Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 NIV
(A version of this post was first published in 2014.)
When we were kids, my brothers and I used to fight in the back seat of the car. To my recollection, it didn’t matter if it was a long trip or a short one. But it seemed it was only the longer trips that managed to set my father off. Because I was the youngest, I was always trapped in the middle. My brothers would repeatedly tap or poke me from both sides–something they got from The Big Brother’s Handbook, no doubt. (FAWC: I remember vividly one time when they were engaged in this pesky behavior and the song, Stuck In The Middle With You, by Stealers Wheel came on. I had my own private little laugh as the lyrics “Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am stuck in the middle with you” played over the car radio.) Often, when in this situation, I would cry, “Dad, they’re touching me!” with an irritating whine. (This was in my Little Sister’s Handbook.) After enough whining, my father would turn halfway around from the driver’s seat, one eye on the road and one eye on the three of us in the back seat.
Obviously, his priority was to see the road so when he reached back, his hand would blindly flail, seeking someone’s/anyone’s flesh to smack. Unfortunately for me, due to the ergonomics of the human arm and having been forced to sit in the more accessible middle, I received a greater percentage of contact with my father’s hand than my brothers. (Ahh the ’70’s when there were no seat belts, you didn’t have to sit in a child car seat until you were twelve, your parents let you stay out after dark playing Kick-the-Can and spankings were considered discipline not child abuse.) The flailing hand was followed by a threatening “Keep your hands to yourselves!” and “Don’t make me stop this car!” So then my mom would pipe up and tell us to stay in our own section of the seat. This proved impossible for me because the manufactured back-seat boundary lines of our 1974 Buick La Sabre were unevenly placed as seen in the photo below.
Because of this, I automatically was sitting in my brothers’ territory. Hence, the tapping and poking continued but I couldn’t whine because my dad would stop the car and NOBODY wanted that! Let’s just say, the boundary lines did not fall in pleasant places for me as they did for my brothers. Car manufacturers have since solved this problem by establishing very clear and pleasant boundary lines for today’s child occupants of the back seat. Very impressive!
But enough about my childhood boundary line issues! Lets look at our featured scripture, “Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6 NIV)
Bible commentators are not sure at what age David wrote this Psalm. So I wonder. Was it in his younger days, when he was being chased by King Saul and hiding in caves? Was it at the death of his infant child to whom Bathsheba gave birth? Could it have been when his son, Amnon raped his daughter, Tamar? Was it during the time his son, Absalom usurped his throne and David again was on the lam? I hope you get my point. No matter when it was written, we see in David an unmistakable heart of gratitude.
What “boundary lines” are you facing at this moment? Relational strife? Joblessness? Loneliness? Financial setbacks? Wayward children? Grief? Declining health? How is it that David could make such a faith-filled declaration, “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places” after all the tragedies he encountered in his life?
We find the answer in Psalm 16:5 NLT. “Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup of blessing” precedes his positive proclamation regarding the boundary lines. As W. A. VanGemeren commented, “The psalmist rejoices in the bounty of God’s goodness to him. However, his joy is not first and foremost in God’s gifts but in the Lord himself.” (emphasis mine) Just like the Levites and David, our inheritance is the Lord! (Deuteronomy 10:9)
This past Sunday, while I was still working on this post, my spirit was enlightened to this in church as we worshiped to David Crowder’s song, How He Loves. For the first time I had a deeper understanding of what the song means.
He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions Eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
Oh, how He loves, yeah, He loves us
Oh, how He loves us, oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves
And we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
Oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves all
How He loves
Like King David, we can say, “The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places” no matter what we are going through. When we truly see Jesus as the greatest gift, we become “unaware” of every one of our afflictions which are eclipsed by God’s glory. We “don’t have time to maintain these regrets” when we know that He alone is our portion, our eternal inheritance and that he loves us.
Sometimes, I think we have heard “Jesus Loves Me” so often that it has lost it’s incredibility and we take it for granted.
Fanny Crosby got it when she penned these words in 1879,
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching o’er me,
I can sing though billows roll.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption,
Pledge of endless life above!
Rhea F. Miller got it when in 1922 she wrote these words
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs.
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead
Matt Redman got it in 2000 when he wrote these words,
I’ve thrown it all away that I might gain a life in You
I’ve found all else is loss compared to the joys of knowing You
Your beauty and Your majesty are far beyond compare
You’ve won my heart, now this will be my prayer
Take the world, but give me Jesus
You’re the treasure in this life
Take the world, but give me Jesus
Is my cry
In 2001, Keith Getty and Stuart Townend got it when they wrote,
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
Jason Ingram and Jason Roy of Building 429 got it when in 2011 they wrote,
So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
My prayer for this Thanksgiving and every day for that matter, is that our hearts would be grateful for all our many blessings, but may we reserve our highest gratitude and praise for our Lord and Saviour, our portion, our eternal inheritance, Jesus Christ. LH
Why not read the entire Psalm 16 for Thanksgiving!
A miktam of David.
1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithfulb]”>[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.