"I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8 ESV)
"David said about him: 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.'" (Acts 2:25 NIV)
This lesson examines the meaning of the three phrases in Psalm 16:8 -- "I have set the Lord always before me," "Because he is at my right hand," and "I shall not be shaken."
Consider. Do you feel that God is always near you?
When David said, "I have set the Lord always before me," what did he mean?
When David said "I have set the Lord always before me," he felt that he was always in the presence of God -- that God was present with him, always near him, and always before his face (Psalm 16:8, Ref. 1, Ref. 2, Ref.3). David felt God's presence continually -- night and day, in public professions and in private meditations (Ref. 1). God was with him alike in happiness and in trouble (Ref. 4).
The apostle Peter quoted Psalm 16:8 during his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:14-36). The first sentence of Acts 2:25 states, "David said about him: 'I saw the Lord always before me.'" The Greek word for saw in Acts 2:25 means to keep before one's eyes, metaphorically, to be mindful of one always (Ref. 5 Thayer's Greek Lexicon). When we see the Lord always before us, he is our focus, and he is preeminent in our thoughts, words, and deeds -- always.
When Peter quoted Psalm 16:8 in Acts 2:25, Peter was clear that "the Lord" he was referring to was Jesus of Nazareth who God raised from the dead (Acts 2:22-25).
"Because He Is At My Right Hand" Meaning
"At the right hand" is a place of protection and defense. "For he [the Lord] stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death" (Psalm 109:31, brackets added). "The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand" (Psalm 121:5).
Think of the image of a warrior standing at your right side, who in the conflict of battle extends his shield over his comrade on the left hand (you) to guard him (you) from attack (Ref. 6). The Lord's shield is big enough to protect you. David wrote, "But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head" (Psalm 3:3).
Throughout the Bible, "at the right hand" also means the place of honor (Psalm 110:1, Mark 16:19).
"I Shall Not be Shaken" Meaning ("I Will Not be Shaken" Meaning)
David said, "Because he [the Lord] is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8 ESV, brackets added). The King James Version translates this last phrase of Psalm 16:8 as "I shall not be moved." The New American Standard Bible translates this phrase as "I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8 NASB).
The Hebrew word for shaken or moved in Psalm 16:8 is mot (phonetically pronounced as mote). Mot means to totter, shake, or slip (Ref. 7). In Acts 2:25 (Peter's quotation of Psalm 16:8), the Greek word for shaken is saleuó. Saleuó means to agitate, shake, disturb, or to cast down from one's (secure and happy) state (Ref. 8).
David felt the Lord's presence with him continually. Because the Lord was at his right hand, the Lord was close, ready to protect and save. Therefore, David was not shaken or moved (Ref. 4). For David, because the Lord was at his right hand, nothing could cast him down from his trust and confidence in the Lord.
Summary - the Main Principles in this Lesson
As believers in Christ:
1. We should set the Lord always before us -- before our eyes, always preeminent in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
2. The Lord is at our right hand always to protect us and defend us. His shield is big enough to protect us.
3. Because the Lord is at our right hand, we will not totter, slip, be disturbed, or become cast down. In the Lord we trust, and in him we are confident and secure.
Apply. Lord Jesus, show me ways that I can better know your presence with me today and every day. Thank you for being at my right hand to protect me and help me. Thank you that in you I am secure.
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