"Thou art my portion, O Lord:
I have said that I would keep thy words."
Our young grandson Adin went out into the yard to call his old lab in. She did not come. He sought his mom and said, "Megan didn't come when I called. I think she's dead. But if she died, I prefer that it be by wolves." Silly boy. He doesn't get to choose the manner of his beloved dog's death that she may go out in that blaze of glory in his imagination. Sometimes we imagine what our portion will be in this life. My youngest son at times has made up moments of glory from his imagination that are so real to him that he spins stories of his heroism. Truly though, I think we have all at one time or other wondered what our portion is, whether it is a puny or a ginormous slice of life.
"I entreated Thy favour with my whole heart:
be merciful unto me, according to Thy word.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies,
I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments.
The bands of the wicked have robbed me;
but I have not forgotten Thy law.
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee,
because of Thy righteous judgments.
I am a companion of all them that fear Thee,
and of them that keep Thy precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of Thy mercy:
teach me Thy statutes."
I will give you Adam Clarke's take on these verses.
He thinks the more logical way to begin approaching these would be to take verse 59 first:
"I thought on my ways." "I deeply pondered them; I turned them upside down: I viewed my conduct from all sides. The word, as used here, is a metaphor taken from embroidering, where the figure must appear the same on the one side as it does on the other; therefore, the cloth must be turned on each side every time the needle is set in, to see that the stitch be fairly set. Thus narrowly and scrupulously did the Psalmist examine his conduct....'I made haste,' ...The original word, which we translated delayed not, is amazingly emphatical, or as we used to express the same sentiment, shilly shallying with myself"
"In this part we have --
I. Thou art my portion. Let others choose as they please, Thou art sufficient for me: I ask no more.
II. And on this I resolve to be Thy obedient servant. I have said that I would keep Thy words.
III. But Thou knowest I am unable without Thy grace to do this; therefore, I must entreat Thy favour: be merciful to me! There are three helps to a godly life, all which we meet her...
A. Determination. This makes a man begin well. 'I have said...'
B. Supplication: This makes a man continue well. 'I have entreated...'
C. Consideration. This makes a man, when he errs, come back to the way again.
He was ready to co-operate with grace. 'I have thought on my ways.' If we be not workers with God, vain are our prayers. Two things are required of us:
1. Aversion from evil. 'I thought on my ways.' But he did not rest here.
2. Conversion to good. 'I turned my feet unto Thy testimonies.'
And by his sincerity is shewn many ways:--
1. By his readiness and zeal. 'I made haste, and delayed not.' (Physically, I have found that it is more difficult to run at my age than I used to. A two year old can outrun me. It is better to stay in shape, to be ready to make haste, physically and spiritually.)
2. By his courage and constancy. Though he was plundered, for his adherence to God, by the bands of the wicked; yet he did not forget God's law. (We have been robbed many, though not tied up. Those are just things. Incidents. But that can not deter us from following after what is important, God.)
3. By his fervor about it. He was always employed in the work; and would rather take something from his natural rest than not gratify his hunger and thirst after righteousness. 'At midnight I will rise to give thanks.' (I, myself, usually stay up till midnight to offer my prayers before I fall asleep. However, if I am awakened in the night, I have tried to train myself to think that it is a call to prayer, that perhaps there is a need out there unknown to me, but that needs prayer. That is the mystery of prayer.)
4. By selecting his company, 'He who walks with the lame, will learn to limp.' Therefore, avoiding the society of the wicked, he seeks the company of them that fear the Lord, and keep his precepts. (Bad company corrupts good morals. Just sitting on the sidelines watching our son's baseball game, we are surrounded by parents who talk more about their drinking habits than about the game itself. Their language leaves something to be desired. Sometimes they have even had outbursts of anger attacking other parents on the same team. No thanks. I prefer the company of God's people.)
IV. He concludes with an acclamation and prayer.
1. 'The earth, O Lord, is full of Thy mercy.' There is not a creature that is not a partaker of Thy goodness: let me have my portion in it!
2. 'Teach me Thy statutes. That is, continue to instruct me. I need constant teaching, line upon line, and precept upon precept. Teach Thou, and I will learn; and as I learn from Thy teaching, I will practice by Thy grace."
Well, that's our portion. God is offering us a generous slice. All we have to do is reach out and take it. "From these verses may be seen the progress of the work of grace on the human heart, from the first dawn of heavenly light till the soul is filled with the fullness of God."