Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What a Portion!

"God now brings thee to His dwelling,
Spreads for thee His feast divine,
Bids thee welcome, ever telling
What a portion there is thine."
~J. Denham Smith

I suppose all of us find ourselves, at times, being discontented with our lot in life. No matter how blessed we are, we can always point to something that we don't have, which others are enjoying. Lately I've been thinking about David's words in Psalm 16:5,6.

"The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me."

Joshua was told by God, "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great River, the Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory." (Joshua 1:3,4) And, having the outer boundaries of their possession thus delineated, the Israelites started walking.

Perhaps David had been gazing at some of the nice things on the other side of the fence--and then realized that it was time for him to start walking, to find out exactly what was within his portion. The first question, of course, was where the outer bounds of his possession lay. And as he thought about it, he realized that he had been given an inheritance beyond the land allotted to his family in Israel. He remembered a day when he had been hiding for his life in a cave, with no plot of land to call his own safe haven. It was the day when he acknowledged a great discovery, "You are... my portion in the land of the living." (Ps. 142:5)

The Lord as his portion! If Israel, with its millions of people, never succeeded in occupying all the land that God allotted to them, how could David--how could we--ever map out the borderlines of our portion, God Himself?

What exactly lies within the boundaries of our portion? David shares some of his discoveries in Psalm 36. He tells us a little about the terrain. There are mountains, lofty and solid and magnificent,--the very righteousness of God. There are great deeps too, the unsearchable judgments of God, under which our sins have been buried by the work of Jesus Christ. All those billows of judgment rolled over Him, and our sins can never be recovered from that great deep to be laid to our charge.

There's a river too, refreshing and sweet, called "the river of Thy delights". When God is our portion, He bids us to drink of that river--to take great gulps, as though trying to drink the river dry. It's root is at "the fountain of life." The early explorers of America died in their search for the fountain of youth, but the Christian has already found God's fountain, eternal life in knowing Him. (John 17:3) The air within that portion is sweet with God's faithfulness and lovingkindness, which extends all the way to the heavens--and how far is that? I'm not too technical; to me, the heavens are what I can see when I crane my head back as far as possible, and look up. At night, our view extends far into the blackness of space, unimpeded by an atmosphere illuminated by sunshine. When everything is darkest, we see the farthest into the depths of His lovingkindness and faithfulness.

The soil of that great portion, flanking the mountains of righteousness and the deeps of judgments, is love. It is in God's love that we as Christians are rooted and grounded. Moreover, the love of Christ extends past the limits of our discovery, in every direction. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

David acknowledged that there were some things that might be outside of his portion. He saw other men, "whose portion is in this life, and whose belly Thou dost fill with treasure; they are satisfied with children..." But as he began to explore all that had been given him for an inheritance, he came to a great conclusion: "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me." The border lines were laid in just the right places. They weren't traced according to cities and landmarks, like the inheritances of the twelve tribes of Israel. Instead, the map of his portion, and of ours too, consists of a giant perimeter--or is there even a perimeter?-- and inside that vast territory, the word, "God".

We'd better start walking!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This reminds me of Spurgeon! I love it!