That God should be his people’s portion is easy to be accounted for, for he is their joy and felicity; but how they should be his portion, who neither needs them nor can be benefited by them, must be resolved into the wondrous condescensions of free grace.” -Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on Deut. 32:9
This morning, my first morning in Santa Barbara, Lauren and I went to Santa Barbara Calvary Chapel. It was wonderful- I thought the teaching was solid and the worship was truly praise-filled. There is a line in one of David Crowder’s songs that we sang, that says, “We are His portion and He is our prize…”
That line has been in my head all day, and ever since I first heard the song, I puzzled over it. It makes sense that God is our portion and inheritance; He provides for us, is our salvation, and gives us our joy and rest. But for us to be His portion, when He owns all the world, seems strange. How could He delight in such an unfaithful and imperfect inheritance?
I was glad to see that Matthew Henry agreed with me. I love the quote above– that such a choice on God’s part, to make us His inheritance, is an act of grace. It shows us just how perfect His love and mercy are, to delight in us so especially when we haven’t earned such delight.
Matthew Henry also describes how God made Israel into His own inheritance even in the wilderness, along with those of us grafted into the spiritual Israel later, as God himself says in the chapter– making Israel jealous by strangers. In the desert He made them, who seem to have forgotten him for generations in Egypt, into His own people again. By so many trials and through utter dependence on Him, God taught them that they neither had nor needed anyone but Him.
Henry writes, “We may well imagine how unfit that people would have been for Canaan had they not first gone through the discipline of the wilderness.”
In return, we who are His portion make Him our own chosen portion. David says in Psalm 119:57, “The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep your words.” God is a beautiful inheritance, the best of portions, but we tend to throw away our inheritance on idols. That is why David says, “I promise to keep your words” when he declared God his portion; if he does not commit to following what God has commanded, he will be giving God’s glory to others.
That sounds like a hard calling, to have to choose every day to make God our portion when there are so many tempting choices in front of us. But God has promised that it is not too hard for us:
“For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this book of the law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. … But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Deut. 30:9-11, 14
What mercy He gives us! Always making us able to do what He asks, even “circumcising our hearts,” so we can love Him. I pray that more and more my heart grows in love with Him as He teaches me to delight in my chosen inheritance, the best of all portions.