What is the Chief End of Man?
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, Iowa on 7/23/2017
Good morning everyone. I want to take a moment and welcome you all to Cornerstone Church and tell you how glad we are to have you worshiping with us this morning either here in the sanctuary or via Facebook. I am sure that 99% of you know who I am, but for those of you who do not, my name is Tom May and I am the worship leader here at Cornerstone most every Sunday, but today I will be delivering the message as part of an ongoing effort here at Cornerstone to train up men from inside God’s church to rightly handle the word of God!
This morning I will be preaching from the book of Psalms as I try to follow Pastor Phil’s lead to preach the book of Psalms this summer.
So, let us start off with the reading of God's word as we always do. l will read all eleven verses of Psalms 16, we will then pray as we invite God through the Holy Spirit to open our hearts so that we can receive his words and that we might gain understanding of his word through this scripture, so that we might glorify his Holy Name!
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Let's begin by doing some reviewing of the past several weeks that we have spent in the Psalms. We have seen King David, the mighty ruler of Israel, crying out to God for Help! King David is the mightiest human king that there has ever been! Now of course, I am stating that he is the mightiest king that there has ever been pre-Christ, for we know that God the Father has made Jesus the ruler of all things.
Now if you can remember back to Psalm 13, we saw the mighty King David crying out for God’s help and wondering how long he was going to struggle with the things of this world,
Psalm 13:1- How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
David was crying out to the Lord, “I am in pain and I need you, I am filled with sorrow and you, O God, are my only source of relief. I can do nothing apart from you. Then in verse 5 we saw David change his focus from himself to the glory and truth of his Lord, the Father of Jesus Christ and his cry for help turns to a song of praise and rejoicing!
Psalm 13:5- But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
Then last week in Psalm 15, David was coming humbly before the Lord asking him:
Verse 1, O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your Holy hill?
David is looking at the holiness of God and seeing his sinful self through the lenses of the Levitical law and he realizes that he cannot bridge the gap between himself and God without the help of God. We are able to clearly see how Jesus, through his complete and perfect submission to his Father, was able to do what the law was incapable of doing for us.
So now we find ourselves at Psalm 16. Now before I begin in this message, I want share with you what the main point of this message will be and hopefully we will be able to use it as a road map to navigate our way through this Psalm.
The main point of this message I have already hinted at by using it in the title of this message and that is: What is the chief end of man? Some of you might recognize that question as coming from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. In fact, it is the very first question that is asked. I wonder how many of us sitting here this morning know the answer to that question?
Now I am not going to put any of you on the spot by making you answer that question but instead I am going to share it with you, the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever!
Now I must admit that when I first read that question and then the answer, I initially thought to myself that it seemed like a fairly simple thing to do. There are endless ways that we can glorify God and enjoy him forever! We can attend church, partake in bible studies, lead a small group, read the Bible to your children, visit someone who is sick just to name a few things. But what I think God is showing us in Psalm 16 is how he wants us to glorify him and find our joy within him. He used the trials and tribulations of King David’s life to provide us a road map that is well over two thousand years old. We can still read and follow this roadmap today and arrive safely at the same destination as King David. So, with that said, I am going to share with you how I am going to break Psalm 16 up as we walk our way through it. We are going to separate this Psalm into two categories: the first category will be how to glorify God and the second will be the joy that glorifying God produces.
At the beginning of Psalm 16, we find King David in desperate need of God's help. In fact, we see that David is crying out to the Lord in much of the same way he did in Psalm 13. Today, we see King David crying out,
Verse 1 “Preserve me O God, for in you I take refuge!”
David the mighty ruler, the great King of Israel the man that had songs sung about the thousands of men that he had killed, is crying out to the Lord his God for help! “Preserve me O God! Because I am going to die!” I do not know what or whom was making David so troubled, so filled with sorrow that he has become convinced that he is going to die and there is nothing that he can do to save his own life. But whatever the reason, it is enough to drive King David to his knees in prayer and worship, causing him to cry out to God for help! Preserve my life O God! He cries out to God with confidence that God who is sovereign over his Life is the only one that can save his Life. David knows that he can run to him and find refuge there in him, and David wants God to save his life, to bless him with another day on this earth. David in verse one gives us our starting point on how we are to glorify God. We are to glorify God by crying out to him and running to when we are in need, when we are hurting, when we are scared. We are to turn to God first for help in everything. God our Father is there waiting for us run to him and seek refuge in the safety of his arms.
King David is able to turn to God in his time of need because of his faith in God, David states in Verse 8, “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."
David knows that the Lord is always with him and he knows that the Lord is always guiding him with his word for he is a man of faith. David has set the Lord continually before him and he knows that the Lord is at his right hand and that there is nothing in this world that can separate him from the Lord.
Romans 8 :38-39 states For I am sure that neither death nor life nor angles nor rulers nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
David’s faith is anchored in the steadfastness of the Father’s love and because of that steadfast love, David declares that he will always pursue the will of the Lord. David knows that the same steadfastness that brought the nation of Israel safely through every trial and tribulation that it faced will surely preserve him. God has been Steadfast, God has been Just and God has kept his covenant even when man failed to glorify him by obeying his word. David’s faith enables him to mirror the steadfastness of the Lord.
So, we have seen David glorify God so far by crying out to him and taking refuge in him the moment trouble falls upon him. We have seen David glorify the Lord by declaring that he will not be shaken for the Lord is in the place of honor at his right hand.
Now the next verse that I want to look at as we search for how David glorifies God is Verse 7 which reads,
“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.”
David’s faith causes in him a desire to glorify God by blessing him for the counsel that he has received from God through his word. The word of God causes him to see the Lord as his great counselor, and David declares that the Lord is the only counselor he will trust.
David’s desire to seek after Gods counsel and to do his bidding is a foreshadow of Jesus Christ; how he sought his Fathers counsel and was perfectly obedient to his will.
Jesus taught us in John 7:16, “so Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me.’”
And in John 8:28, “so Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak just as the Father taught me.’”
And again in John 12:49-50. “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
David, being a foreshadow of Jesus Christ, sought to glorify the Lord by seeking his counsel to the degree that Gods very words were written on his heart. When the pains of this broken world awoke him from his sleep it was the word of God resonating in his heart! The fact that David had such a great Love for the LORD it produced in him the boldness to declare before the entire nation of Israel the words of verse 2 of Psalm 16 which read,
“I say to the LORD (YAHWEH), ‘you are my Lord I have no good apart from you.”
David is declaring here just what God means to him, he states I say to the LORD (ALL CAPITALS) which means he is stating God's holy and personal name Yahweh. He is making sure that there is no mistaking who he is calling out to; he is calling upon the one true God, the maker of Heaven and earth and he is declaring his obedience and submission to God. “You are my Lord, in you is my salvation, you are the Sustainer of my life and you are the Ruler over my life! You are My Master and Sovereign God.”
He goes on to declare in the second part of verse two, “I have no good apart from you.” David is not simply saying that all the good things in his life are gifts from God, which would be a true statement for David to make, but he is declaring that he has nothing good apart from God! Here we see King David the mightiest King of Israel who can have whatever his heart desires (the best of the best) and he is declaring that it is all worthless, he sees it all as trash when he compares it to GOD! Without you Lord I have nothing!
Psalm 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you”.
David not only knew that his only good came directly from God, but he knew that rejection of God would lead to unmeasurable pain and sorrow as we read in verse 4, The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
Because David is a man of faith and he is obedient to the word of God, David knows that the Lord has given him words of instruction. In fact, God has placed a command on David’s life regarding the worship of idols, and the truth of the matter is, that same command stands for us today. We are not to be worshippers of idols. Idol worship was a very common thing in the history of Israel. In fact, when the LORD brought the Hebrews up out of the land of Egypt, he gave them the law as a means to set them apart from all the other nations that were worshiping false gods. God gave them a set of commands that we all know as the Ten Commandments. They are found in Exodus 20. Don't worry, I am not going to read all of them, I am just going to read verses 1-5.
Exodus 20:1-5 And God spoke all these words saying, 2“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
So, David has chosen to glorify God by being obedient to the law that was given to Moses on Mount Saini and he gives us a word of caution to not partake in the pursuit of idols in our life for the Lord our God hates it. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1: 22-25
22 claiming to be wise they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things, 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever Amen.
David knowing these things to be true, that God hates idol worship, tells us that he will not take any part in these activities. He will not even honor them by speaking the names of these false gods.
We have now made it through all the ways that David glorified the Lord in the midst of the fiery trials of his life. I must admit that I stand amazed at David’s steadfast resolve as he praised the Lord for the richness of his mercy and grace. Not once did we hear David complain about his situation; not once does David ask God, “Why, O God, are you letting this happen to me?” David does not look at those around him who seem to be not struggling and ask, “God, don’t you love me?”
I wonder if we today have such a fear and reverence of God. When we find ourselves in similar positions, are we able to glorify and praise God the way David does here? Are you able to reject the sin that clings so closely to you; the temptation that is knocking at your door? Do you have strength to have nothing to do with the hundreds of idols that are vying for your attention and time and trying to draw you away from Christ? Do you have the strength to glorify God and say “NO!”? Satan is always busy trying to creep into the lives of Christians, to rob God of the glory that he deserves! How often do you dishonor God by choosing the temporary joy of this world over the true joy of spending time with God reading his word and praying for his will to be done in your life?
The fact of the matter is that none of us has the ability to stand on our own when the temptations of life come knocking on our door. But Christ did. And it is only through faith in Christ that we may stand too. That is why we must repent and believe in Jesus Christ, so we have the ability to glorify our God in the midst of the fiery trials.
David’s Joy In The Lord
We have looked at just how David glorified the Lord now we need to look at how David enjoyed and rejoiced in the Lord. The first thing David states that he delights in fellowship with his brothers and sisters. Verse 3, As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
David, while in the midst of despair takes a look around himself and praises the Lord for those whom he has given to him to sojourn through the trials of life with. He says, “Thank you, O Lord! These fellow saints really love me and they support me in my time of need. They make me happy when I am with them worshiping you, O Lord.”
We are to delight in Christian fellowship. We have ample opportunities to come together as a body of believers, when we go out to share the gospel, or when we gather for prayer, or when we spend time here constructing and painting this building. Events like these are opportunities to get to know one another, to build one another up and to encourage one another. These times are meant for us to delight in one another and to rejoice in the Lord for the blessing of fellowship.
Now I want to take a moment here and ask you to ponder whether or not you find all your delight being with your brothers and sisters worshiping God. If you don't, I encourage you to ask yourself: why? Might it be that you have let the cares of this world creep in? Do these cares draw your eyes off Christ to the lesser things? Like our own personal agenda, possessions, money, or sex! IF your answer is yes to these questions then my prayer for you this morning is that you take a good long look at yourself and ask yourself am I truly a Christian? And I pray that the Holy Spirit drives you to your knees and that you cry out to Jesus and repent!
David’s song of praise continues as we now turn our eyes to next point of praise that David lifts up which is verses 5 and 6, The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup, you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
David is telling us that he has chosen the LORD over everything else that he has in his life and I can only begin to imagine the earthly riches that King David had set before him. I am sure that he would have had the best food spread out before him on the finest dishes, yet we see that David knows that there is nothing life sustaining to be found there. Yes, the food that was on the table would sustain his physical body but not his spiritual body for only the word of God will sustain the soul of man. As David cried out at the beginning this Psalm, Preserve me O God! David is now saying for my hope is in you and you alone. In fact, I want nothing to do with any of it if it does not bring glory to you O Lord. David is able to say this because he knows that there is more to this life than what he has here on earth right now: there is an inheritance waiting for him in heaven that far outstrips that which he has here on earth. The same can be said for all Christians.
Ephesians 1:11 says, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”
It is through faith in Christ that we obtain our inheritance. Now, David did not have a full understanding of faith through Jesus, but David did have faith in God. We can and should rejoice in our faith that God has given us for it yields so many blessings.
Now we come to verses 9 and 10. The first word is “therefore” so we must look back to the previous verses to see why the therefore is there. Verses 1-8 have been a cry for help in confidence in the steadfastness of God. David has been diligent in his obedience to the Lord. Now we see his obedience and diligence bringing forth a song of praise and joy!
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your Holy one see corruption.
Because of King David’s faith, he knows that God will grant him his original plea of this Psalm: to preserve his life! David is trusting God and he knows that God will bring him home, both body and soul, to heaven and that is the preservation of life that David now is seeing set before him. He started out asking God for another day of this earth and he has now come to the full realization that what he truly desires is to praise and glorify God for eternity in heaven. The knowledge of this fact causes David’s whole being to rejoice. For he knows that God will not abandon him to Sheol as David states in the first part of verse 10.
But what is David speaking of in the second half when he states, “nor let your Holy one see corruption?” Do you know just what David is talking about? Paul did and it is in the book of Acts that we find Paul preaching at the Synagogue of Pisidian Antioch. Acts 13:36-39, For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
Do you know the answer now? Paul clearly tells us that it is not the author of Psalm 16 that God will not let see corruption. David died and he did see corruption. The answer to who King David writing about in verse 10 of psalm 16 is Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Jesus did not see corruption for he was raised on the third day after his atoning death. It is only through our profession of faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord that verse 11 becomes a true and living fact of eternal life for us! Verse 11 reads, You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Brothers and Sisters, when Jesus is the Lord of your life and when Jesus is your supreme treasure, you will experience unending joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding, just the same way that we saw King David rejoicing and praising God all the way through Psalm 16.
We can rest assured in the fact that, through our faith in Jesus Christ, that we too have a beautiful inheritance and that the Lord holds our portion in the palm of his hand. When we repent and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, God gives use the ability to achieve the chief call of man: to glorify God and enjoy him forever!
But maybe you do not know Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Maybe you have doubts and those doubts are causing you to worry about missing out on all those earthly treasures that you see your coworkers and friends enjoying. You see them not worrying about achieving the chief end of man. Maybe you are wondering, “What if I walk away from all that earthly fun and miss out on all the things that I could have had here. What if I pursue Jesus with all my heart and all my soul and I end up having a hard life, a life of suffering, a life of persecution and I die a financially poor person, not able leave my children any inheritance. How can I know that I will have pleasures forevermore with God? How do I know that I will have an inheritance in heaven? I am not King David! God didn’t choose me! God didn’t call me to a Kingdom! God hasn’t saved me from my enemies who are trying to kill me!”
Yes, he has!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Not fleeting life! Not momentary life! But eternal life in heaven glorifying God! Enjoying God! But if that was not promise enough for you then I want you to turn with me to Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Brothers and Sisters, there is no greater promise joy eternal than the promise that God made to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus. So if you have not already repented and believed in Jesus, my hope and prayer for you this morning is that the Holy Spirit would come and wash over you, filling you up and opening your heart and mind to the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ so that you to would be able to see him as your supreme treasure!
Leave a Reply.