"Thou art my portion."

(Notes of an address on Psalm 119:57-63.)

If the Psalmist, in his generation, could find his portion in Jehovah, should not we, as having the light of all that the Lord has done for us, and of what He is in His greatness and glory, find our portion in Himself in this day? The words of our opening verse, "Thou art my portion," is a confession, not a prayer. Has there not been the danger of our looking for a portion on earth, looking around for something to satisfy? How good it is for us to find, as Solomon did, that all things here are "empty." When we realise that the Lord is God's centre, and the source of all grace for us, our souls reach out to Him and say. "Lord, Thou art my portion." The Lord knows the motives of the heart, and if it is from a true heart we speak these words, the life will be filled with good things.

Having made this good confession, the Psalmist can add, "I have said that I would keep Thy words." His soul had entered into the sphere where God's mind and will are learned, where His words direct the thoughts of the heart. With the whole heart the godly man goes in for the words that unfold to him the greatness, the glory and the beauty of the Lord, and as engaged in communion with Him, the soul is exercised as to its ways, as to whether they are according to the desire of His heart.

If we are to walk for the glory of the Lord, in obedience to His words, divine grace will be needed, and for this we can say with the Psalmist, "I entreated Thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me, according to Thy word." How the Lord delights to hear and answer such a prayer!

Communion with the Lord regarding His words will ever lead us to consider our ways, so that we read, "I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies." There is the desire to judge everything according to that One in whom the soul delights; and having searched all his ways in the light of God's word, the Psalmist can say, "I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments." There is real activity; there is no delay in putting the feet in the path of obedience to the Lord, because the heart is set on the Person of Jesus, and the motives are pure.

As soon as the heart is inclined after Christ, the enemy comes in, endeavouring to rob the soul of its portion, of its enjoyment of Christ. Is not this indicated in the words of the Psalm? "The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten Thy law." Let us not be discouraged because the enemy endeavours to rob us of the enjoyment of our portion in Christ. If the enemy is busy, let us encourage ourselves with this knowledge, that he would not assail us if we did not have something of real value that he wished to take from us.

Isaac, in his day, had the example of a godly father, who walked before God in a path beset with many difficulties. With the example of Abraham before him, Isaac sought to walk in the same steps of faith. But, leaving the "South country," Isaac got out of the path of faith, and went to Gerar, and dwelt there. Very soon he discovered that the inhabitants of Gerar were not suitable companions for one who sought the will of God, and leaving it he dwelt in the valley.

The valley was a good place, but there was no water, the wells that Abraham his father had dug had been stopped by the Philistines. (Sometimes the valley is a vale of tears for us, but even then the Lord can fill the pools, and give us joy in the place of sorrow.) Isaac began to dig the wells from which his father had drunk, but the Philistines contended with him, and he could have said with the Psalmist, "The bands of the wicked have robbed me." But Isaac did not give up his digging, even when the enemy contended for the second well; he continued, and the enemy gave up the struggle. He found at Rehoboth a place where Jehovah made room for him, then passed on to Beer-sheba, where Jehovah appeared to him, and where he had communion with God.

How good it is for us to have the purpose of heart that was evinced in Isaac! When, like Isaac we drink of the well that God has provided for us, when we come to Christ as the One in whom we have life for our souls, we can say with the Psalmist, "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee." Thank God for the midnight experiences of life! if everything went well for us it would be easy to be a Christian, but we should lack much of the joy that we find in Christ in times of trouble. We rejoice in the touches of divine grace and love as the Lord walks with us in the valley. Sometimes He leads us into the valley of the shadow of death that we might feel the loneliness He felt, and that there we might find His companionship.

Paul and Silas had a precious midnight experience in the prison at Philippi. With the wounds of many stripes on their backs, and with their feet fast in the stocks, they sang praises unto God. And how often in his epistle to the saints at Philippi from his Roman prison does the apostle Paul write of rejoicing! No matter what our circumstances may be, we too can sing, with melody in our hearts to the Lord, the songs that express that the Lord is our portion.

One who can truly say, "The Lord is my portion," will not be alone; he will find that there are others with the same thoughts, feelings and desires, and will be able to say, "I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts." We can go on together in communion, finding our joys in the Lord Himself, and in His things; and our walk will be in the path of obedience to His will. Anon.