Jehovah is the Best Portion
Numbers 18:20 And the LORD said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.”
I’ve always wondered how the Levites felt about not getting an inheritance in the land of Canaan. Here they are, wandering in the wilderness with the other eleven tribes, and God tells them that they won’t get any of the Promised Land. Of course, they’ll have cities to live in, scattered throughout the entire land. But the Levites as a tribe wouldn’t be able to live together in a region all their own.
If I were in their place, my initial reaction would have been one of disappointment. I’ve heard so much about the Promised Land. I’ve eaten the grapes the spies brought back. I’ve seen brief glimpses of it from afar, awash in golden sunlight. This is the land promised to my fathers, the land flowing with milk and honey. Why won’t my tribe get a full inheritance? Did we do something wrong?
I ask these questions in my own life when I feel like the portion I’ve been given is less than others’ portions, as if God ran out of blessings when He got to my plate. Did I do something wrong? Is there a Promised Land that I’ve missed out on somehow? Why do others seem to have so much more than I do?
Even though the Levites knew that God was their portion, their inheritance, I can’t help but wonder whether they felt neglected instead of privileged. As a Christian, though, I’m in the same position; God is my portion. The Christian life, though full of blessings, isn’t normally a life of material prosperity. But our satisfaction and contentment isn’t tied to material things. God does give good gifts to His children, but the beauty of the Promised Land isn’t the milk and the honey, the homes and the cities; the beauty of the Promised Land is the presence of God.
My Choice Portion
Psalm 16:1-5 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
In Psalm 16, David acknowledges that he has no good apart from God. Those who pursue satisfaction in other things will always find themselves lacking. In fact, not only will they find the things they pursue to be empty, but also their sorrows will be multiplied.
In contrast, those who pursue God find Him to be their refuge, their beautiful inheritance. The lines and boundaries that God draws are always and only pleasant and good for His dear children. Rather than choosing empty idols, David chose God, and found Him to be all-sufficient.
My Secure Portion
Psalm 16:7-8 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel, in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Jehovah is also a secure, steadfast portion. He leads and guides His children as they submit their ways to Him. He counsels and instructs them. Even as God led His people in the wilderness with a pillar of fire or of cloud, so He directs the ways of His children. With Jehovah as my portion, I don’t need to fear the circumstances that He allows in my life.
My Joyful Portion
Psalm 16:9-11 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
And finally, Jehovah is a joyful portion. In fact, David says that his whole being rejoiced because God was his portion. This is a joy that surpasses difficult situations in life, hardships, and pain. This is a joy that is complete and whole, because it is rooted in God Himself. And this is a joy that has no end, because for all of eternity we will be in the presence of God, where joy is always overflowing.
I’ll never know what the Levites thought about their inheritance, but I do know that I have the same opportunity as they did. Jehovah can be my chosen, secure, and joyful portion. Even when I’m tempted (as I often am) to be discontent with the gifts that God has given me, the people He’s placed around me, and the places He’s brought me, He is still my portion. He alone will satisfy me, and He alone will fill me. Jehovah is truly the best portion!