READ : Psalm 119:57-64
My portion . . . your love. (vv. 57, 64 NIV)
Today’s reading begins and ends with the kind of prayer that tells God something about himself. Not that he needs to be told, of course; this is simply a cry of praise and thanksgiving that takes up two wonderful words both beginning in Hebrew with the letter heth – “You are my portion, O Lord,” “The earth is filled with your love, O Lord” (NIV).
Literally, the “portion” was the share that fell to each Israelite family when God gave them the Promised Land: a home, a farm, a guaranteed livelihood, a benign climate, a network of social relationships, and a framework of just law.
But one of the twelve tribes was given the privilege of demonstrating what this “portion” really meant. Levi was not given land to cultivate; instead, God told the Levites, “I myself am your portion.” He saw to it that they didn’t starve. In practice, he had them supported by the other tribes. But the point was that to have him was to have everything you could possibly need.
God’s people still find him all-sufficient. What guarantees their “portion,” the first word of verse 57, is his “love,” the first word of verse 64: steadfast love, covenant love, which has nothing to do with the sentimental or the erotic, and everything to do with care and constancy and invincible purpose.
Father, I take your love as my portion.