The Lord Is My Portion

Lamentations 3:24 “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

“Portion” is an important Old Testament word for understanding God’s loving relationship with his people. When forty years of wandering in the desert were over, and Joshua finally brought the people into the land we know as Israel, each family received its own piece of land. This was that family’s “portion,” a kind of gift and inheritance from God. Your house, your yard, your farm were to be constant reminders that you had a place in the Lord’s extended family.

One tribe didn’t receive the same kind of “portion” as everyone else. The families from the tribe of Levi received much less land. They got scattered towns and villages all across the country. But God had chosen them as temple workers. Every one of them had a job to do in supporting the worship and sacrifices. Because they had been given this special connection with his work and worship, the Lord told them that he himself was their “portion.” They had something more direct than a piece of property to remind them of their place in God’s family. More than anyone else they were immersed in the system of worship that kept God’s love and promises in front of their eyes. In the message communicated in the preaching and sacrifices, the Lord was giving them himself. He was their “portion.”

Of course, the other people also went to the temple. They heard the preaching and participated in the sacrifices, if not as much. The idea grew that God gave himself to the people of this nation in a special way, that he was the “portion” for all of them. For Jeremiah, remembering “the Lord is my portion” was an important reason for hope.

This is no less true for us. By describing himself as our portion, the Lord shows us that he is a self-giving God. He makes himself a “self-gift” to us. That finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus. In telling the story of Jesus’ birth, the gospel writer Matthew reminds us that Jesus is “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” God was giving himself to us when Jesus came to earth. During his ministry Jesus taught his disciples about the reason he came. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He came to give us himself as the ransom that sets us free. He kept that promise months later when he let himself be arrested without cause, refused to defend himself at his trial, and allowed himself to be falsely convicted and crucified. His death on the cross, and all the many spiritual blessings flowing from it–forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, power for faith and a new life, admission to heaven, life that never ends– this is our portion. In Jesus God is giving us his very self.

Now Jesus promises to be with us always. He is here, even if we can’t see him. The Lord is my portion. He gives his people the Holy Spirit and he lives in our hearts by faith. The Lord is my portion. He comes to me in his word, he spends time with me when I receive his body and blood in his Supper. The Lord is my portion.

Someday he will welcome me into heaven. He will wipe the very last tear from my eyes with his own hands. He will sit me at his table, and we will feast forever and ever. The Lord will be my portion forever and ever.

The God Jeremiah worshiped, the God we know as Jesus, give us more than property, money, health, family, friends, a life to enjoy. He says, “Here. I am yours.” He gives himself. That is the chief part, the great blessing, of the portion he has given us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s