************ Funeral Sermon on Psalm 16:6 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on April 27, 2019


Psalm
Psalm 16:6
"Pleasant Boundary Lines"
Tena Brouwer Memorial Service

I read Psalm 16 to Tena in one of my last visits with her. I read Psalm 16 to the family after she died. I emphasized what David says in our text about "pleasant boundary lines."

To understand this phrase, we have to go back to the days of Joshua, right after the people of Israel invaded the Promised Land. At that time the land was divided between the twelve tribes of Israel.

The land east of the Jordan, as agreed by Moses, was given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh (see Num 32:1-19). What about the other tribes? Three men from each tribe were sent out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it. The other nine and a half tribes then drew lots to divide the land on the west bank of the River Jordan (see Josh 14:2 & 18:1-10). The first lot went to Benjamin, clan by clan, just north of Jerusalem and Bethlehem (see Josh 18:11ff). The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon, clan by clan, within the territory of Judah (see Josh 19:1ff). Ephraim received the lightly wooded territory in the central hill country while Manasseh took over the hilly land to the north (see Josh 16:1-17:18). And so on. Can you imagine the excitement of each tribe and clan as they were told what was their portion of the Promised Land?

Do we hear complaints by any of the twelve tribes about the land given to them? Whether the land was by the Mediterranean or the Sea of Galilee, the central hill country or the Jordan Valley, the fertile plain or the grapes of the terraced hillside, they all had a portion of the Promised Land -- a land flowing with milk and honey, a land with figs and olives and grapes and grain. Every tribe and every family could say the words of David in Psalm 16:
(Ps 16:6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Pleasant boundary lines. A delightful inheritance.

Let me mention Caleb, one of two faithful and God-fearing spies. His inheritance was Hebron (Josh 15:13ff). Do you remember what the spies took out of the Hebron area? They took a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. The cluster was so big it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them. You know what Caleb would say about his portion of the Promised Land? The words of our text:
(Ps 16:6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

What does this have to do with Tena? She would use the same language to talk about her life on this earth. Yes, there were tragedies and trials in her life, but she loved living on the farm. A couple of times she and I visited as she worked in the flower beds. She enjoyed her apartment at Sierra Village. She was so proud of the way her room at Assisted Living was fixed up. To use the language of the psalmist, she would say,
(Ps 16:6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

And, think of her life now in heaven. Tena died as a believer. So I can tell you, the family and friends of Tena, that at the moment of death her soul was taken immediately to Christ its head (cf vs 10). Revelation describes gates of pearl, golden streets, walls of jasper, and a crystal sea. Meaning what? Meaning the experience of Tena's soul right now is joy, peace, awe, amazement. She is in the presence of the glory and brilliance and light of Christ, the awesomeness of Christ, the power of Christ, the love of Christ.

Paul knew first hand what it means to go to the presence of Christ. He writes,
(2 Cor 12:2,4) I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago ... (4) was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
"It was wonderful," writes Paul, "absolutely wonderful and amazing to be with Jesus."

I have always wondered what Lazarus thought about being raised from the dead. He was enjoying life in heaven and was called back to earth. We have no record of what he saw and experienced but don't you think he could hardly wait to die again?

As Paul and Lazarus and Tena experience life in heaven they all can echo the words of the psalmist:
(Ps 16:6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

And, let's think about the future, after Christ returns. When there is a new heaven and a new earth. When the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, comes down out of heaven. When the soul and the body are reunited with one another. Listen to how Revelation describes that life:
(Rev 21:3-4) "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Do you know what Paul and Lazarus and Tena and every believer will be saying at that time?
(Ps 16:6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

In all this, I want you to realize what it is that Christians delight in. I want you to notice what makes pleasant boundary lines. It is not the Promised Land. It is not the farm or Sierra Village. It is not heaven. It is not the new heaven and new earth. It is God. Listen to verse 2:
(Ps 16:2) I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."
Life is delightful because it is life with God. The boundary lines are pleasant because they include God. To be with God is our highest privilege. And our greatest folly is to try and flee from God.

Notice, the psalmist does not delight in his good deeds or the sacrifices he makes in service to others. He doesn't point to his worship, prayers, songs, or offerings. Instead, his delight is in the Lord. Nothing in this life, nothing that he does, nothing that he has, nothing that he gives, means anything apart from God. What counts, the only thing that counts, is the union, the communion, the fellowship that his soul has with the Almighty. Apart from God, nothing has any meaning.

Tena is with God. She was taken there immediately upon death. But here on earth she lived with God as well. She was in worship twice each Sunday. She celebrated the Lord's Supper. She attended Bible Study. She read her Bible and she prayed. She raised her children in God's ways. Which means that all her life, even during its sorrows and struggles, she knew about pleasant boundary lines and a delightful inheritance -- because it was life with God.

Last week, on Good Friday, we had a celebration of death service. You heard me right: we had a celebration of death service. We rejoiced and celebrated together that Christ died for our sins. On Easter Sunday we had a celebration of life service. We rejoiced and celebrated that Christ arose, that He lives never again to die. Why do I mention this? Because Psalm 16 includes a prophecy about Christ:
(Ps 16:10) you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

It is Peter who explains this prophecy to us in Pentecost Day sermon.
(Acts 2:31) Seeing what was ahead, [David] spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.
The Apostle Paul says something similar as he looks at Psalm 16. Says Paul, "the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay" (Acts 13:37). Paul is talking about Jesus (Acts 13:33). "God raised him from the dead, never to decay ..." (Acts 13:34).

What does this have to do with Tena? Believers are joined to Christ in His death and resurrection. It is only because of Him that our souls go to heaven after death. And, it is only because of Him that someday our body will also be raised. What am I saying? I am saying that pleasant boundary lines and a delightful inheritance are not possible without the death and resurrection of Christ. I am saying that pleasant boundary lines and a delightful inheritance are possible only because of the death and resurrection of Christ. Tena believed in Jesus. And, because she believed in Jesus hers are pleasant boundary lines and a delightful inheritance.

If you don't believe in Jesus, then the boundary lines are not pleasant and your inheritance is not delightful. Anything but. Rather, without Jesus your boundary lines and your inheritance are the fires of hell. So I invite you to come to Jesus. I invite you to come to Him in repentance for your sin. I invite you to come to Him in faith. And when you do, then you can say with David and Paul and Lazarus and Tena,
(Ps 16:6) The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Are these your words?
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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