I have a delightful inheritance - 12 August 2019

Ben Fourie

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6 (NIV)

I often wonder why most of us hanker after a piece of land, be it a farm, a smallholding or even a plot in town – a piece of land that belongs to me exclusively. Maybe we unconsciously transfer our yearning for safety, stability and peace in our every day lives to the security of owning a piece of land.

These days we have surveyors who measure up farms and plots with very sophisticated instruments, but in biblical times they used lines of a specific length to do this. In the book of Joshua we read about the measuring and distribution of the promised land to the different tribes. This allocation of land was often done by casting the lot, meaning the recipient received it without having earned it. The author of this psalm used this custom to illustrate God's presence in his life.

Right from the very first verse one can deduce that the person who wrote the psalm was in danger. If we accept David as the author it might have been when he was fleeing from Saul.  Others ascribe the psalm to a poet in the time after the return from Babylon when even the rebuilders of Jerusalem had to keep weapons handy due to very dangerous times. The poet's identity is not that important, but what is really important is the way he experiences God.

He uses the image of a beautiful peace of land where the boundary lines has fallen in his favour and he received it from the hand of God without really deserving it. What he really received from God was life itself. That is why he is able to say in verse 10: “…you will not abandon me to the grave”. In the dangerous situation in which he found himself he could rejoice about the boundary lines that have fallen in pleasant places.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father together with this poet, we also want to say: “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Amen

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