O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee. Psalm 16:2 KJV

I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.” Psalm 16:2 NASB

What do you esteem as good? Family? A career? Vacations and getaways? We often append the label “good” to what pleases us and what, in some way, makes our lives better. Our “good” can change rapidly depending on circumstances, moods, and even personal tastes. What a contrast with the Contented Man of Psalm 16!

A better rendering of our verse is, “I have no good apart from Thee.” Imagine a life lived with no other “good” than God Himself. This is what marked the Man of Whom Psalm 16 spoke. The Psalm may have come from the pen of David, and it may reflect in some small measure the breathings of his heart, but it transcends him; by the Spirit of God He is speaking of another, a “greater than David” Who moved here in our world.

The secret of His contentment was that He owned not only that God is inherently good, and that God can only do good, but that all good is linked with Him. The very first “good” to which He refers is the people of God (v 3). They (we) are “good” because we belong to the Father. We are actually labeled as the “excellent ones” in Whom He finds all His delight.

His inheritance is “good.” The lot, or the boundaries of His life have been drawn by a skillful and wise hand; the cup which He accepts is from One Whose will and wisdom He never questioned. “Pleasant places” is how He described His lot in life: a crown of thorns, the cries of rejection, and a cross. All this was involved in the cup and the portion.

The counsel He has received is “good” (v 7). The Word of God was His delight and meditation (Psalm 1). His ear was opened morning by morning to drink in the message from His Master. He was not rebellious and did not turn back (Isa 50:4, 5). His Word, even though it meant giving His back to smiters and His cheeks to those who would pluck His beard, was good.

Finally, for this Contented Man, the presence of the Lord meant “fullness of joy.” He found His good only in God and now He anticipates finding all possible joy in His presence. Yet before that moment, He must endure the withdrawal of the enjoyment of that presence; what must have been for Him the extreme of suffering and sorrow.

The Contented Man of Psalm 16 found all that He deemed as good in God alone.


The Psalm is entitled “Michtam of David” or “golden.” Here is a “golden rule” to live by for spiritual contentment.

When do you think David may have written this hymn and how does it enhance its message?

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