Lamentations 3:24
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him."
Sermons
The Portion of the GodlyJ.R. Thomson Lamentations 3:24
Those Who have Jehovah for Their PortionD. Young Lamentations 3:24
A Memorial of God's MercyChristian AgeLamentations 3:22-24
God's Mercies RecognisedAmos R. Wells.Lamentations 3:22-24
God's Mercy AcknowledgedW. D. Horwood.Lamentations 3:22-24
Innumerable MerciesMark Guy Pearse.Lamentations 3:22-24
Man Living by MercyJ. Parker, D. D.Lamentations 3:22-24
Manifold MercyLamentations 3:22-24
Man's Desert and God's CompassionD. Wilcox.Lamentations 3:22-24
Mercy and FaithfulnessJohn Hambleton, M. A.Lamentations 3:22-24
PreservationE. Hoare, M. A.Lamentations 3:22-24
Profitable DisciplineJ. Parker, D. D.Lamentations 3:22-24
The Perennial Stream of Divine CompassionJ. Trapp.Lamentations 3:22-24
The Unfailing Goodness of GodW. F. Adeney, M. A.Lamentations 3:22-24
Choice PortionsLamentations 3:24-26
Christ is Our PortionPhilip Henry.Lamentations 3:24-26
God Our PortionG. D. Mudie.Lamentations 3:24-26
God the Portion of His PeopleS. Lavington.Lamentations 3:24-26
God the Portion of the SoulR. Hall, M. A.Lamentations 3:24-26
Hope in the LordBishop Kavanagh.Lamentations 3:24-26
The Believer's Hope in God, and Waiting for His SalvationLamentations 3:24-26
The Highest GoodHomilistLamentations 3:24-26
The Hope Which Fails NotR. Cecil.Lamentations 3:24-26
The Portions of the Unbeliever and Believer ContrastedR. W. Kyle, B. A.Lamentations 3:24-26
The Saint's Exhaustless PortionT. L. Cuyler.Lamentations 3:24-26
The Soul's All-Sufficient PortionLamentations 3:24-26
The Sustaining Power of Hope in GodJohn Laidlaw, D. D.Lamentations 3:24-26
The True PortionJ. Walker, D. D.Lamentations 3:24-26
When the land of promise was divided among the tribes of Israel, no inheritance was assigned to one of the number, viz. the tribe of Levi. It appeared good to Divine wisdom that the consecrated and sacerdotal tribe should be distributed among the population, and that a regular provision should be made for their maintenance. To reconcile the Levites to their lot, it was declared to them by Jehovah himself that he was their Portion. The language here appropriated by the prophet, as his faith and hope revive, is language which every true servant of God may take to himself.

I. THE LORD IS AN INCOMPARABLE AND UNRIVALLED PORTION. Without the Divine favour, the greatest, the wealthiest, the most prosperous, are poor; with this favour, the lowliest and the penniless are rich. For that which pertains to the soul exceeds in value that which is external; circumstances are not unimportant, but to the just and reflective mind they are inferior to what is spiritual.

II. THE LORD IS A SUFFICIENT AND SATISFYING PORTION. With what jubilant, triumphant exultation did the psalmist exclaim, "The Lord is the Portion of mine inheritance, and my cup"! He who made and redeemed the soul can alone fully satisfy and supply it. Well might the apostle assure his Christian readers, "All things are yours;" and well might he reason for their encouragement, "Shall not God with Christ also freely give you all things?"

III. THE LORD IS AN ETERNAL PORTION. Whilst "riches take to themselves wings and fly away," whilst "the bubble reputation" bursts, whilst death levels the kings of the earth with the beggars, - the spiritual possessions of the pious remain undiminished in preciousness. In fact, the true value of the Portion of the godly can only be known in eternity. Here the estate is in reversion; there it is fully possessed and everlastingly enjoyed. - T.







The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in Him.
I. GOD IS THE PORTION OF EVERY ONE OF HIS PEOPLE.

1. What may be said of God as the portion of His people? He is —

(1)A most suitable portion to them.

(2)An all-sufficient portion.

(3)An infinite portion.

(4)As the portion of His people, He is most safe and secure to them.

(5)He is an eternal, durable portion.

(6)As the result of all this, He is a satisfying portion: What we can never be weary of, or desire to change.

2. Every one of God's people has a special interest in Him as his. How He comes to be so? There is a mutual claim, and 'tis brought about by something on each side; on God's part and on theirs.(1) On God's part, it is owing to His own love resolving to raise them to the highest happiness. This He has done from all eternity (Psalm 103:17; Ephesians 1:3, 4). To make way for this, His Son is given to die for them. God expressly makes over Himself in the covenant of grace to be theirs, saying, I am God All-Sufficient, and your God: And to every individual believer, I am, and will be Thine: One whom thou hast an interest in, and may'st call thy own.(2) On His people's part, they accept of Him as such; having their minds enlightened by HIS Spirit to discern what a portion God is, how much preferable to all others, and their wills sweetly bowed to choose and close with Him.

II. THE SOUL THAT HAS THE LORD FOR HIS PORTION HAS ABUNDANT ENCOURAGEMENT TO HOPE IN HIM.

1. Under an affecting sense of the Church's sufferings.

2. When low and despised in the world, exercised with pressing necessities and straits, the soul that can say, The Lord is my portion, may take encouragement to hope in Him.

3. When walking in darkness, and seeing no light, the soul that can say, The Lord is my portion, has encouragement still to hope in Him.

4. When buffeted by Satan, the soul that has the Lord for his portion has reason also to hope in Him.

5. The people of God are not exempted from afflictions: But when these are their lot their interest in God is sufficient for their support.

6. The righteous must die as well as others: but, under the apprehensions of this, the interest he hath in God is a solid ground of hope.

III. PRAYER AND PATIENCE ARE TO BE THE COMPANIONS OF HOPE IN THE PEOPLE OF GOD, TO BOTH WHICH THEY HAVE A POWERFUL ARGUMENT IN HIS GOODNESS.

1. The people of God are a generation that seek Him.

2. Everyone that seeks God aright has his soul engaged in the work.

3. They whose souls are engaged in seeking God, will and ought to wait for Him.

4. The goodness of God is a powerful argument to engage His people to seek to Him, and wait for Him.

IV. NO SERVANT OF GOD SHALL BE A LOSER BY HIM; BUT EVERY ONE OF THEM BE LED TO OWN AT LAST THAT IT IS GOOD TO HOPE AND QUIETLY WAIT FOR HIS SALVATION.

1. What is included in the salvation waited for?

(1)A salvation from every kind and degree of evil; sin, temptation, the troubles of this world, and future everlasting miseries (Revelation 21:3, 4).

(2)A being put into a possession of all good.

2. Consider it under its engaging title, the salvation of the Lord.

(1)It is a salvation worthy of him (Hebrews 11:16).

(2)It is designed, prepared, and promised by Him.

(3)It is a salvation that will consist in the enjoyment of God; dwelling in His presence under the light of His countenance, the freest communications of His love and goodness, filling the soul with that fulness of joy, which nothing short of possession can acquaint us with.

3. What is implied in hoping, and patiently waiting for it?

(1)Having the heart fixed by faith on the salvation of God as real, though out of sight.

(2)A firm persuasion, that the salvation of God will come at last, though for a time deferred.

(3)Expecting God's salvation in His time; depending upon His wisdom to choose the fittest season, and His faithfulness to remember us when that season comes.

(4)Serious care to he found ready whenever called to enter upon the salvation of God we have been waiting for.

4. In what respects may it be said to be good, thus to hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God?

(1)As it redounds to God's glory; as it is a testimony to His power and grace, as what bears us up during our stay in this world, and fully provides for our complete blessedness.

(2)As it may encourage others to put in for a share in the salvation of God; by the hope of which we are borne up amidst the difficulties of the present state, and enabled patiently to wait for the salvation of God in a better.

(3)As it will be comfortable to ourselves, disposing us to meet the will of God in a becoming manner.Application —

1. Does every one of God's people say from His soul the Lord is my portion? Hence learn that real religion is an inward thing; and the power of it lies in what passes between Heaven and the heart, in transactions that only God and the soul can be witnesses to.

2. Does every one that comes into the number of the people of God say from his soul, The Lord is my portion? Of what importance is it to inquire what is the language, the sense, of my soul?

3. How great and amiable is the change that grace hath made on every saint, in leading him to take up the language of the text as his own, The Lord is my portion; and thereupon to hope, and quietly wait. for his salvation.

4. If you have chosen God for your portion, living and dying, hope in Him as such.

5. But how may it be known when this is said in truth?(1) Where any say in truth, The Lord is my portion, they have been so far sensible of His worth, and their own need of Him, as to be incapable of being satisfied without Him, or taking up with anything else?(2) The soul that has said, the Lord is his portion, has entered into covenant with Him.(3) Where the soul says, The Lord is my portion, it loves Him, above all, or with a superlative affection.(4) The soul that saith, The Lord is my portion, values communion with Him more than any sensible enjoyment.(5) The soul that saith, The Lord is my portion, cannot but delight and rejoice, so far as apprehended to be so, and is greatly thankful for the direction and grace that inclined and enabled him to make the happy choice which he would not now exchange for all the world.(6) The soul that saith, The Lord is my portion, feels the greatest grief for the apprehended loss of Him, or when in the dark as to an interest in Him.(7) The soul that saith, The Lord is my portion, will, by prayer and supplication, frequently go to Him, and be more earnest for His favour and grace than for any lower good.(8) The soul that saith, the Lord is his portion, will make Him the ground of his trust and triumph, when outward comforts may be withdrawn or denied (Habakkuk 3:17, 18).(9) Where the soul saith, The Lord is my portion, there will he a care to please and serve Him with the inward man, and a fear to offend Him, even in the thoughts, or things that do not come under the eye of the world.(10) The soul that says, The Lord is my portion, is breathing after that world and state where it shall have the full enjoyment of Him; and frequently, with pleasure, taken up in the believing thoughts and hopes of it; as its chief felicity will then begin, when this world is to be forever left, and all lower sensual delights at an end.

(D. Wilcox.)

(with Deuteronomy 32:9): — The love of God changes us into its own image, so that what the Lord saith concerning us, we also can declare concerning Him. God is love essentially, and when this essential love shines forth freely upon us, we reflect it back upon Him. The Lord loveth His people, and we love Him because He first loved us; He hath chosen His saints, and they also have made Him their chosen heritage.

I. "THE LORD'S PORTION IS HIS PEOPLE."

1. The Church of God is the Lord's own peculiar and special property. The whole world is God's by common right, He is Lord of the manor of the universe; but His Church is HIS garden, His cultivated and fenced field, and if He should give up His rights to all the rest of the wide earth, yet He never could relinquish His rights to HIS separated inheritance. "The Lord's portion is His people." How are they His?(1) By His own sovereign choice. As our text says, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance, or as the Hebrew has it, "the cord" of His inheritance, in allusion to the old custom of measuring out lots by a line of cord; so by line and by lot the Lord has marked off His own chosen people, "and they shall be Mine, saith the Lord, in the day when I make up My jewels."(2) By purchase. He has bought and paid for them to the utmost farthing, hence about His title there can be no dispute.(3) By conquest.(a) Upon your necks, Oh, ye tyrants of the Church, hath the Anointed put His feet; He hath dashed you in pieces with His own right hand!(b) We are Christ's this day by conquest in us. What a battle He had in us before we would be won!

2. The saints are the objects of the Lord's especial care. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole world," — with what object? — "to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." The wheels of Providence are full of eyes; but in what direction are they gazing? Why, that all things may "work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." It is sweet to reflect how careful God is of His Church. We are jealous of our eyes, but the Lord keeps His people as the apple of His eye. What a wonderful affection birds have for their young; they will sooner die than let their little ones be destroyed! But like as an eagle fluttereth over her nest, so doth the Lord cover His people, and as birds flying so doth the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem. What love a true husband has for his spouse! How much rather would he suffer than that she should grieve! And just such love hath God towards His Church. Oh, how He careth for her; how He provideth for her as a king should provide for his own queen! How He watcheth all her footsteps; guardeth all her motions; and hath her at all times beneath His eye, and protected by His hand.

3. The Church is the object of the Lord's special joy, for a man's portion is that in which he takes delight. See what terms He uses; He calls them His dwelling place. "In Jewry is God known, His name is great in Israel, in Salem also is tabernacle, and His dwelling place is Zion." "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for HIS habitation." Where is man most at ease? why, at home. Beloved, the Church is God's home; and as at home a man unbends himself, takes his pleasure, manifests himself to his children as he does not unto strangers, so in the Church the Lord unbendeth Himself, condescendingly manifesting Himself to them as He doth not unto the world. We are expressly told that the Church is the Lord's rest. "This is My rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it." As if all the world beside were His workshop, and His Church His rest. Yet further, there is an unrivalled picture in the Word where the Lord is even represented as singing with joy over His people. who could have conceived of the Eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Once more, remember that the Lord represents Himself as married to His Church. The joy and love of the young honeymoon of married life is but a faint picture of the complacency and delight God always has in His people.

4. God's people are His everlasting possession. There is an allusion here to the division of the portions among the different tribes. There was a law made, that if any man should lose his inheritance by debt, or should be driven to the necessity of selling it, yet at the year of jubilee it always came back again to him; so that you see no Israelite ever lost his portion. Now, God maps out for Himself His people. He says, "These are My portion"; and think you God will lose His portion? They are His, and they shall be His while time lasts; and when time ends, and eternity rolls on, He never can, He never will, cast away His chosen people.

II. "THE LORD IS MY PORTION, SAITH MY SOUL."

1. This implies that true believers have the Lord as their sole portion. It is not, "The Lord is partly my portion," not "The Lord is in my portion"; but He Himself makes up the sum total of my soul's inheritance. When Martin Luther had a large sum of money sent to him, he gave it all away directly to the poor, for he said, "O Lord, Thou shalt never put me off with my portion in this life." Now, when God's children receive anything in the way of gift from Providence, they thank God for it, and endeavour to use it for His honour and glory, but they still insist upon it that this is not their portion. St. was wont very often to pray, "Lord, give me Thyself." A less portion than this would be unsatisfactory. Not God's grace merely, nor His love; all these come into the portion, but "the Lord is my portion, saith my soul."

2. As God is our only portion, so He is our own portion: "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul." Come, brethren, have you got a personal grip of this portion? Are you sure it is yours? We have heard of a great man who once took a poor believer and said, "Do you look over there to those hills." "Yes, sir." "Well, all that is mine; that farm yonder, and that yonder, and beyond that river over there — it is all mine." "Ah," said the other — "look at yonder little cottage, that is where I live, and even that is not mine, for I have to hire it, and yet I am richer than you, for I can point up yonder and say — there lies my inheritance, in heaven's unmeasured space, and let you look as far as ever you can you cannot see the limit of my heritage, nor find out where it ends nor where it begins." Oh, what a blessing it is if you and I can say, "He is my heritage!"

3. The Lord is to His people an inherited portion. "If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ;" but if not children, then not heirs, and the heritage cannot be yours.

4. This heritage is also ours by choice. We have chosen God to be our heritage. Better to have Christ and a fiery faggot, than to lose Him and wear a royal robe. Better Christ and the old Mamertine dungeon of the Apostle Paul, than to be without Christ and live in the palace of Caesar.

5. God is His people's settled portion. Heaven and earth may pass away, but the covenant grace shall not be removed. The covenant of day and night may be broken; the waters may again cover the earth, sooner than the decree of grace be frustrated.

6. The Lord is my all-sufficient portion. God fills Himself; and as Manton says, "If God is all-sufficient in Himself, He must be all-sufficient for us;" and then he uses this figure — "That which fills an ocean will fill a bucket; that which will fill a gallon will fill a pint; those revenues that will defray an emperor's expenses are enough for a beggar or a poor man; so, when the Lord Himself is satisfied with Himself, and it is His happiness to enjoy Himself, there needs no more, there is enough in God to satisfy."

7. I think I may add — and the experience of every believer will bear me out — we have today a portion in which we take intense delight. I tried in a poor way to show that God had a delight in His people. Beloved, do not His people, when they are in a right state of heart, have an intense delight in Him? Here we can bathe our souls: here we riot and revel in inexhaustible luxuriance of delight; here our spirit stretches her wings and mounts like an eagle; here she expands herself, and only wishes she were more capacious, and therefore she cries, "Lord, expand me, enlarge my heart, that I may hold more of Thee." Often have we felt in the spirit with Rutherford, when he cried, "Lord, make me a heart as large as heaven, that I may hold Thee in it! But since the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, Lord, make my soul as wide as seven heavens, that I may contain Thy fulness."

8. This is to the saints of God an eternal portion. Indeed, it is in the world to come that believers shall have their portion. Here they have none except trials and troubles; "in the world ye shall have tribulation." But as God cannot be seen, and as He is the believer's portion, so their portion cannot be seen. It is a good remark of an excellent commentator upon that passage, "For which cause He is not ashamed to be called their God." He writes to this effect: "If it were only for this world, God would be ashamed to be called His people's God, for HIS adversaries would say, 'Look at those people, how tried they are, what troubles they have, who is their God? and,' saith he, 'the Lord speaks as if He might be ashamed to be called their God, if this life were all'; but the Scripture says, 'Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city:'" Thus may the Lord turn upon His enemies, and say, "I am their God, and although I do chasten them sore, and lead them through the deep waters, yet see what I am preparing for them — see them as they shall be when I shall wipe all tears from their eyes, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." Hence it is in the prospect of bliss so ecstatic, joy so boundless, glory so eternal, that He is not ashamed to be called their God.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A BELIEVER'S PORTION.

1. The word "portion" is sometimes taken for a piece or part of a thing, be it a less part or a bigger part. Now our heavenly Father hath made comfortable provision, set by a competent portion for every child of His, and that portion is Christ. He hath not divided Christ among them, given a part of Him to one, and a part of Him to another. Is Christ divided? No; hut He hath given Him all, all wholly and entirely to each one of them, so that each one may say, all Christ is mine, mine to all intents and purposes.

2. What in Christ is a believer's portion? All that He is, and all that He hath, both as God, and as God-man.(1) As God. All His wisdom, and power, and goodness is theirs. I say theirs, to be employed for their best benefit and advantage.(2) As God-man; as Mediator. His merit and righteousness is theirs for justification; His blood for reconciliation; His sufferings and death to make atonement. His spirit and grace are theirs for sanctification; of His fulness they receive (John 1:16). His comforts are theirs, to revive and refresh them when they are sad and drooping (Isaiah 50:4). His Word is for their guidance and direction in all their doubts and difficulties, like the pillar of cloud and fire. His presence is theirs, for their preservation and protection in all their perils and dangers (Genesis 15:1). His crown, and throne, and kingdom are theirs, eternally to reward them (Revelation 3:21).

3. What kind of portion is Christ?(1) In general, He is a worthy portion — allusion to 1 Samuel 1:5 — that is, a dainty, delicate portion, excelling all other; none like it, worthy of all acceptation, that is, to be readily accepted of, and closed with by each of us as soon as offered.(2) In particular, He is a soul portion — as here, He is my portion, saith my soul. The portion of my heart (Psalm 73:26), of my spirit, my inner man. A sufficient portion. There is enough in Him, enough and enough again to make us all happy. Merit enough, spirit enough, grace enough, glory enough. He is El Shaddai — God, that is enough (Genesis 17:1). A satisfying portion. The soul that hath Him will own and acknowledge it hath enough (Psalm 116:7). A sweet portion — exceedingly pleasant and delightful. It doth not only satisfy the soul that hath it, but fills it with joy unspeakable, and full of glory (Psalm 16:5, 6). A suitable portion. If it were not suitable it would not be sweet; if not proper, not pleasant. A sure portion (Isaiah 55:3). A part in Christ is, therefore, a good part, nay, the best part, because it cannot be taken away from us.

II. INFERENCES.

1. Then it follows that Christ is a rich Christ, who hath wherewithal to portion such abundance of people, as in all ages and generations have been portioned by Him. The apostle calls it the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). He is a bottomless mine of merit and spirit; a boundless ocean of righteousness and strength; a full fountain of grace and comfort.

2. Then all that are true believers are really and truly rich people.

3. Then how much doth it concern us all to make this portion ours. May we do so? We certainly may, each of us. But how? By a sincere, hearty, deliberate choice of it. Choose it, and thou shalt have it. Thus Mary did (Luke 10:42).

4. There are four sorts of persons who should especially hearken to this motion.(1) Those that are young. The days of your youth are the days of your choice, your choosing days. Now choose Christ (Ecclesiastes 12:1).(2) Those that are poor, and low in the world. The less we have on earth the more need there is to make heaven sure; lest we should be doubly poor, poor here, and forever miserable.(3) Those that are convinced, whose eyes are m some measure opened, whose hearts God hath touched.(4) Those that have children (Genesis 17:7).

5. Then if Christ be our portion, and we can make out our title upon good grounds, and that we have thus chosen, then it is our duty to hope in Him; as here. "Therefore will I hope in Him," rely upon Him, trust to Him. If He be thy portion, He may well be thy hope, thy refuge.(1) A refuge — as to the things of this life. Thou art well provided for, thou shalt want no good thing (Psalm 34:10; Psalm 142:5).(2) A refuge — as to our everlasting condition (1 Corinthians 15:19).

6. Then we should carry it as those whose souls can say the Lord Christ is their portion. In all holy obedience before Him (Psalm 119:57), fearing to offend Him, caring to please Him.

(Philip Henry.)

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY A PORTION AND WHAT SORT OF A PORTION GOD IS. The word is taken from the distribution of Canaan, by which each of the Israelites had a quantity of ground assigned to him and his heirs. This they called their portion (2 Kings 9:21). According to this explanation, it is not what a man has originally of his own, but something assigned to him, by special gift or course of law. So God is the portion of the saints; not from any original right or property which they have in Him, but by His own particular and gracious appointment. God also is the portion of His people, as they have a peculiar interest in Him, of which they can never be deprived. As a portion also is that which we chiefly depend upon for our maintenance, so is God, in a spiritual respect, to His people. His favour is their life. In answer to the inquiry, what kind of a portion God is, I reply, first, that He is a spiritual portion; and for that reason little valued or sought after by the world. Let the rich man glory in his riches, "my soul shall make her boast in the Lord": let the sensualist talk of his pleasures, "the Lord is my portion, saith my soul." He is a sufficient as well as a spiritual portion: every way complete; and adequate to all the wants and desires of His creatures. The Lord is also a sure portion; and in our fluctuating world, this is a circumstance particularly interesting and encouraging. Earthly possessions and enjoyments are so precarious, that there is no dependence on them for a moment. But our Divine portion is subject to no such accidents; it is secured to us by an unchangeable covenant. The Lord is therefore an eternal portion. "He is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." After this, I may very well add, that He is a transcendent portion, excellent and glorious beyond all comparison.

II. HOW CAME THE LORD TO BE THE PORTION OF HIS CREATURES?

1. First, by free gift on God's part. We durst not have asked such a thing. Or, if we had, what could we have expected, hut to have our petition rejected, and our presumption and rashness punished with severity? But what we durst not ask, God has freely bestowed.

2. It is, secondly, by free choice on man's part. What God gives, we must receive; not with a cold indifference, as if we did not care whether we had it or not; but with eagerness, gratitude, and joy.

3. I add, thirdly, that it is by the gracious mediation of Christ on both parts. Whenever, therefore, you are rejoicing in the Lord as your portion, and are happy in the pledges of His presence and favour, bless God for Jesus Christ; and ascribe all to "the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He has made us accepted in the beloved."

III. WHAT BELIEVERS MAY HOPE FROM GOD AS THEIR PORTION. They are not to hope for a total exemption from trouble. "No!" Can any that are acquainted with the Word of God, and the nature of His covenant, expect any such exemption? Is it any where promised, or hinted, that God's people shall be so privileged? But if we must not hope for an exemption from present trouble, what may we hope for? I answer, that we may expect present support and subsistence. You may hope that if your sufferings for Christ abound, your consolation by Christ shall much more abound; that if outward comforts drop off, He will grant you better instead of them; and that when He cuts off the stream, He will give you nearer access to the fountain. You may hope that when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with you, and that His rod and staff shall comfort you. In short, you may hope that goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life, and that you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

1. If God then is the portion of His people, we infer that they are richer and happier than the world supposes them to be.

2. Is God the only satisfying portion, then the men of the world are not so happy as they appear. Not so happy! — Alas! they are in the most miserable condition.

3. Let us seriously inquire whether the Lord be our portion or not.

4. "Walk worthy" of your portion. It would be a shame for a prince to appear like a beggar; for one who is heir to a crown, to herd with the lowest of the people; and it would be equally disgraceful for you, whose treasure is in heaven, to be as vain and trifling, as careful and troubled about many things, as those who have no hope in the favour of God.

(S. Lavington.)

I. HOW DOES THE LORD BECOME OUR PORTION?

1. By showing us our poverty. Sin has blotted out its amiable excellencies, and robbed the soul of all its original treasure. Poor is the Christless master of a world. Men think, with talents and honour and power, the soul is rich; but, alas! in it there is a meagre poverty.

2. By enlarging our capacities and improvements.

3. By giving Himself.

II. THE EVIDENCE WE HAVE WITHIN US OF THAT DIVINE PORTION. The expression, "Saith my soul," is fraught with instruction "He that believeth hath the witness in himself." It is not what we hear or read or pray, that can tell us we are Christians; it is some conviction of the soul within us, not founded in presumption, nor arising from pride, but founded in knowledge, and arising from humility.

1. It speaks in meditation: not in noisy pleasure, in sallies of wit, in the hour of feasting, nor in the fascination of indulgence, which things are so dangerous to the Christian, since they confuse his religious feeling, introduce fears and doubts, and even stop for a time communion with God; but in meditation, when the thoughts are turned inwards — then the voice of the soul is heard.

2. It speaks in prayer: not in that fluency and happy way of expression which some have in prayer; not in apparent zeal, nor in aptness in quoting Scripture, — all these are nothing, except the soul is engaged in prayer. A thought, or a sigh, or a devout breathing of spirit will mount to the throne of God sometimes sooner than the wordy and eloquent appeal.

3. It speaks in trouble. Jeremiah was placed in circumstances of no common oppression, and he said, "Remembering mine affliction," etc. (ver. 19). It is in such a moment, when everything seen is found to be but vanity and vexation of spirit; when death stalks by us clad in his own terrific honours, and when our own careworn, sinful, oppressed hearts are ready to sink before the piercing eye of the Judge of the whole earth, — it is in such a moment that the renewed soul is heard uttering the convictions of its safety.

III. THE EFFECT IT PRODUCES ON THE BELIEVING MIND. "Therefore will I hope in Him." "He that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as Christ is pure." That man awfully deceives himself who fancies he has any claim to a portion in God, and yet lives in sin. Those who have that portion, will earnestly pray after increased sanctification of the spirit, through the belief of the truth.

(G. D. Mudie.)

I. IMPORT OF THE WORDS.

1. A "portion" denotes whatever constitutes the stable and permanent source of our chief enjoyment, as distinguished from an occasional and transient benefit. The prophet rests in God as his portion; places on God his expectation of good; concentrates all his hopes and affections, all the sentiments of confidence and complacence, on Him, and on Him alone.

2. In a "portion" two qualities are requisite: protection from evil, and supply of good; it should be a shield to defend and a sun to bless us: and "the Lord God is a sun and a shield; He will give grace and glory, and no good thing will He withhold."

3. Though God alone is fit to be the portion of any of His creatures, He is not such to any, unless they choose Him. Till He is fixed upon as such, and preferred to all beside, we have no part or lot in His favour and perfections.

II. THOSE QUALITIES IN THE DIVINE BEING WHICH RECOMMEND HIM TO US AS OUR PORTION AND ABUNDANTLY JUSTIFY THE CHOICE WHICH HIS PEOPLE HAVE MADE.

1. That only is fit to be the portion of any rational being, which is congenial with the nature of the mind. That which is not fitted for his thinking powers can never be the portion of a thinking being. And as we are spiritual, nothing that is not such can be our real good. The benefits and gifts of providence are not sufficient; the Divine Being Himself is required to satisfy the desires of His people: they see that, in His nature and character, which alone can fill their souls.

2. The portion which we want must be one that can make us perfectly happy. Give a man all the world, he will not be satisfied; "the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing"; the passions of sensuality, avarice, or ambition, are never satisfied by indulgence. But the Divine Being opens a field of joy in which we may expatiate to all eternity! for He is the original of all good; never can we exhaust the pleasures that arise from His power, directed by His goodness; pleasures which must satisfy every desire.

3. A portion must be, not only valuable in itself, but communicable to us. Many things may be admired, which are not communicable; they may be fit for others, yet not fit for us. But God is infinitely communicable: He has the disposition, and He has the power, to disclose Him. self, to approximate Himself to His creatures.

4. A portion must be something present with us, something that we can bear about with us, and use whenever we desire. And such a portion is God! His presence is always near; "He is not a God afar off, but a God that is nigh!" His ear is always open to hear, His hand always stretched out to save us. As the stars, in consequence of their magnitude and elevation, are seen alike in places the most distant from each other; so God is the same to all His people; His presence is equally enjoyed by them in every scene.

5. That which is worthy to be our portion should be something unchangeable in its nature, not exposed to uncertain fluctuations. An things around us change. Where we expected most, we are often most disappointed. But God is the same now, as in all past generations; and Jesus Christ, in whom He manifests Himself as the Saviour of them that believe, "is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

6. A portion, to be perfect, must be eternal in its duration, capable of surviving every change. Here the difference between God and all beside must be strikingly apparent to all.

7. In choosing God for our portion, we return to our ancient course, we reclaim and re-enjoy our original inheritance. "Return unto thy rest, O my soul!"

(R. Hall, M. A.)

Homilist.
I. MAN'S POSSESSION OF THE HIGHEST GOOD. "The Lord is my portion." What does this mean? How can man finite possess the infinite? To possess a person is to possess the love and friendship of another. The little child possesses his parents, he has their hearts. The father may be a monarch, swaying his sceptre over millions, yet the child has him, and with his lisping tongue he may say, "That monarch is mine, I have his heart." Thus a good man possesses the infinite. This wonderful possession —

1. Answers the profoundest cravings of human nature.

2. Consummates the bliss of human nature.

II. MAN'S ASSURANCE OF THE HIGHEST GOOD. "Saith my soul." Man is a duality. In his nature there is the auditor and speaker. How does the soul give this assurance?

1. By its reasoning. Its logic conducts to the conclusion —

(1)That God gives Himself to souls of a certain character.

(2)That it is in possession of that identical character.

2. By its consciousness. Wherever there is genuine godliness, there is, I believe, an impression apart from all reasoning of God's love and friendship.

III. MAN'S CONFIDENCE IN THE HIGHEST GOOD. "Therefore will I hope in Him." To trust in Him is to trust —

1. In infinite love.

2. In infallible wisdom.

3. In almighty power.

4. In unchanging all-sufficiency.

(Homilist.)

I. THE AUTHORITY UPON WHICH GOD IS CLAIMED AS THE PORTION OF GOOD MEN. It is high language for worms of the earth — sinners. Not natural relation, for that has been forfeited by sin. Not Church privileges. The Jews were mistaken in claiming the favour of God on account of Abraham, Moses, the law, and the covenant, and the promises.

1. God claims His people by right of purchase. As Christ has purchased believers for God, so He hath purchased God for believers; hence they are called "heirs of God." He is —

(1)Of infinite power to support.

(2)Of infinite wisdom to direct.

(3)Of infinite goodness to supply.

2. He calls His people His portion, because they choose Him; and we call Him our portion, because He chooses us.

II. THE ADVANTAGES OF SUCH AN ATTAINMENT.

1. Abundant and never-failing in its produce.

2. Satisfying in its enjoyments.

3. Eternal in possession.

III. THE DUTIES RESULTING FROM THIS RELATION.

1. Thankful acknowledgment. "The lines are fallen," etc. These thankful acknowledgments are made in private and in public.

2. Dependence upon God for every spiritual supply. As a man upon his portion.

3. To reside in it — dwell in God.

4. Defend your possession.

5. Delight in it.

(J. Walker, D. D.)

I. In considering THE PORTION OF THE UNBELIEVER. God has placed before us things temporal and things eternal, as containing all that He has in store for the sons of men; and the unbeliever ever chooses his portion from some one or other of the things which are temporal But whilst there is but one way to God, there are many ways from Him; whilst we have only one method of pleasing Him, there are innumerable methods of "pleasing the flesh."

1. Pleasure, or at least what is called by that name, is the portion chosen by many; and it consists in self-indulgence in whatever form is most suited to the lusts of each carnal mind. They have chosen an empty, a worthless portion. The things after which they long, the things for which they have forsaken God, cannot support them in the hour of death, or in the day of judgment.

2. But whilst these are choosing a portion of sell indulgence, there are others who choose one of self-denial, which is not the less, on that account, an ungodly and a worldly portion. Their choice is covetousness, their portion is riches. Amongst them you may find those who are called the wise, the prudent, and the industrious, giving their diligence to everything except to make their calling and election sure. Oh! what a poor portion for an immortal being is this! It has required labour and self-denial in the acquisition; it has required care and anxiety and watchfulness in the possession; and death comes, and tears it from the grasp of the poor wretch who has desired nothing better.

3. Others seek for their portion in human applause, and the admiration which one worm bestows upon another. They can despise sensuality, they can hold riches in contempt, but praise and worldly distinction are dear to them. Let such a vainglorious sinner as this be but talked of by his fellow sinners: let him be pointed at, and wondered at; and he has obtained his portion. And for this, which is but the breath of a worm, an immortal being is ready to make the most unremitting exertions, and to face the most appalling dangers.

4. Akin to this is another portion often chosen by the unbeliever — knowledge. The desire for this is not sinful in itself, for knowledge is certainly both useful and desirable; but when it is sought merely for its own sake, and when it is unsanctified by the Holy Spirit, it is only an idol which draws away our hearts from God, and, as such, is an injury, not a blessing, to him who attains to it.

II. THE PORTION OF THE CHRISTIAN. Pleasure, riches, fame, and knowledge, have been aimed at by the unbeliever; and for a time he has acquired, or rather seemed to acquire them: the Christian has been enabled by Divine grace to say, "The Lord is my portion," and he has acquired all these things for eternity. Whilst sensuality ever brings with it disappointment and disgust, the Christian has a comfort from above to cheer him. He has heard that voice which says, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee"; and as the sense of unpardoned sin had ever been his heaviest affliction, so his greatest pleasure arises from his being enabled to say, "O Lord, I will praise Thee; though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortest me." Then, as he goes on, by Divine grace, walking in the ways of the Lord, how sweet to feel the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit that he is the child of God; to be taught day by day that God's dealings with him are all in mercy and in love; that his very afflictions are tokens of kindness, and that his "Heavenly Father is making all things to work together for his good"!

(R. W. Kyle, B. A.)

If God is all-sufficient in Himself, He must be all-sufficient for us. That which fills an ocean will fill a bucket; that which will fill a gallon will fill a pint; those revenues that will defray an emperor's expenses are enough for a beggar or a poor man; so, when the Lord Himself is satisfied with Himself, and it is His happiness to enjoy Himself, there needs no more, there is enough in God to satisfy.

( T. Manton.)

To little brooks men have often gone in seasons of drought, and found only a parched bed, cracked open with the heat. But who ever saw the Atlantic low? What ship ever failed to sail for Liverpool through lack of water? When some one urged old John Jacob Astor to subscribe for a certain object, and told him that his own son had subscribed to it already, the old man replied very dryly, "Ah, he has got a rich father." You and I have a rich Father too. You are an heir of the King of kings.

(T. L. Cuyler.)

Therefore will I hope in Him
A man having a soul must worship something as a God; he must look upon something as the source of supply, of protection, of reliance, and trust; and if you do not give him a God in revelation, he will go to work and make one. We want a God whom we can adore. What is the character of the God of the Bible? He comes rolling up to us in infinite grandeur from of old, from everlasting: His date is eternal. Then look at His character — how sublime! He is represented as being universally present. That gives us the idea of infinite spirituality. He fills all space, is everywhere, and has this peculiar characteristic, that He can bring all the perfections of His nature to every point in space. wherever He is, He is there the Almighty, the all-knowing, and the infinitely wise and good God. Well, now, from the universality of His presence and knowledge, He is enabled to be the God of providence. He can interpose where He sees the necessity, and where you call upon Him according to His promise to interpose in your behalf, and superintend your wants. Well, then, we have a God who can do everything, who is everywhere, and who is infinite in mind and in knowledge. Thank God, He knows everything. I think the sublimest commentary upon the knowledge of God is the declaration that He inhabiteth eternity. We have a natural admiration for that which we feel to be infinitely greater than ourselves. The fact is we feel it toward men in a measure; but as our minds expand a little we detect mistakes and see that men are not so great as we thought, and as we go on a little further we find that they do not know so much as we supposed they did; so that these men keep going down as we keep going up. We detect many errors in their policy and in their reasoning; and we find that they are nothing but men. Not so in the study of our God, who has never made a mistake. We have never detected a point of ignorance in the great Jehovah. The further we look into His works, the grander they appear; and the further we look into the Word, how much fuller it is than we perceived at first! As our minds expand they only catch glances of the infinite sweep of His mind, which rolls on to interminable meanings, and culminates in designs worth the infinite resources and plans of the infinite God of the universe. Now, if I want something to adore, give me God. I adore Him in the exercise of His power, in the displays of His wisdom, in the fountain of His goodness, and in the plans that He has projected for my own well-being. I adore Him that He has a remedial system going on over the infirmities and calamities of mankind that will terminate in the resurrection. I adore God as an infinite, spiritual, and intelligent Being, who made the whole universe, and who is full of power and goodness. That is not all I adore Him for. The text says, "Therefore will I hope in Him." I see His resources, His plans, and His purposes, and I will hope in Him. Paul celebrates God as the God of hope. This God has given me capacity to know, has given promises and ground of hope, and has also arranged everything that pertains to hope. He has authorised me to hope for eternal life, for unbounded wealth, for glory, honour, and immortality; to look to the coming period when my head shall be crowned with life, and my hand palmed with victory; when my soul shall be home in glory in the presence of God, where there is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. He authorises me to hope for the triumph over all my enemies, to look for the rest that remains to the people of God, and to anticipate association with the sweetest society in the universe. What sort of hopes has God arranged for? Christians have the highest hopes of any other class of beings that belong to this world. The politician hopes to reach the presidential chair, and he knows there is only one chance out of many millions, and that it is no great thing when he gets it at last, for it is mixed with heavy burdens, terrible responsibilities, and a torrent of perpetual abuse. The Christian hopes for a victory over all things; he hopes to ascend in glory, and to enter into the rest that remaineth for the people of God; he hopes for a kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. Again, our God is not only the God of hope; but He is also the God of all grace. It was to pardon guilty persons, to purify defiled souls, and to provide an inheritance adequate to the wants of His children; it was to help their infirmities, to comfort them in their distress, to enlighten them in their darkness and ignorance, to solace them with the comforts of holiness, and fit them for glory. He is the God of all grace; He has formed this system of salvation, and carries it out until we are saved from sin, trouble, toil, poverty, and ignorance.

(Bishop Kavanagh.)

A crew of fifteen men once left a burning ship in mid-Pacific. They were thousands of miles from land. They left the ship so hastily that they had no time to take oars, or sail, or any other tackle or gear with which to produce motion. They were only able to snatch at some food and water. They lived for six weeks in that boat, and the last three-and-twenty days they dreamed every night of feasting, and woke every morning to the same starving comrades, vacant waters — for they passed no ships — and desolate sky. Yet these men never lost their courage, because they perceived from the outset that their boat was in the current of an equatorial ocean, a current which those who knew the geography of the sea were aware would slowly but surely carry them at last to land, which it did. Sometimes the patience of hope in the Christian life has to be exercised in that way. No oar and no sail; no strength and no light; for many days neither sun nor moon nor stars appearing, but only the magnet of faith pointing steadily to the Rock of Ages, and the current of eternal nature of Him who is what He is, bearing us on to the promised land.

(John Laidlaw, D. D.)

An able seaman once said to me, "In fierce storms we have but one resource: we keep the ship in a certain position. We cannot act in any way but this. We fix her head to the wind; and in this way we weather the storm." This is a picture of the Christian. He endeavours to put himself in a certain position. "My hope and help are in God." The man who has learnt this piece of heavenly navigation shall weather the storms of time and of eternity. This confidence has supported thousands in perilous situations — where others would have given up all in despair.

(R. Cecil.)

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