If you own some property or a house, you know there is a kind of security in it.
Perhaps you have built up some equity, and you have numerous possessions to your name. You feel good about this, but it’s not really secure, of course. Like any other earthly things we find refuge in, whether our family or friends, our looks or intellect, our cherished experiences or esteemed position, in time, all of it will fade and fail.
When David was once harassed by his enemies and abandoned in his trouble, he found refuge in a cave. This is where Psalm 142 was written. But he knows this rocky hole is not his real refuge and place of security. God is!
David cries out to God to hear his prayer. And as he prays to the Lord, David makes this confession in verse 5,
You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.
The language of a “portion” may be unfamiliar to us. But in the Old Testament, a “portion” describes the property that every Israelite received from God as his inheritance. It was your little parcel of land within your tribe’s territory.
And just like it often is today, such physical property was important to the economic stability of a person and his family. With your “portion” received from God, you could raise crops and flocks and generate income. This was a kind of earthly security.
But David is learning not to rest in anything earthly. God is his portion, because it is not land and wealth that sustains his life—God preserves him! David trusts that whatever his present and future need or trouble, the Lord will be all-sufficient in his power and grace and wisdom.
As long as David is in the “land of the living,” walking and working and struggling and worshiping among his fellow Israelites, he will have safety and security in the Lord as his precious portion.
We are accustomed to saying that through Christ’s blood we have been made God’s precious possession.
But Psalm 142 shows the beautiful truth that God is our possession.
He is our possession in the sense that when we believe in him, we own God as our unfailing security. He is the “portion” that provides us with everything we require for body and soul. For through Christ’s sacrifice, we may truly be at home with God.
So be reminded regularly of the basic frailty of every earthly security, whether people or possessions or position or anything else.
Instead, pray that you might rest in the Triune God as your only refuge in life and death. May He be your portion always.