“My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity.
It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular, or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our own “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. But instead, what we thought would make us whole leaves us feeling even emptier than before.
There’s a better way to live. As David expresses in Psalm 16, when the longings in our hearts threaten to send us on a desperate, futile quest for satisfaction (v. 4), we can remember to turn to God for refuge (v. 1), reminding ourselves that apart from Him we have nothing (v. 2).
And as our eyes stop looking for satisfaction “out there” to gaze instead on God’s beauty (v. 8), we find ourselves finally tasting true contentment—a life of basking in the “joy [of God’s] presence,” walking with Him each moment in “the way of life”—now and forever (v. 11
What’s the thing you often turn to for satisfaction when you lose sight of God? Who can be a source of support and love for you when you feel trapped in your addiction to “more”?
In many psalms, introductory information precedes the actual song. This brief title or superscription sometimes identifies who the composer is and why the song was written (see Psalms 3, 18). The superscription can also provide information regarding dedication, performance, instrumental directions, and musical tunes (see Psalms 6, 7, 56, 60).
The introduction to Psalm 16 identifies it as “a miktam of David.” This annotation also appears in five other psalms (Psalms 56–60). Because Bible scholars don’t agree about what miktam means, most English Bibles make no attempt to translate it. Some think it could simply mean “inscription”; others suggest it designates psalms that deal with atonement for sin because its root word means “to cover.”