You are my portion, O LORD;
I have said that I would keep Your words.
I entreated Your favor with
my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.
I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I made haste, and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.
The cords of the wicked have bound me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.
At midnight I will rise
to give thanks to You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.
The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy;
Teach me Your statutes.
The choice of greatest significance in life is between the world and all it has to offer and God, Himself. Though on one hand it seems this ought to be an easy decision, the Psalmist has no illusions about the desires of his heart. Neither should we be fooled into thinking that we are on the fence, capable of going either toward Him or away from Him as we like, but are easily tempted because our appetites are for the things of this world. What a bold declaration then, to say that God is my portion, my choice of the spoil, my treasure above everything else I might desire. Only one who has experienced God’s grace can make this his choice, but many who have tasted the goodness of God fail to pursue Him above all else. Instead we become enthralled by the temporary pleasures of sin and the fleeting trinkets of this world.
Having declared that the LORD is his choice, the Psalmist does not simply rely on what he has said, but pursues God’s presence continually with all his heart, claiming, not what he deserves but what God has promised in His word. What we might easily forget is that this pursuit of God’s favor is not simply an orientation of the mind and heart but it involves immediate and determined obedience to God’s law. The Psalmist “turned his feet” to God’s word, moving in obedience toward the desire of his heart without delay. This word delay is also used of Lot, who failed to respond to the angels’ warning and lost everything as a result. In contrast, the Psalmist recognized the danger of delayed obedience, which is truly disobedience. Though surrounded by wicked men, his attention to God’s law did not fail, and at all times of day he offered praise and thanks to God, not only for himself but for all those who endeavored to keep God’s word. It is in the fellowship of such men that the Psalmist is strengthened to overcome the evil desires that would threaten his commitment to the LORD, and through the eyes of faith he sees the overflow of God’s mercy everywhere. Though he might seem to be surrounded and overwhelmed by wickedness, it is God’s faithful love which abounds over all the earth, visible in every circumstance to all who are willing to receive the instruction of His truth.
Oh that we would choose the LORD to be our portion and seek His face by a constant commitment to know and obey His commands. When sinfulness threatens to overwhelm us, may we sing with grateful hearts to our God, resting in the fellowship of all those who love Him, and renewing ourselves in the knowledge of His abundant mercy and grace.