There are some phrases that come up often in Christianese (that secret language spoken by believers). One of those phrases is “but God is my portion”. Usually, we use that phrase when we’re trying to remind ourselves that we have a good deal even though we don’t feel like it.
But what do we really mean by that phrase? More importantly, how do we get to the point when we start to live as if God is our portion?
What Does the Word Portion Mean?
Before we dive into this concept, let’s look at what the word portion means. The Oxford Dictionary defines portion as “part of a whole” which in general refers to something that has been shared out. So are we saying then that something has been allotted or given to us? Sounds interesting, but let’s dig a little deeper.
A more archaic definition of the word portion is “a person’s lot or destiny”. Now, this sounds interesting, when we say God is our portion are we saying He is our destiny?
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What does it mean for God to be your portion?
If we truly want to understand the meaning of God is my portion, we must look at the word “portion” in Hebrew. The word translated as portion in our English Bibles is the Hebrew word chêleq (pronounced khay’lek). It could also have been translated as inheritance or allotment. If we are going to fully unpack the meaning of this phrase, we will need to revisit the history of Israel.
You may be familiar with the story of Abraham whom God called away from his people in Genesis 12 and told him that he would become a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3).
For a long time, this great nation did not exist, and when they finally came into existence, they had no country to call their own.
The nation of Israel flourished in the time of Joseph and beyond while they dwelled in Egypt (Exodus 1:1-7). A cursory reading of the Bible will prove that Egypt was not the Promised Land. But even when the Israelites had nothing, they had God. He was their inheritance.
We usually think of an inheritance as something that passes from one person to the next on the event of the first person’s death, but in this case, the Israelites had a living inheritance. They had a promise–something they could look forward to and hold on to. Jamaicans would say, “you could take that to the bank”.
The cool thing is that not only did God give the Israelites a legacy, He also calls them the people of His inheritance.
And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day (Deuteronomy 4:19-20 NKJV).
No other nation on earth could claim they had a God who had chosen them. No other nation could claim they had been set apart as priests of the Almighty God.
What is God’s Portion?
God’s portion is a promise. He had promised the Israelites that He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey. He kept His word and they occupied the land (not without some fits and starts) after He delivered them from bondage in Egypt.
But what does that have to do with us? Nothing. We were not promised a physical inheritance here on earth, but we were promised a reward in heaven and in the earth made new.
The Bible is rich with the promise of redemption from Genesis to Revelation. We are reminded that God is our portion over and over. God has promised to save us from our sins and will reward us for our faithfulness when His Son returns.
Why We Struggle to Believe that God Is Our Portion
Have you ever noticed how it seems as though the persons who don’t serve God are more blessed than those who do? You could have this deep, intimate relationship with your Creator, going where He leads and doing what He asks, and still struggle to pay your bills every month.
But the man who’s at the bar from sundown to sun up flourishes. Sometimes it seems like we’re playing opposites: that man owns a slightly used car while you can’t afford to miss the staff bus because your budget doesn’t include fare to work.
He owns a newly-built house while you’re still living at home with your parents. It just doesn’t seem fair!
Humanity seems to have an intrinsic need–post-sin–to compare ourselves to each other. We saw Cain becoming angry when his offering did not receive the same approval as his brother’s (Genesis 4:4-5).
Jacob envied his brother Esau for his birthright (Genesis 29:25-33).
Even the disciples of Christ scrabbled over who would be the greatest among them (Luke 22:24).
I believe Psalm 73 perfectly verbalizes the struggle we feel when we see unbelievers prosper while we fail to thrive. (I encourage you to take a few minutes to read or listen to this psalm).
Asaph found himself envying the boastful man and looking at the prosperity of the wicked. It seemed to him as though the wicked men had lives that were calm and peaceful and that they had more than they could ever want.
They were able to scoff at God (Psalm 73:11) with seemingly little or no consequences while he, a man who pursued God with his whole heart, was constantly being chastened by the Lord (Psalm 73:13).
I know how that feels, don’t you? It seems as if those who flaunt their distaste for God are the ones who flourish and do well, while the faithful struggle to survive.
Reasons We Can Celebrate that God Is Our Portion
But there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye. The Lord is my portion–this is not something we should say when we’re trying to console ourselves about what we may or may not have. It’s a reason to celebrate. Here are 5 reasons we should celebrate that the Lord is our portion.
1. God’s timing is perfect and He is good to them that wait patiently.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him (Lamentations 3:24-25 ESV).
It may seem as if God is not working because we don’t always know or understand what He does, but God has a plan. God’s plan will be fulfilled at the right time. In the meantime, all we have to do is continue to have faith in Him and believe that He knows what He’s doing.
2. The wicked will reap their reward.
It may seem as though the ungodly are thriving while the righteous perish, but there will come a time when each man is rewarded (or punished) for the choices he made in this life.
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself (Ezekiel 18:20 ESV).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV).
I don’t know about you, but I want to be on the right side when Jesus comes. I’d hate to be one of the people who hear those horrible words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23).
3. God is always with us.
One of the reasons we get so perplexed by the thought of our struggles here on earth is because we feel as if no one can understand what we’re going through. Worse, it feels as if we’re going through the struggle all by ourselves. God knows we don’t do alone well.
If you look at the story of creation, you’ll notice there was only one occasion of God saying something was not good and that was regarding Adam’s single status (Genesis 2:18). That’s why He has promised never to leave us alone.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73:23-24 NKJV)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
I’ve always loved the image of God’s righteous right hand. For me, it means He’s giving us the best of the best. If God is giving you His very best, what more could you need?
4. God will supply all your needs.
It sounds like a fairytale, doesn’t it? I can see you looking around and thinking about all the things you don’t have, of all the things you need, or think you need and you wonder if God is really supplying your needs. I’ve been there. I still have those moments sometimes.
But you want to know something? In those times when I’m able to focus fully on God all my earthly needs vanish. I forget to think about what I don’t have and instead focus on who God is.
Just think, God knows you so intimately He has numbered every hair on your head. I doubt that’s a project you’d undertake any time soon. Yet, this is what your Creator says about you. I think someone who loves you that much has your very best interest at heart, and because He does, He will give you everything that you need.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Psalm 37:25 KJV).
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 ESV).
A word of warning about this promise, God will give you what He knows you need, not what you believe you need. And His agenda has eternity in mind so He looks at things differently than you do.
5. God will always be enough.
While this is similar to the reason above, it is so much more. To begin to understand what I mean, let’s look at some of the things the Bible says about God the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is our:
- Comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3)
- Healer (Exodus 15:26)
- Provider (Genesis 22:14)
- Redeemer (Isaiah 47:4)
- Friend (John 15:15)
- Father (Psalm 103:13)
- Priest (Hebrews 4:14)
- Advocate (1 John 2:1)
- Helper (Psalm 54:4)
- Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
- Teacher (Psalm 25:12)
- Guide (Isaiah 30:21)
There are so many other things God does for us. I encourage you to take some time to search the Scripture for yourself to identify some of the other attributes and traits of God. God is our portion. He is everything we will ever need.
A Prayer for When We Forget God Is Our Portion
Lord, sometimes I get distracted by the lifestyles of those around me. It seems as though the people who curse You and choose not to worship You are the ones who have the most in this life.
Remind me, Lord, that You are my portion. If I remain faithful, You will be my portion forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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