This Bible study on Psalms contains outlines, extensive cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications.  Visit our inductive Bible studies for more studies on this and other books of the Bible.

Psalm 16 Inductive Bible Study With Discussion Questions


I. God is enough (1-2)
II. God delights in His people (3-6)
III. His people delight in Him (7-9)
IV. God pours out eternal blessings (10-11)

I. God is enough (1-2)

Discussion Questions

  • What does it mean to take refuge in God?
  • What are other things people may take refuge in?
  • Share an example of a challenging or dangerous situation you need to turn to God for help in?
  • What do we see about David’s attitude toward God in verse 2?
  • What are some good things you have received from the Lord lately?
  • How does it affect our outlook and attitude when we know everything good we have is from God?


Isaiah 54:17 – No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 – But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

Psalm 119:114 – You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

Psalm 31:19 – Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge – David was a fugitive for many years. And he also fought in many wars. He was a battle hardened military tactician. As such, David surely had a sharp eye for identifying natural fortifications and hiding places. In one case, he hid from Saul in a cave. In another, he made his way through and around mountains. But he realizes that none of these things could ultimately provide him protection and security. It wasn’t his sword, his wit, his military capabilities, or any earthly refuge which could preserve his life. It was only God.

In today’s world, people trust in many other things. Bank accounts, IRAs, brokerage accounts, and insurance are where most people turn to for security. These things give them peace of mind so that they can live a carefree life. But they only can give peace of mind until they don’t. Money saved over a life time can go up in smoke in a moment. The 2008 financial crisis and the 2000 dot com bubble are both examples of this. Tens of millions of people across the world who were flying high, suddenly lost everything (or at least a big chunk.) No longer could they enjoy the retirement they hoped for. Some had to go back to work again. Worry and stress hit sky high levels.

Believers were not immune to losing money. But those who trusted in the Lord were still able to sleep at night. If a person trusts in money, he will spend his time and energy working to get money, thinking about money, and talking about money. The one who trusts in God will spends his time and energy building his relationship to God, thinking about God, and talking about God.

Application: Where do you place your trust? Does your sense of security come from something in this world? How can you “take refuge” in God?

2. You are my Lord – Part of taking refuge in God is submitting to Him as Lord. You have to choose whom you will serve, God or money, or something else. David made the choice to follow God, making him the Lord of his life.

Understand that your decision to “make Christ Lord” does not actually change His status or yours. He is Lord, whether people recognize that or not. However, you can decide whether or not you will treat Him as Master and life your life accordingly. It is one thing to say, “Lord, Lord.” It is another to live your life in agreement with this.

3. I have no good apart from you – This is similar to David’s statement in Psalm 23, “I shall not want.”

I shall not want -In this verse “want” is a synonym for “lack.” God’s people do not lack any good thing. Whatever is good, whatever is beneficial, He will provide it for us.

Psalm 34:10 – The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.

Our God in heaven is the Creator of the entire universe. Everything belongs to Him. The world came into existence by the force of His spoken word. Nothing is too difficult for Him to give to you. If He has not given it to you, it is because it is not good for you. Every single thing that is good for you (and remembering that God cares far more for our character and relationship with Him than with our comfort), He has given to us.

I sometimes have the opportunity to share with new believers about prayer. And I ask them a question, “If you pray for a new car, will God give it to you?” Many of them immediately answer, “No.” Perhaps they think that such a prayer is selfish or unrealistic. Perhaps they think that God cannot move in tangible ways like giving a car, but instead only acts to give us peace or comfort.

What do you think, if you pray for a new car will God give you one?

The answer is: If it is good for you, if you need it, God will give it to you.

Application: Probably all of us have been around wanters, people who always want more and more things no matter how much they have. Most cultures in the world are like this today. Materialism breeds greed and discontent. Companies constantly market the need to upgrade perfectly usable products or electronics to the latest and greatest “must have.” Once someone asked Rockefeller, the richest person in the world at that time, “How much money is enough?” He said, “A little more.” And he lived that way.

Some people go through their life being discontent. They wish away their present while dreaming of the greener grass on the other side of wherever they are now.

  • If only I could get a promotion, then I would be happy.
    Once I get my degree and get a job and reach independence then I will enjoy my life.
  • If I could just travel more, I could be happier in my job.
  • If I could just upgrade to the Iphone X then I would never need another phone again… until the Iphone 11 comes out.
  • If I could just get married and have a family, then my life will be perfect. For the singles out there, let me tell you something. I have four kids and a lovely wife. I love my kids to death and would not trade them for anything. I heard a few of our students tell me that their hobby is sleeping. After you have children, you can forget about this hobby. In the last week, about four different times my wife and I finally laid down very tired and started drifting off to sleep… like a perfectly set timer one or another of our kids woke up crying. Being single is wonderful and has its own challenges. Being married with kids is wonderful and has its own challenges.

Brothers and sisters, the grass is always greener on the other side. If you are not content with what God has given you now, you will not be content in the future either.

There are two options when you set your hope on a thing rather than on God:

  • Either you will not get what you hope for so you will be discontent.
  • Or you do get what you hope for and it doesn’t satisfy you either so you are discontent.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.

Next time you struggle with discontent, and we all do sometimes, remember that you don’t lack. God has already given you everything you need. Change your complaining into thanksgiving and count your blessings.

Application: Share about what good things God has given you lately. What is something good God has done for you even in the midst of a trial? What is something that you didn’t think was good at the time, but later realized it was?

II. God delights in His people (3-6)

Discussion Questions

  • Who is talking in verse 3?
  • What is a saint?
  • What can we learn about God’s attitude toward believers?
  • What are some other gods that people may follow after today?
  • How does God view unbelievers?
  • What does it mean that He has assigned our “portion and cup?”
  • What are some testimonies of God’s provision in your life?


Psalm 18:19 – He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Isaiah 62:3-5 – You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Job 11:18 – And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.

Psalm 40:2 – He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. David delights in the saints – In verse 3 we see David shift his attention from God to the saints. David highlights the “saints in the land.” These are believers who are living a life of obedience, right in the center of God’s will for them. When God’s people do well, it made David extraordinarily happy.

Parents know this feeling. Recently I was walking past the bedroom of my two daughters (4 and almost 2). As I went past, I saw them snuggled in a corner. Allison (4) had a book opened on her lap and was “reading” to her sister, telling her the story. Both of them were giggling as they acted out the sounds and movement from the animals inside. Like most modern parents, I pulled out my phone and subtly videoed them, later sharing with some family. It was a simple, sweet moment. Two little girls happily cooperating and playing together.

As I watched them, I was delighted. Seeing them be kind (and not fighting) gave me great pleasure.

Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

In a similar manner, when David sees His saints following after Him He is happy.

God too is happy when He sees us doing right.

Isaiah 43:4 – Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.

In this verse we are reminded that God is not a vengeful God. He is not hoping for us to fail so that He can punish us. No. He wants us to succeed. He is cheering on those successes. We should cheer on our brothers and sisters.

2. The sorrows of those who run after another god will multiply – God does not delight in everyone.

Proverbs 17:25 – A foolish son is a grief to his father And bitterness to her who bore him.

Some parents laugh and say “how cute,” when their child misbehaves. God does not. Sin makes Him angry. We see in these two verses two aspects of God’s character, love and justice. Both of these qualities are ever present, held in tension.

People who reject following after God for other things will reap the consequences of their rebellion. Their sorrows will multiply. Sometimes these troubles are seen. Other times it is the unseen guilt and stress. In the end, this will ultimately be fulfilled when people face God and the rebellious are sentenced to eternity in hell.

3. I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood – David wanted nothing to do with false gods. He would not associate himself with their sacrifices in any way.

4. Or take their names on my lips – In this verse we see a stark contrast with God’s attitude toward believers.

Isaiah 43:1 – But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

God calls His saints by name. He has a personal and loving relationship with us. But his is not true for those who reject Him. Those people’s names are not written in the Book of Life. Technically, God knows everything so He certainly knows what they are called. But He has no relationship for them and will offer no protection or help to them.

5. Verse 5 – David had an optimistic and grateful attitude. He knew how blessed he was. As a shepherd boy, he was anointed as King of Israel. God extended to Him an eternal covenant, promising to give him and his descendant an eternal kingdom.

But just because David was blessed, does not guarantee that he would recognize this. Many people do not count their blessings, instead choosing to focus on their problems.

The Jews who were led out of Egypt are one example of this. God performed many miracles on their behalf. He provided bread, meat, and water for free. Their clothing and footwear was miraculously preserved. He gave them the law and defeated their enemies. But at every opportunity they complained. They had an inheritance (the Promised Land), but refused to take it. With the right outlook, they could have had a pleasant experience. Instead it was bitter, because of their own stinking attitudes.

Application: Like David, you have much to be thankful for. God has blessed you in many ways. You have been given an inheritance even better than David’s. Take some time this week to thank God for some of those blessings. And resolve to be a radiating joy even when those around you are gloomy. Your positive attitude can shine a light in the darkness.

III. His people delight in Him (7-9)

Discussion Questions

  • How does God counsel believers?
  • What does it mean that “even at night my heart instructs me?”
  • How does God speak to us through our hearts?
  • How can you set the Lord before you? What does this look like when a person does this?
  • What kind of things might shake you if your faith is not in the Lord?
  • What three benefits does a proper relationship with God bring in verse 9?
  • If your heart is glad, what will you do?


Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

John 16:13 – When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Isaiah 30:21 – And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Romans 8:5 – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. I bless the Lord – David has made the choice to praise God for what He has done for him.

2. Who gives me counsel – God gives us counsel primarily through His Word, which the Holy Spirit uses to convict us and impress upon us ideas and principles which we are to follow. God did not abandon us to walk by our own sight. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in the Scriptures.

3. In the night also my heart instructs me – God has given us a conscience. This conscience is most effective when it works in connection to Scripture. When our consciences are continually fed by truth they they will powerful moral compasses to help steer us through challenging decisions.

The Holy Spirit may also move in our hearts to impress upon us a burden or a calling. These “feelings” can be more subjective, which is why it is important to be rooted in God’s Word. Many believers have shared experiences where they felt an undeniable burden in the middle of the night to get out of bed and pray for someone, only to find out later that just at that time the person they felt burdened to pray for was facing a life-threatening situation. If you read more Christian biographies you will start to see many of these examples.

In one case, a baker woke up in the middle of the night and could not sleep. He felt God leading him to bake bread and so he did. In the morning he took that bread to George Mueller’s orphanage, finding out when he arrived that they were sitting at the table to eat breakfast with nothing to eat (Mueller had assured them that would supply their needs.)

Application: Feed your conscience/heart the right food. Your conscience will become sharper as it is continually grounded in the Word. On the other hand, if you feed yourself lots of garbage (think R rated movies or graphic romance novels) then your conscience will become dull and and your moral compass will get further and further off. When you draw close to God, you become more and more sensitive to His leading and that still, quiet voice will grow louder.

4. I have set the Lord before me – This is David’s way of saying that the Lord is his “pearl of great price.” The Lord is his desire, his treasure. Everything else pales in comparison with his desire to know God, to follow God, to become like God, and to worship God.

When I think of this, I remember the story of the Lord of the Rings. In this series of books the creature Gollum dedicates himself to getting the one ring back. Nothing else is important. All of his mind is focused only on the ring, his precious. It is in his thoughts when sleeps and when he wakes. It led him on a long journey. In the end he gave his life trying to get his precious back.

Every person in the world is like Gollum, chasing after something. For believers, the Lord should be that “object” of adoration.

Hebrews 12:2 – Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Application: What are you setting your eyes on? What are you chasing after? What is one thing that is distracting you from chasing after God? How can you give that up for the Lord this week?

5. Therefore my heart is glad – David is glad when he follows after the Lord in that manner. Chasing after God brings him joy and contentment on the very deepest levels.

Real joy does not come when we pursue it in a selfish manner. I have observed that when my children selfishly refuse to allow others to play with their toys they are not happy at all. They are most happy when the go out of their way to do kind things for others. The same is true for adults.

The word “JOY” can also be viewed as an acronym. “J” stands for “Jesus.” “O” stands for “Others.” And “Y” stands for “Yourself.” When you put Jesus first and others before you, you will experience real joy like David does here.

IV. God pours out eternal blessings (10-11)

Discussion Questions

  • Does verse 10 mean David wouldn’t die? What does it mean?
  • Does God abandon us to the grave?
  • Who is the Holy One? How was this prophecy fulfilled?
  • What is the path of life?
  • Share a time when God has given you deep joy.


John 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 – For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

John 6:40 – For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Verse 10 – Death is not the end. David believed that he had an eternal soul and he would be with God face to face after death. This is the hope and belief of all believers everywhere (1 Corinthians 15.)

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 – When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

David’s statement is true for all believers. It was also applied as a Messianic prophecy by Peter (Acts 2:25-28) to Jesus’ resurrection, before his body even decayed in the tomb.

2. In your presence there is fullness of joy – In this passage we have seen this theme recurring throughout. God does not call us to a life of depression or defeat. We can have full joy in Him always no matter what situation we are facing. Joy is not dependant on circumstances. It comes from the closeness of our relationship with God.

Application: Are you experiencing this joy? Why or why not?/ How can you “be more joyful?” What is one time when God has given you this deep joy in spite of difficult circumstances?

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