In our first study of Psalm 16 we considered David’s prayer for preservation. Today we’ll focus our attention on verse 5. David said, “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; you maintain my lot.” Why did David say this to the Lord? What did he mean by it? And what does this mean for you and me?
After Israel conquered the promised land, God gave each tribe a portion of land. It was their lot. It was to be an inheritance that stayed in the family to be passed along to future generations. Levi was the only tribe that didn’t receive a portion of land. They were given a privileged position of priestly service to God and so God said to them that He was their portion. We Read in Numbers 18:20, “Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”
David came from the tribe of Judah. His earthly inheritance was in the fields and farmlands of Bethlehem. But at certain times in David’s life he was on the run, landless, homeless, and in great danger. David had to learn the painful lesson of trusting in God alone to keep him alive and in line for the throne God had promised him. He learned to look to God to be his protector and his portion. Through all of his trials he learned to see himself like a privileged Levite who had the Lord God as his inheritance. Though he might have all of this world’s goods taken from him he still had God as his portion and as the One who maintained his future on earth and in Heaven.
But David wasn’t the only one who understood this. Daniel learned the lesson of Gods eternal inheritance as well. Like David he found himself in great difficulty and times of testing. He too was a Prophet. God gave him a promise of eternal value that was written not only for him but for our sakes as well. Daniel was told that he would arise to his “lot” or his “inheritance,” at the end of the days (Daniel 12:13). Daniel didn’t have a “lot” in Israel. He would die in a foreign land away from his people, but God said he would stand in his lot, and that lot would last forever.
So, there was an earthly lot given by God to His people Israel. But there was another “lot,” a greater “lot” that is eternal for all of God’s people whether they have any, some, or no possessions on earth. There are earthly “lots” and heavenly “lots”; earthly “possessions“ and heavenly “possessions.” Neither can be kept safe unless God watches over to protect them for us. And He does watch over to protect them as He sees fit. But our heavenly possessions are far greater than our earthly ones and eternally more important. That’s where God wants the main focus of our heart to be. He tells us this plainly in His Word. Jesus teaches us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).
For us today our earthly “lot” can be possessions like our homes, money, jobs, and relationships. We can think of our circumstances as our lot. We often attach meaning, worth, identity, even the meaning of life itself, to the things we have or the circumstances that we find ourselves in. But God wants us to see beyond this world. He continually reminds us about the temporary nature of “portions” and “lots” of this age and that we should live for the world to come. “For all that is in this world is passing away. But he that does the will of God will abide forever” (1 John 2:17).
This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about our material possessions. He created us to work, to be productive, and to partake of the blessings of our hard labor. He doesn’t frown upon owning things or prosperity that’s a result from His blessing. But He wants us to be humble and good stewards of the things that He has generously bestowed upon us (1 Timothy 6:17). He knows that we live in a physical world, with material bodies that have material needs. He cares. He promises to provide for all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19), a verse written by Paul while he was in prison. But God wants us to keep perspective on the things we possess, the needs of our life, and the things of this world; they belong in their proper place.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-33, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Let’s remind ourselves of what Jesus says about life in Luke 12:15: “And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” About our soul, Matthew 12:26 says, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” About our future glorified body, Philippians 3:21 says, “who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” About our heavenly home, John 14:2-3 says, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” About future glory and reward, 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
Our souls saved, our future glorified body, our home in heaven built by Jesus Himself, our eternal reward… and Most importantly, God Himself, who said, “I am with you always have even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). That is our lot and He will maintain it. He is our portion! And like David we can say to God, “You will maintain my lot.”