AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH October 18th.,  2009








David seeks preservation through the power of God: it is not that HE David, WILL survive, but that as a creation and redeemed soul of God, he seeks that God preserve him, keep him for what He made him.

How different the tone, how realistic the appeal, how un-gross after all the nations and rulers of lands increasingly exhibiting themselves as seekers of power, privilege and rule, with morals that are as clear as tar, leading nations where very often they want to go, or worse yet, where the rulers find it best to take them! "My goodness," David muses, "is nothing apart from You."

He is under no illusions. True, his principles could not be brighter, for they come from God. Equally true, he has from his youth sought to serve God, even if at times he erred profoundly; and he has taken  from God as Father, all the correction and teaching with a ready mind. He has sought for his entire life, to be present with God, and past all corruption of mind or soul or body, to rest  at last in Him, so that "when I awake I shall be satisfied in Your likeness." This could be rendered,  "satisfied with your likeness", but either way, it means that David looks by faith to be so structured and sustained in heaven, that he will be able to recognise God and be in a form enabling inter-relations, that of worshipper and worshipped, a man before his God, translated into eternal form.

I John 3 has just this message, that when He comes for us, we shall like Him, who by that time, has both come to earth as man and been resurrected after vicariously bearing death. How can we then "know Him as He is", as John affirms ? It is, John declares, because we shall be like Him who (as in I John 1:1-4), staggeringly Himself took on the format of man to break the deformations of man, not in reformation but in pardon, regeneration and then, as for Himself, resurrection of the body.  



But, you may say, is this not going a bit far  ? After all, you may wish to urge, what did David even know of the incarnation, far less crucifixion of the Messiah, and far less still of His resurrection! This is incorrect; for In fact (Psalm 2), David knew well of the coming incarnation as in Psalm 45, 110 and 2, where the Lord's  Messiah is seen as the One in whom man MUST TRUST, who would put down the infidelities of man and rule, even One addressed as GOD! In Psalm 22, another of the Psalms of David, we see the crucifixion with a detail not only adequate, but chilling, uninhibited, excruciating with various attendant events, such as the drawing lots to take His garments.

In Psalm 16, our present focus, we see this time, not the arrival from heaven, not the murder by man of the Messiah, but His resurrection. It is not on his own goodness that David is basing his relationship to this glory and triumph of God through the Saviour, and there is NONE BUT GOD who is the Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11). My goodness is nothing apart from You! he not only admits, but this he acknowledges with worshipful awe (cf. Psalm 71:15-16). It is to the saints on earth that his own relationships come, for he sees in himself no exaltation whatever (as with Paul, Romans 7:18, where he declares "in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing"). ONLY the presence, empowering and protection of God makes him act as a saint, and the work is from the goodness of that God to whom he seeks.

How grievous therefore is the life of those who seek another  god, mere masquerading by people who do not know their way around the prism that is man's soul, and become prisoners of their own delusions! (16:4).

David then thrills to the recollection that it is God who is the author of his life, provider of his mission and meaning, to whom alone he makes sacrifices. He rejoices that it is God that despite his own inadequacies, he has taken with joy, and who has taken him in covenant. How good is his inheritance; for in this life is test, and with God it is assured in result, so that "I have a good inheritance". Based like Paul, on the Messiah as in Psalm 2, 23, 40,45, 49, 72, 110, his assurance is like that of the apostle who declared: "In Him we have obtained an inheritance"  (Ephesians 1:11).

As he rejoices in the presence of the Lord, David realises how much understanding God has given him, what a marvel it is that he, a mere man, should be present in the counsel of the everlasting God, who has instructed his heart with wisdom and allied him by grace through faith, to truth (v. 7).

Not only so, but just as the wisdom and understanding that fixes his heart with a profound and delightful admiration, adoration and  felicity on the Lord was given, so it becomes in him a well of water  springing up, both plenteous and bubbling, again, in line with the New Testament, where Christ told the Samaritan  woman, "He whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; but the water  that I shall give him will become in him  a fountain of water springing up into eternal life."

It is one of my joys that the Bible always provides the precision and beauty combined, so that it fits as do the petals of a flower, a dahlia, in a marvellous concentricity and felicity. Thus, in the Greek, Christ does not say this, "Whoever drinks and keeps on drinking" but whoever on an occasion drinks of this will not thirst again. (The tense is aorist, not present.) The contrast with the woman is obvious, intentional and dramatic. She comes and gets her little bit of water, but if anyone should come to Christ and drink of the water that He gives, then the laborious littleness of these daily journeys is no more the condition for having water. To the contrary even more specifically, the water so received will become an internal spring, and it will even go on in its abundance into eternal life! The 'little' will become not only much, but attached to a fountain, part of its exuberance, and this eternally!

Thus the grammar and the situation alike make the unified picture, just as in John 10:9 (again the aorist tense), where it is not the one who keeps on entering the door who is saved (though he may go in and out and find pasture), but as far as status is concerned, it is far otherwise. Anyone who once enters is always Christ's (John 10:27-28). Once you enter by Him, you are His responsibility, HE looks after you and in His sight you, as now accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), engraced by the kindness of His face and the acknowledgement of His heart, have already your inheritance assured (Ephesians 1:11), sitting indeed in "heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:5-6).  



In fact, Paul is utterly parallel to David: the former after the physical resurrection of Christ, with the one who foresaw it and much more! I do not wish to be stripped naked, said Paul but overcoated with the body kept eternal in the heavens (II Corinthians 5). What ignores this is another religion, so that when the PC in New Zealand made their Resurrection Statement of 1966, they ceased to be a Christian Church, denying the central affirmation of a central apostle on a central occasion (the formal birthday of the Christian Church), as I told them in Assembly. Other churches had done similar things, the PC of Australia before that making hideous assaults on the Bible, which occasioned my leaving the denomination, as I had next to leave the PC of NZ, to join a Reformed Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1967. This alas after some 15 years was swallowed up without residue by a declining Church

Truth is becoming more and more limited in the larger denominations as foretold (II Thessalonians 2), but it was not hard to find in David. YOU WILL NOT LET MY BODY ROT! such was his faith, and according to this biblical faith, so it has been, is and will be. Peter in speaking at Pentecost was highly specific here. Citing the Psalmist, he spoke frankly: the body of David is gone, buried, but in this Psalm he spoke of the body of Christ, that IT WOULD NOT ROT. THIS, said Peter, is what has happened, and this was the proclamation. Christ's soul, said Peter, it was this that David declared would not be left in hell, and His body, he proceeded, it was this that would not be allowed to rot. THIS he declared for one and all and to one and all:  so establishing the Church and what leaves it is confounded, in the end worshipping another Jesus and having another Gospel which is no Gospel at all (Galatians 1, II Corinthians 11).

Now to return to David, we read this: "My heart instructs me in the night seasons." As he ponders in his heart, he sees this truth, that "I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." He will not totter, lurch and fall. Even when he committed the sheer folly at ONE part of his life, and his being was subjected to a torrent of grief and shame, guilt and horror, yet (as in Psalm 51), God forgave the iniquity of his sin; and indeed taught him in many ways the meaning of such lurches, so building character in David as Paul shows more generally in Romans 5:1-5.

Indeed, David is moved spiritually to rejoice, there is a stirring of praise in him towards this most blessed and faithful, caring and preparing God. This exalted awareness is moved by the Lord to the conclusion to which Psalm 22 later comes. That ? As the Messiah of that Psalm is marred, mocked, derided, murdered by degrees, and suffering is tormented by man, yet we find in that same song that He arises from death and speaks to the brethren in glorious victory (Psalm 22:21-31), just as in fact happened with that Messiah, Jesus Christ, who after His resurrection spoke on that same Sunday to the disciples, as on the next with Thomas and indeed over forty days.

David is not emoting. He is a practical  man who had slain in youth, both lion and bear, while looking after his flock. He is not being mystical but historical. "My flesh shall rest in hope." He already knew more than did the PC of New Zealand in 1966, when one had the opportunity and avenue of access to TELL them that their Resurrection  Statement, which ignored the necessity of the bodily arising of Christ, was a foolish farce, a fiasco, a nonsense of un-faith, a fraud, addressing them  both orally, and in writing by formal  arrangement and privilege, after the Assembly, in writing to them.

David, filled with praise and feeling, zest and delight, is NOT at all beguiled into thinking thoughts of dream, as did the prophets in the day of Jeremiah, who declared this (23:28ff.): the prophet who had a dream, let him  tell it, and the prophet that had the word of the Lord, let HIM TELL THAT! After all, said Jeremiah, what is the chaff to the wheat! It is the word of God that breaks rock. It also created the universe,  formed man, founded the Church of Jesus Christ, and built it on Him as foundation, arisen from the dead; for as David in Psalm 16 goes on to tell us, there is a work of the Messiah which will bring His saints into its glory.

What is that work ? We find its basis in Psalm 16:9-10. His FLESH is going to rest in hope. It is no matter of being reposed with dignity, impounded as propounded, a memory in a spot of earth. No, it is simple, practical and profound: "MY FLESH SHALL REST IN HOPE."

Why is there this rest of his flesh in hope ? It is because David has certain knowledge that his soul will not be left in hell (destiny of the unsaved wicked as in Psalm 9). There is no fiery future or flaming tribulation to come for him; for HOPE is allied to rest. But why is this so ? It is because God simply will not ALLOW his flesh to rot ('see corruption'); but instead, He will show to him the path of life, what life has been all about, its destiny as designed, its culmination where glory dwells. Indeed, David adds, "in Your presence is fulness of joy", so that there is not mere resurrection, magnificent as this is, but this to LIFE with the intense benediction that is the consummation of the fellowship on this earth. To come is an eternal life together with the Lord that has its own beauty of holiness, joy of communion for ever. Resurrection is a confirmation, channel, testimony to power, truth and perpetuity of knowledge in the Most High.

Theology ? It is simply finding out what God has to say and presenting exposition of it. It is false when it turns from it, true when it keeps to it, neither crimping nor cramping the divine words, nor contradicting nor innovating with the words of flesh, as did those false prophets excoriated through Jeremiah (23).  These were like those false religionists so treated by Christ with some of the most scorchingly just rhetoric of all time (Matthew 23, Luke 11). The Church, said Paul (Ephesians 2), has been built on the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ the cornerstone; and again in I Corinthians 3:11, it is He who is the foundation, and He does not change while the apostles in their true teaching remain as 12 pillars (Revelation 21:14).

The work has been done, foundation immutable, structure immovable. HE does not change (Heb. 13:8), nor does the Gospel (that already preached by Paul, as in Gal. 1:8-9, unchangeable even by him! incorruptible, irreformable, unmalleable, irreducible, eternal). Just as the Gospel is such, so is the grace and the glory of God which imparts everlasting life as in I Peter 1:3-8, where he speaks precisely with that adoring delight that is found also in Psalm 16, in the heart of David. Indeed, compare this by that same Spirit that worked in David (I Peter 1:10ff.), “the Spirit of Christ,” as found in I Peter 1:3ff..

Compare this from Peter, by that same Spirit that worked in David (I Peter 1:10ff.), “the Spirit of Christ, ”as found in I Peter 1:3ff..

 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to

an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled

and that does not fade away,

reserved in heaven for you,

who are kept by the power of God

through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. {Cf. Romans 23.}

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while,
if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
that the genuineness of your faith,
being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
whom having not seen you love.

"Though now you do not see Him,
yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

"Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully,
who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them
was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ
and the glories that would follow.

"To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us
they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you
through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven - things which angels desire to look into."

There is no difference; for what the one was shown in prediction (David), the other rejoices to find in practice (Peter); and what the one finds in spiritual communion through faith, granting foreknowledge of the wonders of the Messiah, the other has found in His practical demonstration, and this, not only in the life of Jesus, but in the death prescribed for man's salvation, His resurrection as testimony of truth and evidence of the power of the deity and the intentions of His heart.

For millenia, God foretold; for millenia now the point has been finished, "It is finished!" said Christ.

Now the return of this same Jesus (Acts 1:7ff.) draws near as has been outlined in SMR  Chs.  8 -9 .  Now we can rejoice both with David and Paul by that same Spirit, in a Lord vicarious in love, victorious in power, virtuous in disposition, invigorating in thrust, inviolable in life ("I am He who was dead and behold, I am alive for evermore" - Revelation 1:18. It is to HIM that the keys to hell and death are given, and in Him is the key to life, and to NO OTHER MASTER is man permitted to give spiritual obeisance (Matthew 23:8-10), nor is there any like this triune God in heaven or on earth (Psalm 89), who has given Himself that through the blood of Christ all, all in heaven and in earth might be reconciled.

This world is irreconcilable; but many in it have come, do come and will come to Him who came to us, that He might bring us back to God. Rejoice with us, for here is the key to life, the door through which to enter, the delight in whom to dwell, our God and Creator, made near through the blood of Jesus Christ, offered to  all, covering all who come to Him (I John 2:1-2, Romans 8:32ff., Isaiah 53:3-6), imparting life by His Spirit according to His Gospel (Titus 3:3-7), that does not age, eternal, vernal. Nestling in the beauty of His love, propounded in the fires of judgment, it is not lightly taken (Luke 14:27ff.), but eternally effectual for all who by faith freely receive Him. Here is the path where glory dwells.