“The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot.”
The above text affords the child of God great comfort and assurance as he lives his life as a pilgrim and a stranger in this world. In this Psalm we find the terms lot, portion, and inheritance used repeatedly. All men seek a certain lot in this life, all set their hopes upon a desired portion. What do you seek? What do you want out of life? What do you look for in your present life? These are important questions, and our answers to them are most crucial.
One might answer that he wants a portion of prosperity, of physical strength and health, that he desires not to be troubled or plagued, that he desires that his eyes stand out with fatness and that he may have all that his heart desires. Asaph in Psalm 73 says that, when looking at the portion of the wicked and seeing the above things that the wicked had, his feet had almost slipped. He was tempted to follow their ways because of the portion which was seemingly good. Then God led him into the sanctuary and revealed to him the end of the wicked. But, beloved, there is no grace in things. May God also give us grace to see this. Let us ask the question: What can these above mentioned things really do for the child of God? Do they give peace to our soul which is burdened with sin? Will they help us to manifest the glory of God’s Name in our life’s walk? Do the so-called pleasures of having these things last? We are told that this creation and all in it perishes. Then what good is physical strength, riches or any thing in itself? Can they invoke our hope? Can they give us eternal comfort? Rather it is true that one who sets his hope on these things is never satisfied. Always one needs more, or else is fearful that he will lose what he already has, and he is not at rest. And above all, they can never change the fact that one dies.
However, it is true that all men are concerned with their lot in this life. We are also affected by this concern. We have the need to be satisfied with our life in the midst of the world. This life for man must have purpose and meaning to it. But the wicked seek this satisfaction with life in vain. Then how blessed are the words of the Psalmist. We have a perfect portion, a perfect lot in life! O! It is true that the lot in life before us in this year or in our whole life may be characterized by the other portion received by man as set forth by Asaph in Psalm 73. Asaph said, his portion was being plagued each day, and chastened every morning. Often the child of God’s life is filled with trial and tribulation. In fact we may expect that this will increasingly be our portion in this life as the day of Christ draws nearer. Antichrist shall more and more press upon us as Satan makes his last futile efforts to bring the cause of Christ to naught.
Yet, I say (yet not I, Christ says) that our portion is perfect. This He says in our text when He says the Lord is our portion. Indeed, the children of God have had to face many difficult times. We can think of David who writes this Psalm. David had many enemies. They came against him in many ways; they took counsel together to kill him. His own son turned against him. Further, he had to fight the battles of the Lord throughout his life. However, although many were the tribulations, trials, and temptations of David, he says in Psalm 16, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage.” Besides, it is evident that this Psalm is also Messianic, that is, it directly refers to Christ. What is said here was also said by our Savior. This is evident from the New Testament Scripture in Acts two. And Christ’s way was the way of deepest suffering as He came to bear the burden of our sin. This was the portion of His whole life; but we think especially of our Lord in the garden, sweating great drops as of blood. We see the anguish cross His face as He suffers, the righteous for the unrighteous. We see Him on the cross bearing the very wrath of God to cover the terrible debt of His elect body. Yet too, the portion of our Lord was good, the lines fell unto Him in pleasant places.
We know, therefore, that as children of God we will see much suffering and tribulation in this life. And as we think about this portion in life, we may tend to say it is too hard. The flesh does not enjoy this portion, for it is a lot that does not guarantee any earthly relief. And yet, the Psalmist says it is the portion which is most blessed. For God is our strength and our heritage. This is our confession. Beloved readers, this means that we belong to Jehovah, that we are His people. And all that comes upon us, our God, Who is our Covenant Father in Christ sends us in perfect covenant love. We do not receive a portion in this life haphazardly, but we receive exactly what God sends to us. He is our cup. All that we taste and drink of life is of our covenant Father.
We speak of not just any god, but of Jehovah. This is a wonderful part of our confession. We belong to Jehovah, He is our portion. When we are privileged to hear the true Scripture preached, and the Spirit of our Lord applies that Word unto our hearts so that we live out of it, we are blessed with a most beautiful confession-a confession that gives the child of God confidence in all things. With Jehovah, as our cup, indeed we may live with confidence and assurance in this life no matter what we face. This gave David all he needed in his difficult life. This strengthened Christ in the garden of Gethsemane to go on to the cross. And my readers, elect in Christ, this confession will give you the confidence and strength to fight the battle of faith that lies before you in the time to come.
Jehovah is our covenant God. Do you realize the wonder of this truth? It means that God has loved us from before the foundation of the world. He has chosen us to be His own precious possession. This means that our God will care for us; for He has established His covenant with us in Christ from eternity, to take us into His fellowship and communion. It is therefore His will to make us to experience His blessings and love through Christ Jesus. And His purpose is that all things serve this end.
Secondly, Jehovah is the unchangeable, and thus faithful God. The Lord changes not, therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed. O, we are not worthy of salvation, or of God’s covenant love. We are sinners in and of ourselves. But our God has chosen us in Christ unto true covenant life in Christ. And God is not slack concerning His promises. Because God changes not His promise is always sure. Therefore the child of God may be assured that Jehovah Who is his God in Christ shall protect him and shall deliver him from all sin and evil. And for His sake God will surely send only that portion unto us that shall maintain His promise to save us.
Further, because of His name, Jehovah, we know our God has the power to accomplish the realization of His covenant promise. He is the “I am that I am.” This means that God is dependent upon no one, but rather governs and upholds all things. He does whatsoever He pleases. Thus, His will He accomplishes, and He saves His chosen in Christ.
This confession brings peace, blessing, and joy to us. It is a confession that gives us peace in all of life. When we confess Jehovah to be our portion, it means that God makes us one with Himself in Christ. It means that God gave His only Begotten Son unto death that we might be heirs of eternal life. Then indeed all things work for the good of them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. All that God sends to us is sent in Fatherly care.
How wonderful this word of God’s grace! We have been blessed in a way few others are, as we have been privileged by God to hear this gospel proclaimed unto us. Many hear of a God that is dependent upon the will of man in order to save them. Many hear that all things take place according to a destiny dependent upon, what man does with his life. But then they receive no comfort, they can only face the future in fear and doubt. But, beloved readers, we have so much to be thankful for in a church where the truth of a Psalm such as this is faithfully proclaimed. For as the Spirit applies its truth to our hearts we are given a knowledge of faith that gives us complete confidence and assurance in all the ways of life.
Even more, the Psalmist goes further, and he says that the same Jehovah that is our portion maintains our lot, our inheritance. David, or any child of God, knows the impossibility of man’s maintaining his portion. We are dead in our sins and trespasses by nature. Apart from God we cannot have Jehovah as our portion. We are not capable naturally of laying hold of God or of His Son. We cannot make God our portion. Rather, He must become a portion unto us. God alone can provide us with this blessed lot. It is all one-sided. He chooses us in Christ before the foundation of the world. He sends His only Son to die. Jesus Christ goes alone to the cross that we might receive the blessings which God pours forth. God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts to deliver us from the bondage of our sin. He changes our hearts, making them new so that we are given the power to lay hold on the truths He reveals unto us through the proclamation of the truth. He gives us hearts willing and desirous to serve Him. He guides us by His Spirit and by the Word of Christ to glory. And He sends the perfect portion to serve this end. God maintains our lot!
Surely then we may say with the Psalmist, “the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea I have a goodly heritage.” This line that the Psalmist speaks of is a measuring line, something like a surveyor’s chain. Then you see that Jehovah measures out our portion. He measures out the proper portion for His elect children. He gives us a place in His kingdom. He does so by giving us the means, by drawing us under the true preaching of His Word. Whereby He calls us into His comforting arms and gives us the assurance which is here so beautifully set forth.
It is a most blessed thing that our God has given to us this sound, biblical, Reformed faith to cling to. We have a blessed heritage and portion. We have been made heirs of the kingdom of heaven! Yea, we have a goodly heritage!
Indeed, it is with humility that we must bow down before our God, expecting all things from Him. Then, too, how foolish it would be to be filled with anguish and care. Rather, with contentment and satisfaction we shall receive all things, as from the hand of our covenant God. Let us, therefore, never cease to praise Him, the God Who is alone worthy of all of our praise, honor, and glory.