Easter Sunday - The Path of Life

Introduction

            He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  The two men on the road to Emmaus had walked with Jesus and their hearts were burning within them.  It was only after they broke bread with Jesus that their eyes were opened to recognize Jesus.  They immediately sought out the eleven disciples of Jesus and stated - “It is true!  The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34).  Here we are some two thousand years later with the same message.  It is true…  The Lord has risen… The Lord has appeared…  Hallelujah…

Psalm 16

            This morning I want us to look at Psalm 16 for our Scripture passage.  You may wonder why this passage of Scripture for Easter Sunday?  We will see that there are key verses that relate to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Both Peter and Paul quote from Psalm 16, relating to Christ and the feelings of his human side, also Jesus’ sufferings and his death on the cross, including Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension exaltation at the right hand of God.

·      Peters quotes Psalm 16 in Acts 2:25-28 – David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

·      Paul states in Act 13:35 – “So it is stated elsewhere: You will not let your Holy One see decay.”

           

King David wrote this song celebrating the joy and fellowship that comes from faith in the Lord.  The psalm may have been written when he faced great danger in the wilderness from King Saul or during some opposition in his reign.  What circumstances David was encountering, no one knows for sure.  However, he was convinced that because he had come to know and trust the Lord as his Path in Life, he could also trust Him in the face of death. 

Psalm 16:1-8 – The Blessings of God

            In these verses we see God as the source of life.  Great blessings are gained by trusting in God and choosing to serve him.  David begins the Psalm by asking for protection and safety because of certain life-threatening circumstances.  “Keep me safe, O God, for I take refuge in you” – verse 1. At certain points in our own lives, we need to run for dear life to God and find our haven of rest, from all that goes on around our lives. 

            In verses 2-4, David expresses his contentment in knowing God but also contrasts God’s people with those follow after other gods. 

·      I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  Without God in our lives nothing makes sense.  No God – No Peace… Know God – Know Peace…

Firstly, this reminds us that we need to stay connected with God; like abiding in the vine (John 15).  Secondly, goodness is a by-product of knowing God…

·      3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.  4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.  Based on David’s commitment to the Lord, he now describes his company of friends.  “The glorious ones” (noble, excellent, mighty, famous, gallant) – what a great way to be named of God in the Scriptures; saints -> glorious ones -> all my delight…  This is contrasted by those who goes shopping after other gods and offer their own bloody sacrifices.  David says he will have nothing to do with them.

 

In verses 5-6, David speaks of his gratitude to the Lord.  There is great contentment when one discovers their place in God.  What joy there is in knowing our inheritance, our hope and future, is all taken care of… 

·      5 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely, I have a delightful inheritance.

 

Verse 7-9 - As a result of God’s provision, David now praises the Lord for God’s counsel at night (as well as in the daytime) and for his guidance.  We are told in the Scriptures that it is good to praise the Lord (Psalm 18:1; 33:1; Psalm 145:3; 147:1).  In fact, this is the first of about two dozen times in the Psalms where praise and blessing is directed towards God.

·      7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

·      THEREFRORE my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure…  In other words, because of all that God has done for David, he is happy from the inside out and from the outside in.  His body, his life is completely at rest.

 

 Psalm 16:10-11 – The Path of Life

            This now brings us to the verses relating to Jesus’ death and resurrection.  David is speaking of his personal circumstances while prophetically speaking of the Holy One in the distant future.  David was confident that the Lord would protect his life in the face of death.  He took comfort in the fact that God would not, at that time, allow David to suffer death and the grave.  In fact, God had caused him to know the Path of Life, so he anticipated experiencing further joy in God’s presence.

·      because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

These two verses also have a predictive because both Peter and Paul quoted them in the Book of Acts.  So, the words of David are typological, in other words, they were not only his personal experience but became historically true in the future Christ.  Jesus did suffer and die on the cross and was buried in a grave, but through his resurrection Jesus overcame death and the grave. 

The Path of Life for David was simply this – at that time death posed no threat to him because he was so fully enjoying the awesome blessings and fellowship with God.  The Path of Life, prophesied for Jesus, spoke of his resurrection from death and the restoration of eternal pleasures at God’s right hand. 

In conclusion

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!  Jesus told us in John 12:23-24 - “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  On the cross, Jesus – the seed – died.  However, as a result of Jesus’ resurrection – the seed – was given new life and has provided new life for all those who believe in his message.  How does this Passage encourage us?  As followers of Jesus, we have a fuller understanding and revelation about the resurrection of Jesus.  We have the opportunity to experience eternal pleasures now, because of Jesus’ resurrection.  This is the abundant life that is ours in Christ (John 10:10).  As well, we can say that even when we physically die, God will not let death destroy the abundant life, the fulness of our joy and fellowship with God.  This expression of faith is possible because Christ conquered death.

·      “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again” (Luke 24:5-7).

·      “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20).

In application

We are celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection from the grave.  Today is a new day for us.  It is a day for us to remember all that Jesus has done for us, in the same way that David wrote his song to God.  This does not mean that life is easy, because even David was facing death and troubling circumstances.  But we can trust in God to be faithful on our behalf.  To protect us.  To give us an inheritance.   To counsel us.  To guide us.  To give us peace and rest. 

 

            Amen… Let’s pray…