A lodestone is a natural magnet. Iron objects become magnetized when in contact with it. Our hearts are like that iron. We have no natural attraction for God or his kingdom. However, Christ is our heavenly lodestone who changes our affections to conform to his. Psalm 16 is the cry of a heart with a heavenly attraction. Its verses resonate with us because of our union with Jesus Christ.
A Sustaining Refuge
Preserve me, O LORD, for in you I take refuge. (v. 1)
We take refuge in the Lord not merely for protection but also for preservation. He is our source of refreshment, healing, and nourishment. Jesus used the imagery of the vine to teach this principle: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abide in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).
I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you." (v. 2)
Notice the two different uses of lord. Yahweh (LORD) is his master (Lord). This is more that an admission of God’s authority or a pledge of allegiance. He expresses a joyful delight in that relationship. In fact, without God as his master nothing would bring any satisfaction. The gospel calls us to this same relationship with God and more, but certainly not less (Luke 14:33).
Christ exhibited a natural affection for his Father (John 4:34; 8:29). When united to Christ, we take on the same attraction. We have no hesitation in submitting to the absolute rule of God over our lives. How can we? He loved us and was seeking our good long before we knew or even cared for him. Jesus Christ is the measure of his love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). He has enthroned Christ as king over us. None deserves greater confidence and loyalty than he who laid down his life for us. Having imparted the Holy Spirit to be his presence with us here, our Lord is in heaven interceding for us. Like the psalmist, we can declare we have no good apart from Christ.
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight. (v. 3)
It is a common misconception that one can love God and be indifferent toward the church. “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion” (John Wesley). We deceive ourselves when we think we can delight in Christ and not delight in fellowship with the local church.
So how do I overcome the natural aversion toward people who are so unlike me socially, culturally, educationally, and politically? Some downright annoy me. Yet, none of these differences compare with the vast gulf between divine holiness and my human corruption. In love, my Savior chose to bridge that gap. He ate, drank, toiled, partied, and wept with sinners. The blood that was poured out for me was shed for my brothers and sisters in Christ as well. They are precious to him, so they are precious to me.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. (v. 4)
Just as love for God should unite us with fellow believers, it should also repel us from the idolatrous pursuits of non-believers. Though Jesus lived among and ministered to sinful man, he remained “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). When joined to Christ, we cannot continue our old way of life. We are the temple of God. How dare we involve the Spirit of Christ in sinful pursuits (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
We love our unbelieving neighbors, seek their good, and celebrate with them to whatever degree grace will allow. However, our internal compasses point us in a different direction than theirs (1 Pet. 4:1-4).
Pointing Us Heavenward
Filled with his Spirit, our hearts point us to Christ, our heavenly lodestone. The only thing exceeding our longing for him, is his for us (John 17:24). “He who testifies of these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
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