Psalm 16:10 (ESV) -- For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
There are many Old Testament passages that specifically foreshadow the coming and work of Jesus. All of the Bible is about Jesus, and about the redemption God is bringing to a sinful world, but there are many Old Testament passages that give us distinct pictures of Jesus. One of the ways we know when we’re reading one of these texts is that it’s not only true about Jesus, but often it can’t be true about the person it seemingly references in the text.
Our passage today is an example of this. The psalmist writes, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” This is David writing. He is the king of Israel and the anointed one of God. He declares that God will not abandon his soul to Sheol. Sheol is the place of the dead. This doesn’t get discussed much in churches today, but for much of church history it was understood. Sheol is the place where all the dead prior to Christ went. It is the general name for the place where the souls of the dead resided. Within Sheol was Paradise, the place for the righteous dead, and Hades, the place of the unrighteous dead.So when David says that God will not abandon his soul to Sheol, he is saying that God won’t leave him there. Now, here’s the truth: if David dies (and he did), then that is exactly where David is going. In one sense, David’s soul will not stay forever in Sheol because Christ is going to come and lead the captives of Sheol into the presence of God. This is why after the death and resurrection, we talk about believers going to Heaven after they die. This is the result of Jesus’ accomplishment on the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. He is setting the righteous dead free and ushering them into the presence of God.
But David’s body would see corruption. He decayed. This is why in another sense, this passage is not exclusively about David. It points beyond David. It points to the Redeemer. Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 16:10. Jesus’ body would not see corruption or decay because He rose from the grave on the third day. This passage is a Messianic foreshadowing. His soul was not abandoned to Sheol because He rose from the dead.
This passage is an incredible reminder that the plan of Jesus coming into the world to save sinners existed long before Mary was found to be with child. This is the eternal plan of God, and He gave glimpses throughout Scripture so that when it occurred, it would confirm our faith. Seeing God at work throughout history, we can walk in the confidence of His eternal plans.
Reflection & Journal:
- What is Sheol?
- How do we know this passage is pointing to Jesus?
- Why are passages like this important for grounding our faith?
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