Psalm 16:8 has always been a great encouragement to my heart. It hung on my wall in my office for the longest time. It says this…I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
There are times and seasons when I feel pressed. That I feel like I am under fire, or my feet are being held up to the flame. There are seasons when I am walking through a test or trial, and in those moments, I am tempted to be shaken and rattled, and the voice of the Lord through His Word is drowned out by other, mind you, lesser things.
Can you relate this? Are you in a season right now where you feel shaken? A bit stunned by the circumstances around you? Maybe you feel under attack from the devil, or temptation from your own flesh has become really strong in your life? If you can relate to some of that, I believe Psalm 16 can be a great encouragement to you.
David is the writer of this Psalm. And David is being hunted down by Saul. David is feeling pressed, under fire and attacked. And verse 8 is the big idea of this Psalm. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
When I read that, I hear the intentionality of David. That David is continually making this choice to follow the Lord and not himself. That David is not accidently or just happening to follow the Lord, but is doing it with purpose and resolve. And he’s not doing it alone either. You see in verse 3, that he delights in the people of God. So David is not walking this journey alone. He’s alongside others in the family of God, setting the Lord before him.
Have you set the Lord before you? If Jesus is not Lord of your life yet, what is holding you back? And this is not just a one-time thing at salvation when you place your faith and trust in Jesus and repent and believe the Good News. Ultimately, we are to set the Lord before us continually as believers in Christ. Because the reality is Jesus is Lord, whether we set Him before us or not. The question we must ask is, are we humbling ourselves and our hearts, and saying, “Jesus, you are Lord, and I am not. So I want to follow you.”
Practically speaking, are you setting the Lord before you in that relationship? In dating? Before you go to work? Before you walk into school or that class? When you are alone? When you interact with your spouse or children? What about in how you handle money, or how you choose to be entertained? In your speech? In your thoughts?
When something is before us, our eyes are fixed on it. We’re not getting out ahead of it, or next to it, but we’re keeping it in front of us. When we are pressed and tested, we are often tempted to set the trial, the sin, or the obstacle, before us, rather than the Lord. But when we set the Lord before us, it puts everything else into proper perspective. And as a result, it reminds the Christ follower that the Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
When we set the Lord before us, we are reminded of His strength, His power, His ability to overcome, to make new, to reconcile, to heal, to endure. And so we won’t be shaken. We won’t trust in ourselves when tempted. Instead, we’ll trust in Him. David finishes…
Because of that truth, because of who our God, and His nature and character and how it does not change…
9 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.
The truth is that when we set ourselves before us, it will lead to us being shaken. It will lead to the foundation of our lives being shaken because the cornerstone is us instead of Christ.
Not even death can shake the solid foundation we have in Christ. Death can’t take away the inheritance we have in Christ. Death can’t separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord. So what does it look like to intentionally set the Lord before us? Looking at this Psalm, we get a couple ideas…
Prayer. This whole Psalm is David’s prayer. And if you’re wondering, ok what do I pray? Pray Psalm 16. Use its words and pray the Word back to the One who inspired David to write it. Prayer helps us set the Lord before us, and put ourselves behind the Lord.
Community. You and I are not going to set the Lord before us alone or in isolation. Yes, we can pray alone, we can get into the Word alone, but we need others, and they need us. David delighted in God’s people (v. 3). You and I need people in our lives encouraging us and praying for us to set the Lord continually before us.
Crosspoint, may we be a people who continually, moment by moment, in every circle of life, set the Lord before us. And as it did David, may it lead us to deep-rooted gladness, joy, and security in the Lord.