems, and no one needs to pretend they aren’t. There isn’t much with the way things are to make us hopeful, much less cheerful, even though there are always some who will find the silver lining.
One of the amazing things about the Christian faith is it offers true, solid hope that gives real happiness and security we can enjoy today. Even though it has no guarantees about improving our circumstances, it is thoroughly grounded in reality.
That’s what David is talking about in Psalm 16 — solid hope, real happiness and security, and all because of something God has actually done in history.
The Apostles help explain. In the sermon Paul gives in Antioch, recorded in Acts 13, he says this:
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”
Paul shows us that in the Psalm David isn’t talking about himself, because he died and his body eventually decayed. He’s prophesying about Jesus, who died a public death, was buried, and then rose from the grave. Jesus appeared to more than 500 eyewitnesses, and His resurrection convinced fiercely monotheistic Jews to begin worshipping a man as God.
The empty tomb is a historical event that is difficult to explain by anything but resurrection. What David wrote about a thousand years before Jesus became true. And it’s the reason why David is so sure that he is secure, that he won’t be abandoned to Sheol, and why he has so much joy.
“This too shall pass.” That’s what we like to say about every troubling thing, from wars and disasters to disease, and it’s true. But one of the reasons we are troubled in the first place is because they remind us that eventually, we will pass, and our bodies will decay.
In Jesus, we see God saying about death itself, “This too shall pass.” In Revelation Jesus tells us He is the end. Sickness, suffering, and death are not the end. In Jesus, the end is an eternity of love, joy, and peace. I hope you are able to rest in what Jesus has done today, like David, knowing that your eternity is secure, and letting that fill you with joy.