Have you met Asaph? He was one of the worship leaders appointed by King David. Twelve of the psalms are credited to him or his sons, including #73.
Read that particular psalm in a modern translation or paraphrase, and you’ll think Asaph is a present-day poet. He writes about pretentious, arrogant people who wear the latest fashions–how they’re pampered, overfed, and full of hot air.
“People actually listen to them—can you believe it?” he complains (vs. 6-10, The Message).
Asaph found his attention drawn to these people who seemed to have it made. He lost sight of true reality for a moment–until he refocused on God and his ways. Asaph realized that many who appear confident and successful are actually on a slippery slope toward disaster. They do not know God.
Tucked at the end of Psalm 73 Asaph celebrates a number of glorious blessings we enjoy as children of the Most High God:
- He is as close as a father holding his son or daughter by the hand
- With perfect wisdom he guides us through life
- When our earthly lives are completed, he’ll take us to heaven to be with him in heaven
- He is our strength—dependable and empowering
- He is our portion forever (vs. 23-26)
These are precious gifts that money cannot buy. God—our constant companion, our perfect guide, our omnipotent strength. Simply affirming such attributes can energize my spirit and provide new resolve.
But one concept does leave me puzzled: “God, my portion.”
A bit of research revealed that the statement, “My portion forever,” is a metaphor taken from an ancient custom of the Jews. When the patriarch of a family died, they would divide the inheritance among the sons. Each would receive his allotted portion, and have his basic necessities taken care of.
The psalmist is proclaiming that GOD is his portion. That portion includes the Lord’s presence, power, strength, peace, joy—all supplied in generous measure. And those are just a few of his many attributes, blessing us with sublime goodness.
Unlike the inherited portion of ancient times, all of God’s children receive all of him, not just a part.
And God as our portion will never diminish. Never could we exhaust all of these attributes. He will be our gracious, caring, empowering Heavenly Father forever.
“As for me, it is good to be near God,” the psalmist continued (v. 28). He’s saying, to live with God is good for us.
Oh, yes. To rest secure upon him as our foundation is the epitome of peace.
To allow him to work through us to fulfill his perfect plan is the essence of fulfillment.
To know that heaven awaits is the height of security.
God as our portion means complete wholeness and absolute contentment.
Who. Could. Want. Anything. More?
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Like Asaph, Father, I can lose my focus on what is truly important and valuable. Thank you for this timeless psalm that draws me back to you and the splendorous gifts you offer. Thank you for nurturing me so that I may affirm with Asaph: “ Earth has nothing I desire besides you” (v. 25). Amen—so be it.
(Photo credit: www.susancady.com.)