“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Explanation and Commentary of Psalm 16:11
This powerful Psalm describes beautifully what life in Christ both looks and feels like. There is a “path of life” that God calls us to and grants us to walk on where he stands as a safe and sure refuge. By faith we know we are safe and secure. It is a blessing to feel the truth that those who put their hope in Christ to save have that promise.
We are hopefully aware like the Psalmist that every good thing we have comes from the generous hand of God (Ps 16:2). The world runs after other gods and other comforts (4), but we know with the Psalmist that the way of sacrificing to false gods is totally bankrupt.
With the Psalmist, search your heart and see if you want anything but God and whatever God in his goodness ordains for you to have and to do. Root out anything that would cause you to look away from the source of all goodness and life.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Psalm 16:11
#1 “You make known to me…”
All is revealed by God. It can be a shock for a new believer that others around him or her cannot see what has become so obvious to them. There is a God. He made everything and will “Come to judge the living and the dead.” But while we, as morally responsible image-bearers, are totally accountable for our choices, including the one to put our faith in Christ, we could not come to him unless he reveals himself and draws us (Jn 6:44). He must remove the blinders from the eyes of unbelievers (2 Cor 4:4). David understands that it is God who has “made known to [him] the path of life.”
#2 “…the path of life;”
There are two paths. One is wide and diverse, and it leads to destruction (Mt 7:13-14). This is the way of the world. The way of satan. The other is the path of life, and it is narrow and sparsely populated. The path of life cuts across everything the world holds dear: pride, fear, ego, sexual sin, love of comfort, money, self, hatred, and more. These powerful forces keep most people from the path of life, of trust, of repentance, of rest, of power and of love.
#3 “you will fill me with joy in your presence,”
It is too simple for most people. Live in the presence of God. Abide (Jn 15). Walk by the Spirit (Ro 8). Be dead to sin in Christ and alive unto God (Ro 6). God refers to himself as “I Am” (Ex 3:14). He lives in the present. We seek his presence in the present moment. In the presence of God, there is only joy for the redeemed. This is what Jesus meant when he said that all we need to worry about is to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33). If we do that, we will be filled with joy.
#4 “with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Christ is at God’s right hand. We are in Christ at God’s right hand. This is a place of great priority in the heavenly courts. The pleasures that come to us from the hand of God in Christ are the kind that are eternal, rather than temporal. Sadly, even Christians will trade the eternal pleasures of God for the temporary pleasures of sin. It is so wonderful to understand that God has eternal pleasures for us that are so far above what the earth has to offer. It is the pearl of great price that is worth a man or woman’s whole life in trade (Mt 13:44). Lay down your life for what he has for you.
Expert Overview of Psalms
Biblical Translations of Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.