Psalm 16:8
I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Facing GodMarvin Vincent, D. D.Psalm 16:8
God as a Dominant IdeaW. Page Roberts, M. A.Psalm 16:8
God Near and Yet AfarA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
God with Us, and We with GodAlexander MaclarenPsalm 16:8
On Habitual Remembrance of GodT. Gisborne, M. A.Psalm 16:8
Our Great ExampleBaptist W. Noel.Psalm 16:8
Pleasure for EvermoreA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
SteadfastnessA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
The Earthly and Heavenly Forms of Companionship with GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
The Faithful Heart and the Present GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
The Habitual Recognition of GodM. W. Taylor, D. D.Psalm 16:8
The Habitual Thought of GodWilliam Jay.Psalm 16:8
The Practice of the Presence of GodJ. E. Vernon, M. A.Psalm 16:8
The Secret of a Happy LifePsalm 16:8
The Setting of the Lord Before UsT. Chambers, M. A.Psalm 16:8
The Stability of the Good ManA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
The Supreme Choice of the SoulC. Short Psalm 16:8
Things that Intercept the Divine PresenceA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
Thought Must Concentrate Itself Upon GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 16:8
A Good HopeRobert Tuck, B. A.Psalm 16:1-11
Faith in the Presence of GodAlfred Barry, D. D.Psalm 16:1-11
Jehovah, the Believer's Chief GoodTalbot W. Chambers, D. D.Psalm 16:1-11
Life-Long ConvictionsW. Forsyth Psalm 16:1-11
Once Thine, Ever Thine: the Song of a Saint, the Vision of a SeerC. Clemance Psalm 16:1-11
The Divine PreservationJoseph Parker, D. D.Psalm 16:1-11
The Good Man's PleaRobert Rollocks.Psalm 16:1-11
The Plea of Our TrustfulnessA. Thomson, D. D.Psalm 16:1-11
The Portrait of a God-Trusting SoulD. Thomas, D. D.Psalm 16:1-11
The Night Counsels of the LordT. E. Hankinson, M. A.Psalm 16:7-8
The Confidence of the Psalmist's Faith in the FutureC. Short Psalm 16:8-11

The two main ideas of the writer are

(1) a sense of Divine privilege in having God as his chief Good; and

(2) a confiding, hopeful prayer for deliverance from death.

Not, of course, from death altogether; he could not hope to be finally delivered from the grave. The prayer therefore, must have been for deliverance, from impending, danger, from death that was then. threatened at that time, and for being conducted into and preserved in "the path of life." The application which has been made of the ninth and tenth verses to Christ by Peter and Paul has led to a misunderstanding of the original sense. They say that the prayer was fulfilled in Christ, and not in David; that David did see corruption, and that Christ did not. But the best Hebrew scholars say that it is a confident prayer, not to be given over to death, but to be preserved in the way of life. We must understand, of course, death at present; for it could not mean death altogether, nor deliverance from the grave after death. The general subject of these verses, then, is - The confidence of the psalmist's faith in the future, because he had chosen God as his chief Good.

I. THE SENSE OF GOD'S PRESENCE INSPIRES A FEELING OF SAFETY. (Ver. 8.) "Not in the moment of peril only, but at all times has he his eye fixed upon God." "God in David's eyes is no abstraction, but a Person, real, living, and walking at his side," and able to protect him from danger. Have we such a sense of companionship with God? I shall not be moved - neither in character, nor in purpose, nor in work.

II. HE REJOICED IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT GOD WOULD NOT ALLOW HIM TO PERISH. (Vers. 9, 100 "Flesh" here, as always, means the living body - never means a corpse. "Shall rest in hope," equivalent to "shall dwell in safety;" and must be understood of this life. No stress can be laid on the word "leave," which means "give over to." He is expressing the confidence "that God will not leave him to perish, will not give him up to be the prey of the grave, which was the design of his enemies. The lessons for us - that God's time is our time, and that he will not abandon us to our spiritual enemies, but will afford us effectual protection.

III. HE REJOICED THAT GOD WOULD MAKE KNOWN TO HIM THE WAY TO LIFE. (Ver. 11.) Not only preserve him in life, but lead him on to that life whose joy is beholding the Divine face, and partaking of the everlasting pleasures which are at his right hand. The idea of immortality springs out of the sense of his relationship to God; for he could not think that such a relationship could end with death. If we are the sons of God, that is the strongest guarantee that we shall continue to partake of God's life, rich and manifold and everlasting. Christ said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." This passage has its highest fulfilment when applied to the resurrection of Christ. - S.

I have set the Lord always before me.
Convictions are of two kinds. They are born of emergencies and experience. The former are instinctive, springing into life full grown. The latter mature slowly. A ship strikes a rock and begins to sink. The conviction of danger, and of possible destruction, takes shape at once in the minds of all on board. This is the conviction of emergency, But the conviction of a man's worth must come by experience, and must wait long for its maturity. Belief is not conviction, but only its germ. Conviction is faith in fruition, which takes time. The text is the utterance of such conviction, and it is the keynote of the whole Psalm.

I. IT IS OF THE GREATEST IMPORTANCE WHAT THAT IS WHICH IS CONTINUALLY BEFORE US. That which is constantly in a man's eye must help very largely to shape him. I have heard a very significant criticism on a certain picture, to the effect that, though it was a good piece of artistic work, it was not a good picture to live with. You would not wish to have hanging up in your sitting room, and constantly in sight of your children, a picture of Herodias with the head of John the Baptist, or of a crazed mother in the act of murdering her babe. You try to keep pictures of wholesome subjects as well as of beautiful forms before your children's eyes; because you know that they are insensibly educated by familiarity with such things. In an age of few books, men and women learned mostly by the eye. It was not wholly nor mostly idolatry which filled the old churches up with pictures. The visitor to St. Mark's, in Venice, may follow for himself the footsteps of the earlier catechumen; ]passing into the Christian temple through a vestibule of Old Testament history wrought in mosaic pictures, and then reading on the walls and domes within the truths of crucifixion, resurrection, the baptism of the Spirit, and the coming of the Lord to judgment, — all arranged in the order of Christian thought. The peasant who passed over the old wooden bridge over the torrent at Lucerne had daffy before him, in the painted compartments of the bridge, a reminder of that other stream which all must cross sooner or later. Nature sets her mark on character. If her surroundings are gloomy and savage. they impart a sombre tone to the men who live among them: — Men tend to be narrowed or broadened by their daily task. The man who has columns of figures forever before him may easily degenerate into a mere calculating machine. If the thing which is constantly before us is larger and better than ourselves, its hourly presence rebukes our littleness and our badness, and works to assimilate us to itself. If it is worse than ourselves it draws downward. There was philosophy as well as enthusiasm in the apostle's exhortation to run, looking unto Jesus, and in Paul keeping his eye on the prize of his high calling, and reaching forth to that which is before.

II. BUT IT MAY BE ASKED, IS NOT GOD ALWAYS BEFORE US? Can we help its being so? Assuredly. we can. David. does not. say, "The Lord is always," etc.," but, "I have set Him always," etc. His own will and act have had something to do with the matter. He has been at pains to bring God into the foreground, and to keep Him there. Because God is ever manifesting Himself, because every common bush is afire with Him, it does not follow that men recognise the fact. They do not. There is abundance of sweet music, but there are multitudes of people to whom it means no more than the rumble of the carts in the streets.

III. THUS, THEN, GOD WILL NOT BE IN ANY TRUE SENSE BEFORE OUR FACE UNLESS WE SET HIM THERE. It needs special training, determination, and practice. There is a spiritual inertia to be overcome, and a perverse tendency. The bar of steel does not point naturally to the pole, but anywhere. It must be acted on from without, must have magnetic virtue imparted to it. And persistency is needed. I have set the Lord "always" before me. It was not enough that once or twice God was in the line of vision, He was to be kept there. A compass needle would be to a sailor of no more account than a knitting needle, if only by some shock it were made to point northwards. It is the fact of its always pointing there that gives it its value. And it is this fact of persistence which gives value to David's saying. When a man has shut himself up to one thing as the source and strength of his happiness he will find out a great deal about that one thing. Thus did Robinson Crusoe, when he found out that he should have to live on his island. And so is it with men and God.


1. He finds Him self-revealed. In the Shinto temples in Japan the shrines contain no altars, pulpits, or pictures, but only a circular steel mirror. What it means is not known. But it would be an appropriate symbol for a Christian shrine. James draws a picture of a man beholding his natural face in a glass. The man who studies God studies self at the same time.

2. It carries with it a power of growth. For God is ever going before us and beckoning us on. A mountain is a constant temptation to climb, and when we find yet higher summits beyond we want to climb them also. And so is it in learning of God.

3. It engenders hope. Amid the darkness and vagueness of the Old Testament future, this Psalm is like a sweet flute note amid the crash and discord of a vast orchestra. I know of nothing more soothing than these verses. "I shall not be moved"; all is well, "because He is at my right hand."

(Marvin Vincent, D. D.)

Now, the two expressions, "before me" and "in Thy presence," are substantially synonymous and convertible. Notice the other clause. "He is at my right hand." "At Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore." God before my face, and I before God's face; God at my right hand, and I glad at His.

I. IF WE TURN OUR FACES TO GOD HERE HIS FACE WILL SHINE ON US YONDER. "I have set the Lord always before my eyes." "Before Thy face is fulness of joy." The one is the summing up of the devout man's life on earth. What can the other be but the prophecy of the devout man's life in heaven? Observe how for us, here and now, circumstanced and occupied and distracted as we are, that clear consciousness of God's presence will inevitably fade and shatter unless we are careful to preserve it. "I have set the Lord," — that implies a great deal of definite effort, of fixed will, of stem resistance to and rejection of hindrances and things that come between. God's presence cannot be proved. The consciousness of it depends upon our whole nature. It is what people call a moral thing; and it rises and falls like a sensitive thermometer, if a cloud comes between the bulb and the sun. You can crowd Him out of your minds by plunging yourselves fiercely into your daily duties, however sacred and elevated these may be. No more than the sunshine can be flashed back from a tarnished steel mirror, can the consciousness of God's presence live in an impure soul. And the heart must be kept still, flee from agitation, from the storms of passion and the tyranny of eager desires. A cats paw that ruffles the surface of the lake shatters the image; and unless our hearts are quieted from earth they will never mirror heaven. "Walk thou before Me, and be perfect," is at once a commandment and a promise. And they only are wise who answer, "I will walk before the Lord in the land, and the light of the living." As I have already said, this thrilling and continual consciousness of the Divine presence is the surest basis for the expectation of immortal life. It is too precious to die; it is too great and pure and noble to have anything to fear from the accident of corporal death. So we come to consider that higher form of the Divine presence which is suggested by the contrast in my second text. "In Thy presence is fulness of joy." But that presence is not secured by the individual's efforts, but is poured upon him in its effulgence from the throne itself. If I try to keep God in sight here, yonder He reveals Himself in all His greatness. We are not to understand that that future vision which is all expressed in these words of my second text — "before Thee" — consists in any measure which is analogous to the sight of the body. Nor are we, I suppose, to understand that then, any more than now, we are able to comprehend the incomprehensible and infinite. "The face of God" is the Scriptural expression for that side of the Divine nature which is capable of being manifested by Him, and apprehended by us; and Jesus Christ is the face of God. Yonder it is that we shall see Him as He is; and yonder it is the Christ whom, having not seen we "love," and whom seeing we shall see the Father. There will be, as I suppose, new and unimaginable modes of manifestation, about which the less that we say the wiser we are. For if our experience here on earth teaches us anything, it teaches us that the body shuts us off from as much as it brings us into contact with; and that our senses are but like little slits in some grim old fortress, only wide enough to let in the requisite light and air, and that beyond their limits in both directions there are notes of which the vibrations are too numerous, or too few, in a given time to be apprehended by our ears; and rays in the spectrum at either end, which the human eye cannot see. So that, with new modes of manifestation and new capacities of apprehension, we shall draw nearer and nearer to the sun that we beheld here shining through the mists and the clouds. If we, amidst the shows and gauds of time and the crowds of thronging men and the distractions of our daily occupations, steadfastly seek and see the Lord, and have beams coming from Him, as a light shining in a dark place, He will lift us yonder, and turn the whole benediction of the sunlight Of His face upon us, and, saturated with the brightness, we shall walk in the light of His countenance and be amongst the people of the blessed.

II. IF WE KEEP THE LORD AT OUR RIGHT HAND HE WILL SET US AT HIS RIGHT HAND. The emblem of the "right hand" has a double meaning in Scripture, one part of which applies more to our present and the other to our future. When we speak of having at our right hand anyone, we mean as counsellor, companion, strengthener, ally; as fellow fighter, guide, and defender. And it is in that capacity that we have to set the Lord at our right hand. If we have Him by our sides we are never alone. I suppose that the saddest fate for a man is to live solitary. I suppose that we mortal millions live alone after all companionship; like islands in a waste of ocean, with no communications. Ah! How many of us have known what it is for the one that stood at our right hand to vanish, to change. If we live so companioned, counselled, championed, by a God made present, not by His omnipresence but by our consciousness of it, then be sure of this, that the time will come when He who came to earth, as it were, and stood at our right hand, will lift us to the heavens, and plant us at His. I at His right hand. What does that mean? Let me quote you two or three plain words. "The sheep at His right hand; the goats at His left." It means that. It means favour, acceptance in that great day of account. "And he called his name Benjamin: — the son of his right hand." It means that; paternal love, a yearning heart, a longing to pour all a Father's blessing on the child. And it means that the man, thus acquired and taken to the Father's heart, is distinguished and honoured — "grant that these, my two sons, may sit, the one at Thy right hand, the other at Thy left." Nor must we forget that there is still a loftier conception attached to this emblem of "the right hand," which was not within the horizon of the Psalmist, but is within ours. Jesus Christ our Brother has been exalted to that session at God's right hand, which indicates in disturbance, completed work, royalty and power. And He, hath said, "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there ye may be also." So if He is at my right hand, as champion, I shall be at His right hand and share in His dominion.

III. IF WE STAY OURSELVES ON GOD, AMIDST STRUGGLE AND CHANGE HERE, HE WILL GLADDEN US YONDER WITH PERPETUAL JOYS. "Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved." A very humble result to be accomplished by so great a thing as the actual presence of God at a man's side. Only this, that I will be able to keep my place, and stand steadfast. And there is only one thing that will make us steadfast, and that is that we should be, if I might use such a figure, bolted and lashed on to, or rather incorporated into, the changeless steadfastness of the unmoved God. God comes to us here, and is sword and shield; yonder He will be palm and crown. "In Thy presence is fulness of joy." Every faculty and capacity will be satisfied, every yearning met, and nothing left to desire but the continuance which is guaranteed, and the increase as capacity increases, which is as certain. Here there is always something lacking; yonder there is fulness of joy and no satiety. "Pleasures for evermore" — both because there is an uninterrupted succession of such — like the ripples upon a sunlit sea, that all day long come rolling to the beach and break in music and sparkles of light; and because each pleasure is in itself perpetual, seeing that there is no possibility of these delights becoming stale and common. Thus begin with realising the Divine presence. We must begin all this on earth. The seed of heaven is sown in the furrows of this world. Philosophers talk to us about the law of continuity. That applies in regard to the life here and the life hereafter. If you ever are to come into the blessedness of the life yonder, you must begin with the life of faith in Jesus Christ here and now.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Dissipation is the parent of mediocrity. Because there is neither government nor concentration nor dominant idea in men's lives, they never do much, never grow any size. The subject before us is self-government by means of a dominant idea. A dominant idea is an idea which mixes itself with all other ideas, giving them its own colour and character; so that you cannot take out any thought from a mind in which a dominant idea exists and analyse it, but you shall find traces of this one idea. Constantly we meet with men who have one thought by which they explain everything, and they infect us with a dominant feeling that they are very tiresome. Restraining, ruling ideas spring up naturally. The emotions are the first parents of ideas. Primitive man hears a voice rebuking mere animal desire, which says, "Thou shalt not cat of it," and the moment that voice is heard a moral nature has arisen and heaven becomes possible. The great majority of men allow their lives, as they do their beliefs, to go anyhow. They have never formed a distinct opinion as to the shape their life is to take. It is in our power to choose what idea we shall be ruled by, and, having chosen, it is in our power to make the idea a ruling one. We must determine to associate our idea with all our pleasures and labours; to bring it before our mind every day. And what shall be our dominant idea? The idea of God is our birthright. The idea of God stands upon exactly the same ground as all our other intuitions. Clifford says, "Belief in God and in a future life is a source of refined and elevated pleasure to those who can hold it." Here is the idea ready to our hand. The idea is your birthright, but you have to make it dominant.

(W. Page Roberts, M. A.)

God always sees us, whether we think of it or not. It makes no difference as to the fact whether we believe it or not. But it makes all the difference to ourselves. It makes just the difference between a godly man and an ungodly man. The truly religious man is he who has formed the habit of living under the influence of the thought of the presence of God. To set the Lord always before us is the secret of good living, is the true preparation for heaven. This is one reason why regular habits of prayer, of worship, of reading God's Word, of Holy Communion are so helpful and cannot safely be neglected. They are means of drawing near to God, of coming into His presence. If we are doing anything, whether work or amusement, in which we could not bear to think of God, we may be sure that work or amusement is wrong. There is a beautiful custom in some countries. Sacred pictures are placed at intervals by the wayside, among the mountains and woods, in the streets of villages and towns. They are roughly made, badly painted and tinselly, but for all that they are reminders to people of holy thoughts; they are meant to call the mind of the passers-by in the midst of work or amusement to God. And how are we to set Him before us? How are we to think of Him? We may set Him before us in the completeness of His Divine Being — God the Father, the Son, the Spirit. Try to form the habit of setting the Lord always before you; for if He is at your right hand you shall never fall. Always in earnest prayer at the beginning of every day. Always when things go well with you, and in trouble, turning to Him as the one trusted help and refuge.

(J. E. Vernon, M. A.)

This and the following verses are quoted by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost.

1. Those who set the Lord always before them have an habitual impression of His all-seeing eye and immediate presence. David, we know, had this habitual impression. He was aware how highly important to him was this near presence of the Almighty, and what a beneficial, influence it shed over all his prospects.

2. It implies an habitual regard to the Lord's will as the rule of our actions. Faithful Christians must make it their constant study to ascertain what is the will of God respecting themselves, and then set this will before them as the rule of their life. It should not only be a consideration with them, but their chief consideration. Those who make the will of God their rule cannot err. They look at it as sailors to the pole star, in order that they may direct their course thereby.

3. It implies making the Lord's glory the end of all our aims. The glory of the Lord is that one object of surpassing importance which absorbs all other considerations. To set the Lord always before us is to keep this end always in view.

4. It implies making Him the object of our trust and dependence in all circumstances.

1. The practice of setting the Lord always before us is a bright evidence of the sincerity of our faith. Faith is a living and abiding principle, constantly in operation. Faith is that principle within the man which realises and embodies everything which is spiritual.

2. A constant sense of the presence of God is a sure means of counteracting the influence of the fear of man, which bringeth a snare.

3. A sense of the Lord's constant presence would be a spur to our diligence and activity in endeavouring to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. A persuasion that the eye of the Lord is in every place, beholding the evil and the good, would have a wonderful effect in exciting the runners of the Christian race to put forth their utmost powers to strain every nerve, that they may come in first to the goal. Now see a few lights in which you should make it your habit to set the Lord always before you —(1)You are directed to set before yourselves the Lord as your chief good, the highest object of your aims.(2) We are to look upon God, in Christ, as our owner. God possesses a right over us as our Maker and Preserver.(3) We are to set the Lord Jesus before us as a Judge. We should not merely give a general assent to the truth of the judgment which will hereafter take place, and that Christ will occupy the throne then, but we are to consider Him as seated now upon the tribunal, and taking cognisance of all our transactions.

(T. Chambers, M. A.)

There are three things that, taken together, build up for us a very thick triple wall between us and God. There is sense, and all that it reveals to us; there are duties, necessary, possibly blessed, but actually often disturbing and limiting; and the thickest and most opaque of the three screens, there are the sins which dim our capacity, and check our inclination of realising the Divine presence.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

That needs that we shall shut out a great deal besides, as a man that wants to see something on the horizon will hold his palm above his eyes to exclude nearer objects and the glare that dazzles. It needs that we shall resolutely concentrate our thoughts upon Him. We have to be ignorant of a great deal if we would know any of the sciences, or of the practical arts. And we have to shear off not less if we would know the best knowledge, and be experts in the highest art in life.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

There may as well be no God, as far as a great many of us are concerned, in the most important matters of our lives, as a God that we never think about. He is not far from "every one of us"; but we may be very far from Him, and we are very far from Him unless by effort we set Him before us.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The presumptuous man in one of the Psalms speaks thus: In my prosperity I said, I shall not be moved. But when prosperity fled self-confidence fled with it, and at length he learned to say, as he goes on to tell us, "by Thy favour Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong. Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled." Ah! think of the instability of our resolutions, think of the fluctuations of our thoughts, think of the surges of our emotions, think of the changes that by subtle degrees pass over us all, so as that the old man's grey hair and bowed form is less unlike his childish buoyancy and clustering ringlets than are his senile thoughts and memories to his juvenile expectations. And think of the forces that are brought to bear upon us, the shucks of calamity and sorrow by which we are beaten and battered, the blasts of temptation by which we are sometimes all but overthrown, the floods that come and beat upon our house.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

That steadfastness will come to us by the actual communication of strength, and it will come to us because in the consciousness of the Divine presence there lies a charm that takes the glamour out of temptation and the pain out of all wounds. He being with us, the dazzling, treacherous brilliancies of earth cease to dazzle and betray. He being with us, sorrow itself and pain and all the ills that flesh is heir to have little power to shake the soul.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

That presence which amidst strife, warfare, weakness, and mutability manifested itself in its gift of steadfastness will then, amidst the tranquillity of heaven, manifest itself in a joy unlike all earthly joy, in that it is full; and yet more unlike, if I may say so, all earthly joy in that it is perpetual. Here there is ever something lacking in all our gladness, some guest at the table that sulks and will not partake and rejoice, some unlit window in the illumination, some limitation in the gladness; yonder it shall be full. "I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness." Here, thank God! we have brooks by the way; there we shall stoop down and drink from the fountain, the ocean of joy. And the gladness is perpetual, in that, having nothing to do with physical causes or externals, there is no cause of change and no certainty of reaction.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

If we observe the pursuits of men of the world we see how they set their object, be it what it may, always before them. Success cannot be had without this. The same necessity exists in religion. If we would desire any real help now, and promised blessings hereafter, God must be to us ever present. Such piety is attended with God's constant protection and friendship.

I. WHAT IT IS TO SET THE LORD ALWAYS BEFORE US. It is to maintain a supreme and habitual regard for God, according to the relations which He sustains towards us. In the world, if a man has fixed his supreme regard on wealth, though he may often think and talk on other subjects, yet he never forgets this one. Let anything occur that will affect it, and you will always find that his object is before him. Now, it is in the same way that we set the Lord always before us. We shall always regard Him as infinitely perfect — as our Lawgiver and Sovereign; as our Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor; as our Redeemer and Sanctifier; as a covenant God; as our Judge and Rewarder. Now, so to habitually regard God as to secure the practical influence of all these perfections and relations of God upon us is to set the Lord always before us.


1. In the daily business of our life — to keep us diligent, just in our dealings, and honest in all our transactions.

2. In the more unimportant and ordinary occurrences of life — to keep us faithful in life's little things, contented, cheerful, patient, devout.

3. In temptation we shall not be moved. It guards the heart against the world and Satan.

4. In holy obedience we shall be steadfast therein.

5. Preparation for all the scenes of life, for death and heaven. In prosperity he will remember God; in adversity he will trust God; in death he will be without fear; in the judgment day he will have confidence. And we can thus set God always before us. Is it safe or wise ever to forget Him? Do we thus set God always before us? What will they do from whose thoughts God is habitually excluded, when He shall be revealed in the clear light of eternity?

(M. W. Taylor, D. D.)

The terms of this portion of the Psalm show distinctly that it is prophetic of the Messiah.

I. THE FIRST PREDICTION IS THAT CHRIST, WHEN HE SHOULD COME, WOULD "SET JEHOVAH CONTINUALLY BEFORE HIM," i.e. He would live on earth realising by faith the presence of an unseen God, to dwell continually in His sight. Our Lord did this. He said, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me."

II. JEHOVAH WOULD BE AT HIS RIGHT HAND. We find our Lord continually sustaining Himself by the consoling presence of His Father. And all who tread in His steps may share in His consolation.

III. HIS HEART WOULD BE GLAD. How could He be otherwise, when He knew the resources of the Father? Our Lord walked with God on earth, rejoicing in hope of the glory that should be revealed. So also may we, and do we?


1. His death. His death was predicted no less than His triumph. He looked forward to His death, and repeatedly foretold it. And He resolutely met it. Let us ask for grace to enter into His spirit.

2. The limitation of death's dominion. "I have power," said He, "to lay it (My life) down, and I have power to take it again." "I lay it down of Myself." He did as He had said. He took again that dishonoured body, to be dishonoured no more.

V. GOD WOULD GUIDE HIM TO THE PATH OF LIFE. "Thou wilt show Me," etc. The way of the grave did not seem the gate of life, but in reality it was so. Conclusion: He will bring us there. Decide for Him now. Sympathise with Him in His glory.

(Baptist W. Noel.)

David could only do this mentally. "No man hath seen God at any time." And when he says "always" he does not mean that he was always actually thinking of Him. We cannot do this. We are not to be slothful in business. Yet David means that he believed and felt God to be near him, and that he would frequently hold communion with God. This leads to a state of mind in which we can readily recur to God in our thoughts. Let us do this, setting the Lord always before us.

I. AS OUR PROTECTOR. Our religious course is a constant warfare. We need the courage which only the presence of the Lord can impart.



IV. AS CULT OBSERVER. Nothing escapes His notice. A heathen philosopher admonished his disciples to imagine that the eye of some illustrious personage was always upon them. But what is the eye of Plato to that of God? What stimulus this to zeal.

(William Jay.)

Our text directs our thoughts to the greatest of all Beings, the source of all happiness.

I. WHAT IT IS TO SET GOD ALWAYS BEFORE US. Represent to yourself the proceedings of men, who have proposed to themselves as their main pursuit the possession of some worldly attainment. Observe in what manner they set their object, be it what it may, always before their eyes. Contemplate the votary of science. Behold him absorbed in laborious researches: in the investigation of causes and effects; in the construction of theories, and the explanation of the phenomena of nature. Behold him day after day bending all the powers of his mind to the invention and application of mechanism; to the arrangement and superintendence of experiments; to the development and illustration of philosophical truth. At home and abroad, in cities and in the fields, in solitude and in society, behold him steadily bearing in mind the object to which he has dedicated his life. Survey the votary of ambition. Behold every nerve, every faculty, upon the stretch to supplant, to undermine, or to surpass his rivals, and to attain the dizzy preeminence to which he aspires. Receive then a lesson from the children of this world (Luke 16:8). Then wilt thou discern what it is to set the Lord thy God always before thee.


1. Regard Him as Creator. If you deem life a blessing, remember Him —

2. As your Preserver.

3. As your Redeemer and Sanctifier.

4. As your Sovereign and your Judge. See then that you obey Him, lest you be destroyed forever.


1. In prosperity — by being grateful to Him.

2. In adversity, sickness, and death — by trusting Him, submitting to Him patiently, remembering how little your sufferings in comparison with your sins. Look up to Him and be comforted.

3. In youth — by not withholding from the planter the prime of the fruit. When wilt thou serve thy God if not now?

4. In age — by remembering that the night cometh; work, while it is called today; seek mercy while yet it may be found.

5. Under all circumstances, in common duties, as well as in specially religious acts. If you are cultivating your farm; if you are selling your articles in the market or in a shop; if you are serving a master in your daily labour; if you are managing the concerns of your friend or of your country: remember that God is contemplating all your motive, all your thoughts, all your words, all your actions; and that for all your motives and thoughts and words and actions you will have to render an account at the judgment seat of Christ (Revelation 20:12).

IV. THE RECOMPENSE. The Lord is at their right hand; they shall not be moved (1 Samuel 2:30; John 14:23).

(T. Gisborne, M. A.)

In the preceding verses we read, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have," etc. The speaker, therefore, is a very contented and happy man. How is it that he is able to feel so happy? Let us seek out the way. Perhaps his road may fit our feet. But who is the person who is thus singularly content? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He who by the Spirit here speaks. All this is so much the more encouraging to us because if He, the "Man of Sorrows," was nevertheless able to possess so sweet content, it must be possible for us, whose lot is not so bitter. We are not sent to make atonement for sin, and hence our sorrows are few compared with our Lord's. Our text clearly imparts to us the secret of this peace, It is —

I. LIVING IN THE LORD'S PRESENCE ALWAYS. "I have set...always before me." Now, this means —

1. That we should make the Lord's presence the greatest of all facts to us. Jesus did so. He saw God everywhere. From morning to evening, until you fall asleep "as in the embraces of your God," see Him everywhere. This is happy living.

2. The making of God's glory the one object of our lives.

3. So to live that the presence of God shall be the rule and support of our obedience. So Jesus did. The Master's eye is to many servants most important, to make them careful and diligent. For many are eye servers and men pleasers. But how should we live if God were seen looking on? He is looking on.

4. As the source from which we are to derive solace and comfort under every trial. This it was that made Him suffer and never complain.

5. That we are to hold perpetual communion with God. He was always in converse with the Father, and He could say, "I knew that Thou hearest Me always."

6. We must follow this life, because of our delight and joy in it. Such a life cannot be lived in any other manner. If you find walking with God dull, then you have not the first essentials of such a life. You must be born again. If you are the Lord's you will delight in living near to Him. You may lose your roll, like Christian in the arbour, and you may go back again and find it, lint it is very hard going back over the same ground. The hardest part of the road to heaven is that which has to be traversed three times: once when you go over it at first, a second time when you have to return with weeping to find your lost evidences, and then again when you have to make up for lost time. Abiding with God creates peace like a river.

II. TRUSTING ALWAYS IN THE LORD'S PRESENCE, "Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."

1. With any regret or remorse as to the past. Christ had many sorrows but no regrets.

2. From our consistency in the way of true religion.

3. With terror.

4. By temptation, so as to be swept into surprising sin.

5. So as to fail at last. Conclusion:

1. You who are not Christians, you are not happy. Set the Lord before you.

2. You who are not Christians, but think yourselves happy. How flail the pillar on which your happiness rests.

3. You Christians who are not happy; here is counsel for you.

4. You happy Christians, you can be happier still by coming nearer to God, This is heaven below.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved
This Psalm touches the high-water mark of the religious life in two aspects — its ardent devotion, and its clear certainty of eternal blessedness beyond the grave. These two are connected as cause and effect.

I. THE EFFORT OF FAITH. "I have set the Lord always before me." It took a dead lift of conscious effort for the Psalmist to keep himself continually in touch with that unseen God. This is the very essence of true religion. Mark how the Psalmist came to this effort. It was because his whole soul clave to God, with the intelligent and reasonable conviction and apprehension that in God alone was all he needed. If a man does not think about God and His love it is all one as if he had not Him and it.

II. THE ALLY OF FAITH. The second portion of the text is to be interpreted as the consequence of the effort. "He is at my right hand." The Psalmist means that by the turning of his thoughts to God and the effort he makes — the effort of faith, imagination, love, and desire — to bring himself as close as he can to the great heart of the Father, he realises that presence at his side in an altogether different manner from that in which it is given to stones and rocks and birds and beasts and godless men. That Divine Presence is the source of all strength and blessedness. "At my right hand"; then I stand at His left, and close under the arm that carries the shield; and close by my instrument of activity, to direct my work; my Protector, my Ally, my Director.

III. THE COURAGEOUS STABILITY OF FAITH. "Not be moved." That is true all round, in regard of all the things which may move and shake a man. The secret of a quiet heart is to keep ever near God. We shall not be moved by circumstances. How quietly we may live above the storms if we only live in God. The Psalmist feels that the great change from life to death will not move him, in so far as his union with God is concerned. A realisation of true communion with God is the guarantee that the man who has it shall never die.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

David, Psalmist
Always, Continually, Moved, Shaken, Surely
1. David, in distrust of merits, and hatred of idolatry
5. He shows the hope of his calling, of the resurrection, and life everlasting

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 16:8

     1110   God, present everywhere
     1265   hand of God
     1270   right hand of God
     5057   rest, physical

Psalm 16:7-8

     8128   guidance, receiving
     8662   meditation

Psalm 16:8-9

     8288   joy, of Israel

Psalm 16:8-11

     2366   Christ, prophecies concerning
     2422   gospel, confirmation
     6142   decay
     9311   resurrection, of Christ

Man's True Treasure in God
'The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.'--PSALM xvi. 5, 6. We read, in the law which created the priesthood in Israel, that 'the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them. I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel' (Numbers xvii. 20). Now there is an evident allusion to that remarkable
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

God with Us, and we with God
'I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.... 11. In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.' --PSALM xvi. 8, 11. There are, unquestionably, large tracts of the Old Testament in which the anticipation of immortality does not appear, and there are others in which its presence may be doubtful. But here there can be no hesitation, I think, as to the meaning of these words. If we regard them carefully, we shall
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Messiah Rising from the Dead
For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. T hat the Gospel is a divine revelation may be summarily proved from the character of its Author. If an infidel was so far divested of prejudice and prepossession, as to read the history of Jesus Christ, recorded by the Evangelists, with attention, and in order to form his judgment of it, simply and candidly, as evidence should appear; I think he must observe many particulars in his spirit and conduct,
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Smith -- Assurance in God
GEORGE ADAM SMITH, divine, educator and author, was born at Calcutta in 1856, and educated at New College, Edinburgh, Scotland. He is at present professor of Old Testament Language, Literature and Theology in the United Free Church College, Glasgow. He is author of "The Historical Geography of the Holy Land," "Jerusalem, the Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Time to A.D. 70" (1908). He is generally regarded as one of the most gifted preachers of Scotland. SMITH Born in 1856 ASSURANCE
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10

India as Carey Found It
1793 Tahiti v. Bengal--Carey and Thomas appointed missionaries to Bengal--The farewell at Leicester--John Thomas, first medical missionary--Carey's letter to his father--The Company's "abominable monopoly"--The voyage--Carey's aspirations for world-wide missions--Lands at Calcutta--His description of Bengal in 1793--Contrast presented by Carey to Clive, Hastings, and Cornwallis--The spiritual founder of an Indian Empire of Christian Britain--Bengal and the famine of 1769-70--The Decennial Settlement
George Smith—The Life of William Carey

Source of My Life's Refreshing Springs,
"Thou maintainest my lot." -- Psalm 16:5. Source of my life's refreshing springs, Whose presence in my heart sustains me, Thy love appoints me pleasant things, Thy mercy orders all that pains me. If loving hearts were never lonely, If all they wish might always be, Accepting what they look for only, They might be glad, but not in Thee. Well may Thy own beloved, who see In all their lot their Father's pleasure, Bear loss of all they love, save Thee, Their living, everlasting treasure. Well may
Miss A. L. Waring—Hymns and Meditations

Though Some Good Things of Lower Worth
"The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance." -- Psalm 16:5. Though some good things of lower worth My heart is called on to resign, Of all the gifts in heaven and earth, The greatest and the best is mine The love of God in Christ made known -- The love that is enough alone, My Father's love is all my own. My soul's Restorer, let me learn In that deep love to live and rest -- Let me the precious thing discern Of which I am indeed possessed. My treasure let me feel and see, And let my moments,
Miss A. L. Waring—Hymns and Meditations

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity. In Thy Presence is Fulness of Joy; at Thy Right Hand There are Pleasures for Evermore.
In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Wie wohl ist mir o Freund der Seelen [108]Wolfgang C. Deszler. 1692. trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1855 O Friend of Souls, how well is me, Whene'er Thy love my spirit calms! From sorrow's dungeon forth I flee, And hide me in Thy shelt'ring arms. The night of weeping flies away Before the heart-reviving ray Of love, that beams from out Thy breast; Here is my heaven on earth begun; Who were not joyful had he won
Catherine Winkworth—Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year

But Whilst the King Has not that Most Blessed Light...
But whilst the King has not that most blessed light, yet there are some things in which he can discriminate; and here are seven comparisons in which his unaided wisdom can discern which is the better:-- 1. A good name is better than precious ointment. 2. The day of death " " " the day of birth. 3. The house of mourning " " " the house of feasting. 4. Borrow " " " laughter. 5. The rebuke of the wise " " " the song of fools.
F. C. Jennings—Old Groans and New Songs

Israel the Beloved
'The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders.'--DEUT. xxxiii. 12. Benjamin was his father's favourite child, and the imagery of this promise is throughout drawn from the relations between such a child and its father. So far as the future history of the tribes is shadowed in these 'blessings' of this great ode, the reference of the text may be to the tribe of Benjamin, as specially distinguished by Saul
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

One Saying from Three Men
'The wicked hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved.' --PSALM x. 6. 'Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.' --PSALM xvi. 8. 'And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.' --PSALM xxx. 6. How differently the same things sound when said by different men! Here are three people giving utterance to almost the same sentiment of confidence. A wicked man says it, and it is insane presumption and defiance. A good man says it, having been lulled into false security by easy times,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Psalmist --Setting the Lord
ALWAYS BEFORE HIM "Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. i. "I have set the Lord always before me."--Ps. xvi. 8. IF this so devotionally disposed disciple had lived in the days of David, and if he had asked of David what he here asks of his Master,--that is to say, if he had said to David, "David, thou man after God's own heart, teach me to pray,"--David would have answered him in the words of the text. "Set the Lord before you," David would have said. "Begin every prayer of yours by setting the Lord
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

The Joy of the Lord.
IT is written "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Every child of God knows in some measure what it is to rejoice in the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ must ever be the sole object of the believer's joy, and as eyes and heart look upon Him, we, too, like "the strangers scattered abroad" to whom Peter wrote shall "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. i:8). But it is upon our heart to meditate with our beloved readers on the joy of our adorable Lord, as his own personal joy. The
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

But Concerning True Patience, Worthy of the Name of this virtue...
12. But concerning true patience, worthy of the name of this virtue, whence it is to be had, must now be inquired. For there are some [2650] who attribute it to the strength of the human will, not which it hath by Divine assistance, but which it hath of free-will. Now this error is a proud one: for it is the error of them which abound, of whom it is said in the Psalm, "A scornful reproof to them which abound, and a despising to the proud." [2651] It is not therefore that "patience of the poor" which
St. Augustine—On Patience

The Joint Heirs and their Divine Portion
I would invite you, my brethren in Christ Jesus, this morning, to do three things; first, let us consider the terms of the will--"joint heirs with Christ;" secondly, let us go forth and view the estates--what it is of which we are joint heirs; and when we have done so, let us proceed at once to administer, for God hath made his children administrators as web as heirs. I. First, then, there is A LEGAL TERM IN THE WILL UPON WHICH THE WHOLE MATTER WILL HINGE. We are called "joint heirs with Christ"--what
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 7: 1861

Period iv. The Age of the Consolidation of the Church: 200 to 324 A. D.
In the fourth period of the Church under the heathen Empire, or the period of the consolidation of the Church, the number of Christians increased so rapidly that the relation of the Roman State to the Church became a matter of the gravest importance (ch. 1). During a period of comparative peace and prosperity the Church developed its doctrinal system and its constitution (ch. 2). Although the school of Asia Minor became isolated and temporarily ceased to affect the bulk of the Church elsewhere, the
Joseph Cullen Ayer Jr., Ph.D.—A Source Book for Ancient Church History

The Wrath of God
What does every sin deserve? God's wrath and curse, both in this life, and in that which is to come. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.' Matt 25: 41. Man having sinned, is like a favourite turned out of the king's favour, and deserves the wrath and curse of God. He deserves God's curse. Gal 3: 10. As when Christ cursed the fig-tree, it withered; so, when God curses any, he withers in his soul. Matt 21: 19. God's curse blasts wherever it comes. He deserves also God's wrath, which is
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The Early Life of Malachy. Having Been Admitted to Holy Orders He Associates with Malchus
[Sidenote: 1095.] 1. Our Malachy, born in Ireland,[134] of a barbarous people, was brought up there, and there received his education. But from the barbarism of his birth he contracted no taint, any more than the fishes of the sea from their native salt. But how delightful to reflect, that uncultured barbarism should have produced for us so worthy[135] a fellow-citizen with the saints and member of the household of God.[136] He who brings honey out of the rock and oil out of the flinty rock[137]
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Notes on the First Century:
Page 1. Line 1. An empty book is like an infant's soul.' Here Traherne may possibly have had in his mind a passage in Bishop Earle's "Microcosmography." In delineating the character of a child, Earle says: "His soul is yet a white paper unscribbled with observations of the world, wherewith at length it becomes a blurred note-book," Page 14. Line 25. The entrance of his words. This sentence is from Psalm cxix. 130. Page 15. Last line of Med. 21. "Insatiableness." This word in Traherne's time was often
Thomas Traherne—Centuries of Meditations

Out of the Deep of Suffering and Sorrow.
Save me, O God, for the waters are come in even unto my soul: I am come into deep waters; so that the floods run over me.--Ps. lxix. 1, 2. I am brought into so great trouble and misery: that I go mourning all the day long.--Ps. xxxviii. 6. The sorrows of my heart are enlarged: Oh! bring Thou me out of my distress.--Ps. xxv. 17. The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping: the Lord will receive my prayer.--Ps. vi. 8. In the multitude of the sorrows which I had in my heart, Thy comforts have refreshed
Charles Kingsley—Out of the Deep

Angels Announce the Resurrection to Certain Women. Peter and John Enter The
Empty Tomb. (Joseph's Garden. Sunday, Very Early.) ^A Matt. XXVIII. 1-8; ^B Mark XVI. 1-8; ^C Luke XXIV. 1-8, 12; ^D John XX. 1-10. ^c 1 But ^a 1 Now late on the sabbath day, ^b 1 And when the sabbath was past, ^c on the first day of the week, { ^a as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,} ^c at early dawn, ^d while it was yet dark, cometh { ^a came} ^d Mary Magdalene early ^a and the other Mary ^b the mother of James, and Salome, ^c unto the tomb, bringing { ^b brought} ^c the spices
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Malachy's Pity for his Deceased Sister. He Restores the Monastery of Bangor. His First Miracles.
11. (6). Meanwhile Malachy's sister, whom we mentioned before,[271] died: and we must not pass over the visions which he saw about her. For the saint indeed abhorred her carnal life, and with such intensity that he vowed he would never see her alive in the flesh. But now that her flesh was destroyed his vow was also destroyed, and he began to see in spirit her whom in the body he would not see. One night he heard in a dream the voice of one saying to him that his sister was standing outside in the
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

The Creation
Q-7: WHAT ARE THE DECREES OF GOD? A: The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever shall come to pass. I have already spoken something concerning the decrees of God under the attribute of his immutability. God is unchangeable in his essence, and he-is unchangeable in his decrees; his counsel shall stand. He decrees the issue of all things, and carries them on to their accomplishment by his providence; I
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Religion Pleasant to the Religious.
"O taste and see how gracious the Lord is; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."--Psalm xxxiv. 8. You see by these words what love Almighty God has towards us, and what claims He has upon our love. He is the Most High, and All-Holy. He inhabiteth eternity: we are but worms compared with Him. He would not be less happy though He had never created us; He would not be less happy though we were all blotted out again from creation. But He is the God of love; He brought us all into existence,
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

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