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Thursday, January 12, 2023

Lamentations 3:24

"The Lord Is My Portion"

Message summary: If God is our portion, we need nothing else!

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“'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him'” (Lamentations 3:24). "The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot" (Psalm 16:5). "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26).
"I cry to you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living'” (Psalm 142:5).

This week we are in a series of "Five Assurances For the New Year" based on Lamentations 3. Today let us consider Assurance #4: "The Lord Is My Portion".

"Portion" is not a word I normally use in a theological sense. I tend to use the word when I'm thinking of a meal portion. I used to like large portions but these last several weeks the smaller the better, and sometimes none at all!

But as seen from the selection of daily texts it is a word used in the Bible several times to describe God as the source of all our blessings, our portion. Some versions use "inheritance" taken from the Hebrew word.

In today's main text from Lamentations Jeremiah follows up on his declaration of God's steadfast love, unending mercies and great faithfulness with his own inner thoughts; "'The Lord is my portion', says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him'”.

Other versions state:

Deep in my heart I say, “The Lord is all I need; I can depend on him!” (CEV)
“The Lord is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him.” (NIRV)

Dr. Robert Godrey of Ligonier comments that the phrase "The Lord is my portion" occurs frequently in the Psalms and is often an expression of the piety of the heart of the psalmist and of the people of God. He considers its roots are in Israel entering the promised land. "Each tribe was promised a portion of the land. So, 'portion' originally meant the land of Israel. But when they got to Levi, as recorded in Numbers 18, the Lord said, 'Levi will not have a portion of the land,' but Moses said to Levi, 'The Lord will be your portion'.

The idea is that the Lord would provide directly for Levi through the temple and through the tithes and offerings of Israel, rather than land, which the people would have to work and cultivate to derive their sustenance. So, it’s originally an idea about the Lord providing intimately and directly for a part of His people. And I think that phrase so appealed to Israel, and should so appeal to us, that the pious just took it up and said: “I want the Lord to be my portion. It’s not so much that I care about my portion in the land. What I care about is that the Lord should be my portion.

And so, it’s great for us, I think, as the people of God to look at the world, to be thankful for whatever the Lord gives us in this world, but to have our fundamental faith rest in the conviction that the Lord is enough and that the Lord is our portion."

But also note these three words, "Says my soul". Jeremiah seems to be hearing himself preach from deep within or perhaps he is saying it aloud to not only think such thoughts but to hear them spoken as well. We need to preach to ourselves, reminding and reinforcing Biblical truths.

We enjoy a newer song titled, "Faithful Now" with a line that especially blesses us:

"I will speak to my fear, Oh, I will preach to my doubt."
  • Let us speak to our fears by recalling the many times in God's Word when He declares "fear not".
  • Let us preach to our doubts, by reminding ourselves of the character and faithfulness of God.
  • Let us hear our soul say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him”.
The gotquestions teaching site expounds on "God is my portion":

When a biblical writer says, “God is my portion,” he means that he is content with all that the Lord is and provides. He has the best inheritance imaginable and does not seek any possession or comfort outside of God. Riches, honor, friends and fame—nothing is as valuable as the promises of God. “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).  If God is our portion, we need nothing else!

Hallelujah what a Savior
My Redeemer my reward
Hallelujah endless treasure
My delight forevermore

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as I live out my time here on this earth, I'm so glad that I belong to You. You hold my right hand and guide me with Your continuous presence and daily bread which is leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but You and I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail and my spirit may even grow weak, but Father, You remain the strength of my heart and You are my portion forever. My Refuge, my Fortress and my Deliverer, I will joyfully tell of Your mighty works as I seek to finish well until You call me to my eternal home. Amen.

(See Psalm 73:25-26)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Portion"  Video  Shane and Shane

"Faithful Now"  Video  Vertical Worship

"He Will Hold Me Fast"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

Brief update on Stephen's health from Brooksyne:  (For full story about our first week in 2023 that included Stephen's surgery and hospitalization see footnote in Monday's message.) Stephen continues to slowly recover from his abdominal surgery last week. He is very easily fatigued thus these messages take longer to prepare.

Thank you, dear friends! With the many many emails, text, comments, cards, notes, calls, kind actions and assurances of your prayers on our behalf we are tremendously blessed and grateful for your support these past two weeks. We are also overwhelmed! We cannot adequately express our thanks in the personal way we like to do as it would overwhelm us, but we want to assure you that your words and actions have strengthened and supported us, brought smiles to our faces even in the midst of painful moments, and helped us to live in a state of thankfulness for the body of Christ. It makes all the difference when God walks with us and brings alongside us our compassionate brothers and sisters who walk with us on this path of adversity.

On our New England trip last year I (Brooksyne) found a Salesian Collection of poetry. It's a set of three 5"x8" books styled much like Ideals Publications magazine with lovely illustrative artwork on each page. I've drawn a lot of comfort, guidance and encouragement from these poems and will share just one poem with you today that has spoken to my heart in recent days. Taken from "Garden of Poems" printed in 1986 featuring poems written by mostly common folks like you and me but also famous hymn writers and such:

Good Shepherd

In pastures of tender grass,
Beside waters of quietness
Thou resteth my soul.

In paths of beauty
Where only Thou couldst be,
Thou walketh beside me.

Though shadows of adversity
Should stalk my path
No evil can befall,
For Thou art ever with me.

In the midst of crowds,
Confusion, or misunderstanding,
Thou anointest me with peace;
My cup of gratitude runneth over.

So Thou art ever
Within the castle of my soul,
For Thy love and mercy
Endureth forever,
Good Shepherd.

                           - Velta Myrle Allen

Finally today: Among the many sources of encouragement we have received we were blessed by this singing voicemail from special friends.  Audio

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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