Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

 

Then I pray to you, O LORD.
     I say, “You are my place of refuge.
     You are all I really want in life.”

I grew up in a family of four children. My brother, sisters, and I got
along fairly well, though we had our moments of conflict. One of these
was at the dinner table. If my mother had cooked some particularly
tasty dish, like a chocolate cake, then we might fight over who got the
biggest piece. We didn’t just want a fair portion. To be fully honest,
each of us wanted an ample portion, all that we needed and much more.

Psalm
142 uses the language of portions to convey ampleness of God. God is
not just enough, but more than enough. The NLT translates the last line
of Psalm 142:5 as “You are all I really want in life.” This captures
the sense of the original language, which reads more literally, “you
are my portion [cheleq] in the land of the living.”

This
language is reminiscent of the Lord’s instructions to Aaron, the first
high priest, as the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land:
“You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have
any portion [cheleq] among them. I am your portion [cheleq]
and your inheritance among the people of Israel.” The priests would not
actually own property in the land, but would receive all they needed
through their ministry in the temple (Deut. 18:1-2).

When we
face seemingly insurmountable difficulties, we pour out our hearts to
God, asking for his help. At first, what we seek is deliverance. We
want what God can provide for us. But, as we continue to open our
hearts to the Lord, we realize that what we want most of all is God. We
don’t really need a “portion” in this life. Rather, we need God who
supplies all our needs and who fulfills all of our desires. From him we
receive more than enough, just as the priests in the temple had ample
food because they were entitled to eat their portions of the sacrifices.

God
has filled this life with good things and good purposes, and we rightly
delight in them and desire them. But we will be able to use and enjoy
God’s good gifts when our hearts seek him most of all.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
Have you ever experienced a situation in which you were desperate for
God’s help, but came to realize that what you needed most of all was
God himself? What helps you to desire the Lord?

PRAYER: O Lord, I can think of many
times in my life when, in my distress, I cried out to you for help.
Yet, as I opened my heart to you, I realized that what I really wanted
wasn’t your help, but you! Yes, I still wanted your help. But
fellowship with you, resting in you, abiding in your love . . . these
satisfy me most of all.

To be sure, you have created this world
with many good things for me to use for your purposes and to enjoy. For
these I thank you. Yet, I am free to delight in this world when I
delight in you first and foremost. Focusing on you, everything else
finds its rightful place.

Help me, dear Lord, to live this day
in fellowship with you. Help me to be attentive to your presence. Make
yourself known to me, so that I might live for you more fully.

I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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