In a world full of trouble, what is there to fill a man with joy? There is so much uncertainty in this life. People are losing the treasure of a lifetime in a matter of days. How is it possible for the Christian to maintain a contented and joyful spirit in the middle of such circumstances? That is the subject of today’s passage. Let’s look at it together.
Section 8 (CHETH)
Psalms 119:57-64 Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.
I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
We have here, in this passage, one of the great secrets of a contented and joyful Christian life. I say secret, yet it is here on the pages of God’s Word for anyone to see and claim if they will. Sadly, many Christian do not seem to know it. Sadder still, when we know it, we may fail to apply it. Again, I confess that I have been guilty of this omission in the past. I need a daily reminder. I wonder if you have the same need?
The psalmist begins by proclaiming the most important truth for every child of God, after their salvation. “Thou art my portion, O Lord…”
The term portion is used throughout scripture to refer to that which is our by way of inheritance or allotment; something that is ours by courtesy, law, or inheritance. For the believer, God has given us Himself as our portion. This is repeated often in the Scriptures.
Psalms 16:5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Psalms 142:5 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
Lamentations 3:24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
This truth of God as our portion is given also as the reason for our contentment in the book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Think of that! The presence of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and all of the blessings that come with those things has been given to us in this life, while we are awaiting our heavenly home. It may be all we’ve got, but what (or rather Who) we’ve got is a lot!
The psalmist then turns his thoughts and his gave inward, and examines his life in light of his portion, and his profession. He had said that he would follow God’s law at all times. However, he found within his life some area in which his steps had strayed from the path.
Verses 58-60 describe his process. He first asked forgiveness for these things. He did not hesitate to claim the mercy of God promised in His Word. The psalmist may not have been faithful to God’s Word, but that was no reason to think God would not be faithful to His Word. If we are unfaithful, yet He abideth faithful. Praise God for that. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So the psalmist requested mercy.
We see next that the psalmist examined his life in relation to the Word of God. This is key. He laid the blueprint of God’s Word down over the top of the direction of his steps. He then saw the needed adjustments and made them.
It is one thing to ask God’s forgiveness for sins, it is another to follow through and get our steps back in line with His Word.
I think it would be good to pause here and remind us that sin is in fact walking in disobedience to God’s Word. It was the first sin, in the garden, and it is the only sin today.
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
- A sense of joy and thankfulness even in adverse situations. (Verses 61-62) Even when everything seems wrong, the psalmist can remember God’s Word and rise and give Him thanks! Why worry, when you can pray! This seems in line with a familiar verse in the New Testament:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Not only did the psalmist recognize that the affliction would work out for his own good, but also that those robbers could not take the greatest possession he owned. He had eternal life and presence and blessing of God Himself!
One of the greatest statements concerning this is found in the life of Joseph. Twice when Joseph was treated wrongfully and robbed of his rights and freedom, the Scripture says, “But the Lord was with Joseph.” What more could we ask for?
- A sense of companionship. He said that he was not alone. He was a friend of all those who feared the Lord and kept his precepts. So many times we can feel utterly alone. Our circumstances can make us feel this way.
The psalmist was determined to be a friend to others who felt as he did. He was determined to be their friend. I like this. He wasn’t waiting for them to befriend him. He was their friend! A man that hath friends…well…you know the rest.
Sometimes we can become isolationists, thinking we are the only ones left. “Just you and me Lord!” Dear ones, it is not just you and the Lord. There are others. Let us find them and be their friends as well.
- A sense of beauty among the ashes. Forgive me that cliché. The psalmist has not exactly been describing the best of circumstances; yet he says in the final verse that the who earth is full of the mercy of the Lord. Everywhere he looks, he is reminded of God’s mercy. Perhaps he saw the sunlight. Perhaps he saw the rain; watering the ground and the crops. Perhaps he enjoyed the shade of a beautiful tree, or drank from a cool spring. All of these things and more are the mercies of God to us. Everywhere he looked he saw God’s mercy in His dealings with people, both saints and sinners. This was his focus.
Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
All that we have. All that we are. All that we have received is by the grace and mercy of God. He is our portion! He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is the one who will never leave nor forsake us. His Word is our guide. Let us then in recognition of this, examine our lives in light of His Word. Lets make sure that we hasten to confess any sin we find, and correct it without delay.
And…finally, let us walk through this life with the knowledge that we have something that the world cannot take away. Our portion.
Heavenly Father, sometimes I forget what a vast portion I have been given through Your Son! I can turn my eyes on my problems, or my lack of resources and become discouraged. Remind me today that You are my portion. Forgive me for where my steps have deviated from your Word. By your grace and strength I will not hesitate to correct my way. Help me to be a friend to others around me who are your children, and who seek to obey your Word. Thank You for the knowledge that if I were to lose everything I had, I could not lose You. In Jesus name, amen.