We all have our preferences and things we consider good. Did you have a good day? Was your steak (or salad or breakfast) good? The waitress wanders by and asks if she should bring more iced tea. To which we may reply, “No thanks, I’m good.” We have our “good” clothes set aside for special occasions. Children that behave are called “good.” And if they misbehave they are told to be good. All of this makes the confession of the Psalmist much more shocking.
Psalm 16 is one of six designated as “mikhtam” in the title. There is little certainty about what mikhtam means. Is it just a musical term? Is it the designation of a special category? Some have called these the Golden Psalms while other identify it to mean something akin to engraved stone which is the root word. No matter how you look at it, these are special Psalms. Perhaps we could say that these Psalms are engraved in gold because of their precious truths. (The other mikhtam Psalms are 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60)
In the second verse of Psalm 16 David writes, “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’”(Psalm 16:2, NASB95) David was specific. He addresses his statement to YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The “Lord” inside his declaration is a different word and is a statement of authority and submission. It is very similar to Psalms 23, “the LORD is my shepherd.”
Here’s the shocking and golden part. David declared to the Lord God that there was nothing good besides Him. Let that soak in for a moment. Is that our attitude? That nothing is better in our lives than our Lord? Even Jesus observed, “There is only One who is good…” (Matthew 19:17b, NASB95)
So often we hang our value, identity, purpose, and meaning on the goodness in our lives. Corrie Ten Boom related in one of her books that while in solitary confinement for harboring Jews during WWII she created a deck of cards for something to do. After some time she came to realize that her feelings towards the day were determined by whether she won or lost at solitaire. Her good became the turn of the cards instead of the Lord.
No matter if our day was a rousing success or an abject failure we need to stand on the truth that there is nothing and no one that is truly good but Jesus our Lord and Shepherd. He is our only good whether we find ourselves stumbling in Shadowlands or strolling on the highest mountain. Nothing else. No possession, or feeling, or circumstance of life is good in comparison to Jesus.