My body will rest in hope- Psalm 16:9
The Psalmist has contrasted the immaterial, spiritual, parts of one’s being with the physical form or body. He, then, speaks of a very special type of rest, a prolonged dwelling or abiding- yet, it is not permanent. One must remember, the Psalmist was a man of this world and knew that everyone, after whatever respite they take, must once again enter the world. Our life is not for hiding from the world but to be part of it and make it better.
The Psalmist also realizes that being part of the world can be a struggle, we live embattled lives, but we do not have to strive alone. He offers us “hope”. This is not, simply, a joyous anticipation of an event or something vague notion to which to clutch out of desperation. The hope to which the Psalmist refers is immediate with an impact on our current situation. He uses a form of the word “batah”. This term connotes well-being and security that is the result of something or someone in which one can place their confidence or upon which they can rely. Often, this term is associated with the notion of being unconcerned, as in worry-free.
This term is the keynote of the entire Psalm, it explains the profession of God as a refuge that we see in the opening lines. It is not a spiritual, or abstract, place of refuge that is offered by our God- it is a safe place in our world. God’s power is not confined to His Heavenly abode, but reaches into His Creation. It is His power in which we can rest our bodies in confidence and security. It is His power that allows us an oasis from the harsh world in which we live. It is in this power that we can be renewed as He, in His protection, allows us to replenish and revive ourselves- to once again pick up the daily battle for His Kingdom.
This Psalm is part of a recurring theme in the Bible; that only God provides lasting security and protection. The power of God, as God Himself, is eternal. The security provided by the power and resources of this world are written on the wind and will pass away. It is fleeting and transient. To rely on worldly powers is folly to the Psalmist. Such confidence in things of this world will only bring about shame, disgrace, and failure.
The Psalmist is reaching out, to us, across the centuries to assure us of a source of power and protection. This power and protection strengthens us by providing us the rest we need, for as long as we need it, and provides welcome relief from the stresses and worries of the world. The Psalm instructs us, through the masterful use of powerful terms, that we must look to the source of the power which protects and envelopes us and place our trust here- in God.