Psalm 119:57
This may be understood either way: as the portion which God gives his people - he bestows himself upon them; or the portion which they choose and claim. Probably the latter is the meaning here. They have turned their backs on the world as a portion, and have resolved that as for them they will be the Lord's, and he shall be theirs. Accordingly, we have given here sundry signs and effects of God being his people's Portion.

I. APPROPRIATION. The word "my" denotes that. Until our faith in God advances to this personal appropriation of him, it will not do much for us. We must believe in God, not only as a Portion for his people, but each one of us must be able to say, "He is my Portion" (cf. Psalm 91:2).

II. CONSECRATION AND CONFESSION. "I have said that I would," etc. (ver. 57). Not only is there the inward resolve to live the life of obedience, but the open avowal thereof. Wonderful is the increased hold of God which confessing him gives to the soul.

III. SUPPLICATION. "More of God is the soul's craving and cry; with the whole heart his favor is entreated (ver. 58). The hunger after God grows by what it feeds on. God is the One only satisfying Portion of the soul (cf. Psalm 63:1, 2). His loving-kindness is deemed better than life.

IV. CONSIDERATION. There will be the thinking on our ways. We shall consider them, examine them, hold them up to the light, so as to see if they be what God would have them be. And such consideration will be followed by its proper consequence - it will not stop short with itself, but will go on, and that speedily (ver. 60), to the practical result of turning our feet unto," etc. (ver. 59). There is much consideration which never advances so far as this, much thought which never bears this blessed fruit. Then there will be -

V. CONSOLATION. This ever follows, never precedes, such practical consideration as that just spoken of. But it does follow. There will be trials to be met, and burdens to be borne, and many temptations; but there will be support and consolation abundant (vers. 61, 62).

VI. ASSOCIATION. The instinct of the regenerate soul is to find others like itself They will associate, let the cost be what it may.

VII. ASPIRATION. The soul recognizes how full the earth is of God's mercy. It would enjoy more for itself. - S.C.







Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep Thy words.
A man's portion is that which he deliberately chooses as the chief object of his life, that on which he concentrates" his thought, bestows his energy, lavishes his affection; that which in turn colours him, moulds him. No man need tell us in so many words what is his portion, his life is an eloquent proclamation of that fact. The sensualist who wallows in mire writes this message like the mark of the beast across his brow, "Lust is my portion." The pleasure-seeker, whose one thought is selfish gratification, and who flits from gaiety to gaiety like a short-lived butterfly from flower to flower, announces by his whole bearing, "Enjoyment is my portion." The avaricious man, whether known as a miser or not, as he surveys the golden pile and smiles over his ever-fattening bank account, tells you, heedless of his shrinking soul, that Mammon is his portion. The student, as he betakes himself to some sequestered nook where he can quiz the angel Truth, and secure sweet whispers from her lips, quietly asseverates, "Learning is my portion." It may help us to realize how rich we are in God if I name a feature or two of this portion.

I. IT IS SPIRITUAL. One of the saddest phases of life to-day is the disparagement and denial of the spiritual nature of man. The body is too much in evidence to be denied or disparaged. The mind, too, comes in for a good measure of attention, but our real self, our upper self, our spiritual part, has meagre attention. Some deny the existence of the soul, others treat it just as though it were not; and there can be no doubt that the soul of many is an undiscovered world. Yet, in spite of our bad treatment of it, our spiritual nature will assert itself, — "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God." I am not to be put off with matter. It is no use sending ms to Nature — singing streams, flowery meadows, towering hills, shining stars, beauteous phenomena, shifting scenes of splendour cannot satisfy me. I am not to be put off with mind. It is no use sending me to books. I am a person, and only a person can satisfy me. I am a spirit, and only the spiritual can meet my mighty longings. I am immortal, and only the eternal can be enough for me. And so it comes to pass, the moment a man discovers himself, he feels that no earthly portion can cover the whole of his necessity, can slake the whole of his thirst, and so he looks heavenwards, stretches out his little hands to grasp the hands of the Infinite One, and cries, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, there is none upon the earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever."

II. IT IS PRESENT. The psalmist was not thinking of a far away patrimony which would be his when the river we call death should be crossed. God was then his treasure — "Thou art my portion." And we have not to think of God as an estate which we have to die to realize in some distant heaven. That kind of feeling has wrought incalculable mischief in numberless Christian lives. There are those who conceive of their portion as wholly yonder, and they doom the present to sheer emptiness. Be not deceived. The whole of our heaven is not there, a good slice of it is hero. Yonder is the tree of life, but the branches hang over the wall, and the grapes are not too high to be sour. Whatever God will be to us in heaven He is to us in large measure on earth. We need not go through the world as paupers, seeing we have such treasure at hand, Our life need not be a wilderness waste, a flowerless garden, a waterless well, a bankrupt bank, a sunless day, since God is ours. Let us appropriate our treasures; let us seek a present heaven; let us believe that we have in God an unspeakable fund of blessing — a present love, higher than the heavens, deeper than the sea, broader than the earth, and closer than the atmosphere; a present joy, keeping the heart young and warm, the face bright, the tongue musical; a present peace, keeping the soul unchafed and the life tranquil amid the strife of unfriendly voices; and a present grace enough for our sorest need, our darkest hour.

III. IT IS PERMANENT. Many portions are precarious, perishable, evanescent. Millionaires have ore this seen their mountain of gold vanish. Grand estates have exchanged hands by a stroke of the pen. A great preacher says, "Nothing really belongs to a man if it can be taken from him. What we may lose we can scarcely be said to have. The only thing that is worth calling mine is something that so passes into and saturates the very substance of my soul; that, like a piece of cloth dyed in the grain, as long as two threads hold together, the tint will be there. That is how God gives Us Himself, and nothing can take Him out of a man's soul." As the sun gives itself to the flower, nourishing, painting, and perfecting it, so God gives Himself unto the soul that trusts in Him. We may have all that belongs to God in perpetual possession. He and all He has are ours every day alike.

IV. IT IS SATISFYING. Pleasure, does that satisfy? It never did; it never can. Xerxes felt, when surfeited with his indulgences, that something more was wanted, and offered a reward to the man who would invent a new pleasure. Wealth, does that satisfy? Nay, it rather breeds dissatisfaction. Social distinctions and worldly honours, are these satisfying?

(W. Pearce.)

1. Observe the close connection between privilege and duty. "Thou art my portion, O Lord;" this is an unspeakable happiness. "I have said that I would keep Thy words" — this is the fitting return for such a blessing. Every mercy given us of the Lord brings with it a claim which we ought in gratitude to recognize.

2. Notice very carefully the order in which the privilege and the duty are arranged. The blessing of grace is first and the fruit of gratitude next. The grace given is the root and the resolve is the fruit growing out of it.

3. Each possession not only involves service, but appropriate service, even as each plant bears its own flower. The general principle which calls for service bears a particular application, for each particular Gospel benefit is linked with some special Gospel service. The unspeakable boon of having God for our portion has here fastened to it the peculiar excellence of keeping God's words.

I. THE INFINITE POSSESION. "Thou art my portion, O Lord."

1. A clear distinction. The psalmist declares the Lord to be his portion in distinction to the portion of the ungodly. The seventy-third psalm gives a full and particular description of the ungodly in their prime and glory, when "their eyes stand out with fatness," and "they have more than heart can wish." But David did not desire to share their short-lived joys, he sought his happiness elsewhere, looking to the Creator rather than the creatures and to eternity rather than time.

2. The positive claim — "Thou art my portion, O Lord." He deliberately declares this in the silence of his soul. As for the ungodly, they are boasting of their prosperity, they are girding themselves with pride as with a golden chain; but I dare not seek my joy in such matters, "Thou art my portion, O Lord." You see he speaks in the present tense. "Thou art my portion, O Lord." There are some things which I have not received as yet, but I have already laid hold upon my God. At this hour "My Beloved is mine, and I am His." I know whom I have believed, and I know that He has given Himself to me as I have given myself to Him. Beyond a doubt, Thou art at this very moment my portion, O Lord.

3. The portion itself. "Thou."

(1)What a boundless portion.

(2)How abiding it is.

(3)An appropriate portion, in every way suitable go content the soul.

(4)In the fullest degree satisfying.

(5)An elevating portion.

(6)If God be my portion, then my portion is all of grace, for no one can merit God.

II. THE APPROPRIATE RESOLUTION.

1. The preface, "I have said." Why did he not put it, "Thou art my portion, O Lord; I will keep Thy words"? No, he writes "I have said it," which means deliberation. He had thought over his happiness in having such a portion. What then? His thoughts began to stir within Him and to devise a fit expression for his gratitude, and he at last said, "I will keep Thy words." It was no hasty thought, but a determined resolve. I suppose he also means that he had given a distinct pledge. He had opened his mouth to the Lord, and could not go back.

2. The link between the portion possessed and the resolution made: it is not very difficult to discover. God is best known to us by His words. His works reveal Him by a reflected light as ,the moon, but His words display Him by a direct light as a very sun of light to us. How do I know God except by His words? The God of the inspired Word is our God, and because this God is our portion, and we know Him by His words, therefore have we said we will keep His words.

3. What is this work of keeping God's words?

(1)First, then, there is a Word which above all is to be kept, enshrined in the heart and obeyed in the life. "In the beginning was the Word." That very name, "the Word," given to Christ puts the highest honour upon every other word of revelation. Beware of trifling or being negligent towards any word of the Lord, since Jesus Christ is the chief and sum of the words of God.

(2)The word of the Gospel.

(3)Doctrines.

(4)Precepts.

(5)Promises.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Homilist
What is the portion of a good man? Nothing less than the Lord Himself.

I. This is an ALL-COMPREHENSIVE "portion." It embraces everything else: all good in this life and for ever. The man who can say, "The Lord is mine," can say, "All things are mine."

II. This is a SOUL-SATISFYING "portion." Nothing short of this can satisfy the soul. Man's spiritual nature has a deep hunger that the whole universe cannot satisfy, that nothing but God Himself can appease.

III. This is an IMPERISHABLE "portion." All inheritances of the earth will pass away, the kingdoms of the world will vanish as a cloud.

IV. This is an ATTAINABLE "portion." There are but few men in any generation that can attain an earthly inheritance of any value; but here is a portion open to all, He of[ors Himself "Seek the Lord while He may be found."

(Homilist,)

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