Monday, February 14, 2022

No Fear of Death (Psalm 16)

"For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10).

No doubt David faced death many times. As battles raged around him and plots mounted to overthrow him, he knew well how fleeting life truly is. Yet through it all he maintained a steadfast confidence in the Lord. Anxiety and fear did not plague him, even though he had moments of uncertainty when God seemed distant. Throughout his life he continued to set the grace of God before him and by doing so gained strength to face the adversity of each day. In Psalm 16 David does not appear to be harrowed by any trial in particular but takes the time to lift his praises to God for His faithful protection. He recognizes that God’s protection does not only encompass this life; it extends beyond the grave.

While the world cowers at death’s door, David expresses how the saint confidently faces this ominous foe because God has provided a way of salvation. Even though all of Adam’s progeny must die, those who are in Christ will not remain under this bondage of corruption. Peter concludes in Acts 2:30 that David could not have gloried in eternal life as expressed in this psalm had he not received the spirit of prophecy, revealing Christ’s glorious eternal salvation to him. This assurance is rooted in Christ alone, who rose from the dead and obtained immortality not for Himself individually but for all His people.

David’s prophecy that God would not abandon him to the grave nor “allow Your Holy One see corruption” was fulfilled in Christ. He was wholly and perfectly exempted from the dominion of the grave that He might call His people into His fellowship and make them partakers of eternal life. Our union with Christ allows us to share in His resurrection and dwell with the Lord forever. Because of the work of Christ, God’s people need not fear death. Physical death is but a doorway into the very presence of God.

David anticipates the joy this will bring when he says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy.” In looking forward to the reward we have in Christ and the reconciliation we have with God, Calvin reminds us that David “testifies that true and solid joy in which the minds of men may rest will never be found anywhere else but in God.”

Read Hebrews 2:13–15. What did Christ do to vanquish death? What does this mean for believers? Unbelievers? If we have faith in Christ, what should our attitude toward death be? Seek to maintain that attitude more consistently this week.