The Single’s Psalm

In God's presence is joy

Quite a few years ago a good friend of mine referred to Psalm 16 as The Single’s Psalm. I’ve claimed it as such ever since, turning to it again and again.

As I type that, though, I have to chuckle at my annoyance in the past when others have made claim to a passage of Scripture as being specifically for their particular walk of life. Over time that annoyance has turned to amazement as I realize a passage that speaks so specifically to one person speaks just as specifically to another in a completely different lifestyle. Isn’t the Bible’s Author amazing? That Author is none other than our Heavenly Father, who loves us each the same, and knew what truths His children would need for every walk of life!

That said, let’s take a look at Psalm 16 and what it says to the single Christian. Although my friend never elaborated why she thought Psalm 16 was The Single’s Psalm, as I’ve read it over the years, it has spoken to me regarding two topics: Who God is to me, and my future.

Who God is to Me

It’s probably safe to say that most singles, whether single by choice or otherwise, at various times miss the presence of a life companion. Sometimes we imagine that person would be more for us than what mere mortals actually can be. But regardless if our imaginations are accurate or not, we do have Someone who is amazing things to us, according to this Psalm and other Scripture. He is:

Our Protector

“Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.” (v. 1)

Whether it is physical, spiritual, or emotional protection we need, God is our refuge. We can turn to Him and know that in His sovereignty nothing will touch us that He doesn’t allow for a reason for our ultimate good. This gives us much freedom to live our lives to the full, taking “risks” as needed to move forward, knowing He has our backs.

When my father was a young single serving as a missionary in Nepal, he often traveled mountainous trails alone with all the possible dangers of wild animals, river crossings, and steep paths. He also traveled alone by train to India for supplies and to exchange money for the mission, with all the possible dangers of personal attack and theft. But amazingly he felt no fear. He knew God was his Protector!

Our Provider

“I said to Yahweh, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.” (v. 2)

“LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (v. 5-6)

Someone recently mentioned to me that trusting God to provide for our needs should be the easiest of His promises to believe. After all, He mentions it so frequently in Scripture with so many examples of His provision – food for over five thousand people multiplied from just five loaves and two fish, the widow’s bottle of oil that didn’t run out, food (manna) falling from the sky for the Israelites, a sacrificial lamb in the bushes for Abraham to sacrifice in place of Isaac, a coin found in the mouth of a fish to pay Jesus’ and the disciples’ taxes.

When we consider that our inheritance comes from Him, and that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, why do we ever worry if we’ll have enough? No matter the limitations of our circumstances or even our own physical abilities, He will provide. What an adventure to see how He’ll accomplish that! If the accounts in the Bible are any indication, He can be quite creative in His provision!

Our Counselor

“I will praise the LORD who counsels me – even at night my conscience instructs me. I keep the LORD in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely.”  (v. 7-9)

I don’t know about you, but for me, things bother me most at night – so much so that I once made a rule for myself: Don’t listen to your fears in the middle of the night. I had learned that almost everything looks worse in the wee hours of the night than they do in broad daylight. Over the years those hours alone in bed when I can’t sleep have become precious times of talking with the Lord and hearing from Him. It’s often during those times that I’ve received clarity to help me move forward when daylight comes. With God as our Counselor we will not be shaken, and we can be at peace.

Our Companion

“You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay. You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.” (v. 10-11)

One of the pluses of being alone is that we become more aware of God’s presence with us. Minus the distraction of others’ voices we learn to hear His. Once in a group of women, mostly married, the question was asked: how much time do you spend praying each day? I realized in that moment that I couldn’t measure my daily prayer time by minutes, as I tend to carry on a running conversation with the Lord all day long. I hadn’t always done this. When my days were filled with a lot of interaction with people, I turned to them for conversation, and not as much to the Lord. As it dwindled I was somewhat lonely until I learned that God was always present and available to talk. Now conversing with Him comes as second nature. It’s a privilege to be able to enjoy His presence so much!

A Bright Future

This Psalm also speaks to the future we have to look forward to:

“You hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance…. You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.” (v. 5b, 6, 11)

in Your right hand are eternal pleasures

We know with certainty that as believers in Jesus we have a wonderful eternity waiting for us. But what about here? For the rest of our time on this earth we’re usually not as optimistic. But all our worries can be answered by the assurance of Who God is to us, as we’ve just seen in this Psalm. Just as He is our Protector, Provider, Counselor, and Companion now, so He will be for us all our days. Singles tend to worry about getting old: Will we be alone, forgotten by all who know us? Who will take care of us? I’m not sure why we think our Heavenly Father, who has cared for us all our lives, will abandon us in old age. He won’t!

In His presence is “abundant joy.” That “path of life” is not just being physically alive, it is the abundant life that Jesus came to give us! It’s not dependent on lifestyle, circumstances, or the presence or absence of other people. God is our joy, and we can rest assured that He does hold our future, and that it will be good!

 

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Comments

  1. Otho says

    Very good, Fern. Our God never sleeps. We can talk to Him at any time, day or night. I use to think that when something came to my mind, “I just thought about that.” But more and more I realize that it is the Holy Spirit bringing it to my mind, and right away I thank Him. I am learning what it mean to pray without ceasing.

  2. Joanna says

    Thank you for your thoughts on the psalm and for being committed to this ministry. I am in the Uk and know of no other ministry that tackles and supports singleness like this one. I appreciate being reminded that God is my answer.

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