“The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. I sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your word. I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments. The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances. I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.” – Psalms 119:57-64 NASB
Last week we learned that Jesus is, or should be, our portion and our cup. Through him, we have provision and protection. He is the bread and the cup that brings and sustains life. We reinforced these truths by looking at Deuteronomy 8 and asking ourselves some fundamental questions.
“You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
—We asked ourselves what’s in our hearts? Have we sanctified Christ as Lord, looking to him only as our portion?
“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”
—Acknowledging that God both gives and takes away in order to train us in faith, we asked, “Are we trusting God in this process?” God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Hopefully, we can remain content with what He has given us.
—Do we trust God alone to be our provision, looking to him only for what we need?
“Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
We are God’s children. We are the sheep of His pasture. He’s to be our complete portion. Are we open to being sanctified and disciplined so that we can fully walk in this truth?
Today we’re going to look at this section of Psalm 119 through the lens of God being our portion. The goal is to pull out the practical effects of living by this truth and then commit to it. So let’s begin with the two verses we covered last week.
God as our Portion
“The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:57-58
What we see in these two verses can be outlined as follows: declaration, declaration, declaration, petition. David’s first declaration is that God was his portion. The second, a promise to keep God’s word. Then his third declaration was not only about seeking God but also about how he sought God—“with all his heart.” Finally, and this is our focus, David petitioned God to be gracious according to His word.
I love that David petitioned God for grace. Indeed, grace is unmerited favor, but just like placing faith in Jesus, praying for grace is not some meritorious act. When we put our faith in King Jesus, we are simply admitting we cannot save ourselves. It is not a work to accept what’s true.#Grace is unmerited favor, but like placing #faith in #Jesus, praying for grace is not a meritorious act. We are simply admitting we cannot save ourselves. It is not a work to accept what’s true. Click To Tweet
When we pray for grace, we’re not doing anything to earn it. Instead, we’re acknowledging that God, as the giver, holds discretionary power. If he didn’t hold this power, then it would no longer be grace.
Notice that even with David’s three declarations, he still requested God’s grace, (in some way he has things to “stand” on) but He never demanded it. Although David did boldly approach God’s throne, he never did so with a heart of entitlement.
Does God Care about my Problems?
Another thing I’d like to point out is that David does at least approach God’s throne. It’s easy to think that there are only two options—either we boldly or we brashly approach God (humility or entitlement). But there’s always a third option here, the most common choice as I see it, the choice of not approaching God at all.
There are many reasons for our avoidance. I’ve heard people say that God doesn’t have time for their issues or that their problems are far too small, or that God simply doesn’t care about their concerns.I’ve heard people say that God doesn’t have time for their issues or that their problems are far too small, or that God simply doesn’t care about their concerns. Is that true? Click To Tweet
In the first and second scenarios, God apparently isn’t patient or big enough to shoulder our issues (which is quite absurd). Meanwhile, in the third scenario, there seems to be a lack of faith/trust that God is actually who He claims to be—that is gracious.
In our avoiding God, we’re missing out on the comfort He gives. A comfort that flows because God is both loving and kind; because He is gracious.
I know you already know this, but we’re living in a season of extreme anxiety in America right now. And although we’ve been taught as Christians to cast our cares (a word in Greek that means anxiety) upon God, we often don’t. 1 Peter 5:7 not only calls us to this burden casting, but Peter also gives the reason for it—it was the same for David—we’re to cast our cares upon God because He cares for us.
Cast your Cares
In Psalm 55:22, David himself said, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you;” Why? Because God is a sustainer. Because our God is gracious. Because He is kind.
This is a very practical truth for today—those who believe and declare God to be their portion can and should boldly approach Him, appealing confidently to His mercy. We should never be silent in the face of our need. We should never assume our problems are too small or large for God. We are not taxing His bandwidth, nor are we annoying Him with our concerns. God is not petty or impatient.David himself said, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you;” Why? Because God is a sustainer. Because our God is gracious. Because He is kind. Click To Tweet
Just consider this idea, if you believe your burden is too much (or too little) for God, so much so that you attempt to carry it yourself, are you not actually saying that you are stronger than God?
David’s appeal here also has a built-in filter. “Be gracious to me according to your word.” Here’s another reason we should study God’s word—so that we know when and how God answers. I believe that God has responded to many of our prayers. We just don’t see it his way; therefore, we think it’s unanswered.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and because of that consistency, we can know how God is going to answer or even bless us today. As I shared last week, much of what is being promised here is provision and protection. There’s a problem with thinking beyond or below this. On the one hand, we expect things God never promised, while on the other hand, we expect very little of God. Both are wrong.
If God is our portion, then we are not only okay with his gracious handling of our circumstances, we long for how He will handle them. In the next post, we’ll move onto verses 59 and 60 but for now I’d love to hear how God has been your portion. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.