The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
The Lord is My Portion…But What Does that Mean?
When I hear the word “portion,” like in verse one, I think about part of a larger dish or of a serving size. My brother got a bigger portion of the cake than I did. Was the psalmist here calling God a small piece of something bigger? From what the rest of the Bible teaches us about God, this doesn’t seem likely (see Isaiah 46:9-10, Colossians 1:17, Revelation 1:8).
So, perhaps “portion” means something else. Another definition from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is this: “an individual’s lot, fate, or fortune.” In other words, it refers to one’s future, and the hope of what is waiting for them down the road.
So if God is not just a piece of something bigger for the person writing this psalm, could He be this person’s hope for the future, this person’s goal at the end of the road?
Have you ever had a “goal at the end of the road?” Maybe your goal was to do really well in a class, so you put more effort into doing your homework than into gaming for hours with your friends. Maybe your goal was to make good, like-minded friends at your new school, so you were deliberate about which crowds you hung out with and which crowds you avoided. Maybe your goal was to not be the brunt of any bully’s jokes, so you chose your words, actions and outfits carefully so as not to draw attention to yourself.
We do this ALL THE TIME. Our goals influence our actions.
This psalm makes us stop and think: is God my goal? Is God the thing that I really want in this life, and are my actions lining up with that?
At this point, we know our Real. Present. God. wants us to be real with Him. So, we confess: God, so often I don’t seek You first like You want me to. I seek after so many other goals. You have not been the goal I have been living for. I’m sorry.
God hears our confession. But instead of distancing himself from us because of our sin, He comes near. God knew that we would not be able to live our lives in full devotion to Him, so He sent His son, Jesus, to be fully devoted on our behalf. Jesus showed us exactly what it looked like to live a life with God as the goal (Matthew 4:10, Luke 22:42, John 4:19). For Jesus, this psalm was true.
Because of Jesus’ goal-inspired actions (His life, death and resurrection on our behalf), we know that God does not hold our sins against us. Through Jesus, God freely gives us Himself as our goal–our future–our inheritance. We have the greatest portion we could ever want: eternity with God.
Jesus, thank You for the future You won for me because of the way You made obedience to Your Father the goal of Your life on earth. Your grace and Your steadfast love amaze me. I know I’m not worthy, but I thank You for this sweet gift. Help me to live my life in obedience to the Father, too. Amen.