“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I was looking this morning for “Christian quotes about seeking God,” and came upon this scripture reference:
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.”
Mmmm. Yes. He is so good to me, no doubt. Look at all the blessings He has given me!
I wanted more reminders of God’s blessings upon me, because I am His. Reading the whole chapter, I came upon this perfect gem:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘“The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.'”
Great is His faithfulness! His mercies never come to an end!
But wait. “The LORD is my portion.” What exactly does that mean?
A quick word study in BlueLetterBible.org reveals the Hebrew word translated “portion” literally means one’s portion or share, one’s part, or one’s territory. Very simple.
The Old Testament writers were inheritance- and land-oriented, and how land and property was apportioned or allotted was a big deal. Upon someone’s death, all of his property — his land, his wealth, and even his wife! — was considered when deciding who and what each heir would receive as their “portion.”
Opportunity abounded for jealousy, envy, covetousness and family division.
When the Israelites entered the beautiful land of Canaan 40 years after God set them free from slavery in Egypt, each of the 12 tribes was allotted a portion of that land. Some of the allotment was probably “better” than others. And there were pagans living in the land, too. Would you have wanted your land to be right next to pagan land?
But what did the tribe of Levi receive when ownership of land was allotted?
“The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them.” Deuteronomy 18:1-2 (Read “How was God Himself the inheritance of the Levites?”)
No land ownership for the Levites, because their inheritance was God. And their allotment, their territory, their portion and share was the greatest portion of all.
Would I have thought that was “the greatest portion”? Doubtful. After being part of that nomadic 40 year journey of wandering through the desert while God prepared His people for their destination, I would have been more than ready to settle down and start building my house and my wealth, growing crops, raising animals, getting comfortable, setting myself up with everything I need, looking forward and planning how to build my wealth so my family has a nice inheritance when I die. Thanking God for all His blessings, of course, and living a life of gratitude. Knowing everything I had was a gift from God. Remembering what life was like in the desert.
But the Levites didn’t get anything like that. No worldly wealth of land was to be had, enjoyed, inherited, or bequeathed.
I wonder if any of the Levites secretly harbored some envy?
What does it mean for God to be one’s “portion”?
“When a biblical writer says, ‘God is my portion,’ he means that God is the source of his happiness and blessing. He is content with all that the Lord is and provides. He has the best inheritance imaginable and does not seek any possession or comfort outside of God. Riches, honor, friends and fame—nothing is as valuable as the promises of God. ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ (Psalm 73:26, NASB). If God is our portion, we need nothing else.” (From “What does it mean to say that God is my portion?”)
I’m reminded of the interaction Jesus had with the rich young man who asked Him how to be saved. “I have kept all the commandments,” he said. Jesus challenged him on the greatest commandment: to love God with all your heart, mind and strength. Literally, to worship and serve no other gods but God.
“Go and sell all you have, and give it to the poor.”
The man walked away, sad. His worldly property was the supreme focus of his life. Comfort and wealth is what he worshiped and served, when it came right down to it.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and money.”
I really hope he changed his mind. I know it must’ve been incredibly hard to do. When I look at all the tangible blessings and gifts God has given me, I want to hold on to them for as long as I can.
This morning, I want to make sure God really is my portion, and wherever He’s not, I want to lay that down to follow Jesus with my whole heart. Not just a portion of my heart. I want to give Him all of my heart, all of my life, everything I have. I’m thinking about that today.
What about you? Is God your portion? Is He the greatest portion?
Joyful in Hope,