The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. - Psalm 16:5
Wow! I really had to study this one out. It's not that the phrase "the Lord is my portion" is uncommon throughout the Bible. Here are just a few other places this concept is mentioned:
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. - Psalm 73:26
Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words. - Psalm 119:57
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. - Lamentations 3:24
Okay, so the Lord is my portion, but when I hear that word, my mind immediately goes to "portion control" as in limiting my intake of food. To me, a portion means "a part of something," and in that case, the fact that the Lord is my portion doesn't really seem all that grand. But in this context, the definition is altogether different, and the point here isn't that God is a part of us but rather that He is our everything!
When the Lord led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, He told them to divide the land between eleven of the twelve tribes. The last tribe, the Levites, were not given an inheritance of the land because they were the priests and were called to spend their days cultivating a knowledge of the Word of God rather than cultivating the land. At first reading, it sounds a little strange, maybe even unfair. After all, it's like saying, "Okay, you guys will do a great work for me, and you will be my special servants, but you don't get any land like the rest of the tribes." Sounds like a raw deal, right? We think that a higher calling means a greater reward. In a sense, that was the case for the Levites. Look at what God said:
Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him.
No, they didn't get land, but they had something better: God. And in that, they had everything they needed.
The point here can really be understood when reading through Psalm 73. This is one of those passages in the Bible where I simply nod my head and say, "Amen, I feel your pain, brother!"
Asaph is confused. He's living right but has little to show for it. Meanwhile, the wicked are living it up and getting more wealthy and prosperous all the time. To him, it seems as if the worldly crowd is being rewarded for their evil, and Asaph just doesn't get it. (Ever been there?) As he sorts through these feelings and pours his heart out to God, he suddenly has a life-changing realization—it doesn't matter what the wicked have. It doesn't matter what they don't have.
All that matters is that he has the Lord, and with Him, Asaph is satisfied.
It's easy to get caught up in the comparison game, looking at what others have and we don't. It could be wealth, houses, cars, position or anything else that turns us a rather unattractive shade of green. And I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes wonder if God is really paying attention because if He were, some of this mess wouldn't be going on. The wicked would be the ones suffering instead of the Godly.
Our finite minds can't make sense of God's ways, but we can trust that God is our portion. He can never be taken from us, and He really is all we need. As I type, there is a melody floating in the back of my mind.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I love that song, and I love it even more now that I truly understand what I'm singing. Why should we be discouraged when Jesus is our portion? Why should we feel lonely when Jesus is our portion? Why should we be discontent when Jesus is our portion? Why should we be anything but joyful and thankful when Jesus is our portion?
The Lord is our portion. Even if He's all we have, we'll find He's all we need!