The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
By: John Newton, 1725-1807
Think about it. As long as life endures, in other words, throughout my earthly existence. I would agree that the Lord is far more than just Shield and Portion for far longer than the dash that is this life, but we will take that up at another time, Lord willing. For these thoughts, let’s center in on what the Lord keeps away from me, and what He brings to me, all for His glory and my good.
Psalm 28:7 says it this way.
The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
He keeps things away from me. Another way of saying it, He keeps me from getting things that would harm me. He is my Shield.
The Chi Rho shield above, reminds us that Christ is that Shield, those two letters representing the first two letters from the Greek spelling of Christ. [If you are intrigued and need more on that, you may indulge your curiosity here.] Jesus is the One who protects me. He keeps many things that would harm me from ever getting close enough to do damage, even though I flirt with them at times.
Psalm73:26 says it like this.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
He provides me with things that will help me. Another way of saying it, He is everything I need. He is my portion.
This one seems either a little less straightforward than the other, or maybe just a little more complex. Saying God is my Shield has a singular focus. Saying He is my Portion has more protracted implications. There are several primary nuances of such a claim, and here is the short list.
- share of a meal
- part of a sacrifice
- soldier’s share of plunder
- someone’s inheritance
The first, and most obvious one seems to be connected with this idea of one’s share in a meal. Think family style like the photo above. I do not have to jostle and fight for my share. God is my share. I can be at rest and enjoy all that He has provided for me.
The next is a little less obvious as it pertains to the part of a sacrifice that would belong to the worshipper. The priest would get a certain portion, as would the Lord to whom the offering was made, but the worshipper would receive a portion of most offerings as well. Again, God is my portion.
The last two are even a little more obscure, but just as meaningful. After a battle every
soldier gets to take some of the plunder as their reward for winning, or their prize for still being alive. When the battle of this life is over, God will certainly be our plunder, the proceeds of having lived victoriously. This last one really resonates with me because of the lasting implication. I might eat my meal, enjoy my sacrifice or plunder and then it’s gone, but inheritance seems at least a bit more permanent. Not only that, but it is generally something entrusted to someone based on relationship. I like the connotation of that.
One of the things that struck me about these two passages was one of the words they have in common, Strength. The interesting thing to me is that a Shield protects strength and a Portion fuels it. Both are related to strength, only in different ways. I need strength to live this life, and that strength is God, and comes from God.
How’s strong is your spirit? Are you allowing God to protect you, or are you trying to do it all yourself? Are you seeking God to provide for you, or are you attempt to stir up your own provisions? Honestly ask yourself these questions and let the Holy Spirit reveal the answers to you. It will be worth the time and effort.
Jesus, thank You for being my Shield and Portion. As one songwriter said, “All of You is more than enough for all of me.” Help me to live that statement out, even as I come to understand it better everyday. In Jesus name. Amen.
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