The Portions of the Unbeliever and Believer Contrasted
Lamentations 3:24-26
The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him.…

I. In considering THE PORTION OF THE UNBELIEVER. God has placed before us things temporal and things eternal, as containing all that He has in store for the sons of men; and the unbeliever ever chooses his portion from some one or other of the things which are temporal But whilst there is but one way to God, there are many ways from Him; whilst we have only one method of pleasing Him, there are innumerable methods of "pleasing the flesh."

1. Pleasure, or at least what is called by that name, is the portion chosen by many; and it consists in self-indulgence in whatever form is most suited to the lusts of each carnal mind. They have chosen an empty, a worthless portion. The things after which they long, the things for which they have forsaken God, cannot support them in the hour of death, or in the day of judgment.

2. But whilst these are choosing a portion of sell indulgence, there are others who choose one of self-denial, which is not the less, on that account, an ungodly and a worldly portion. Their choice is covetousness, their portion is riches. Amongst them you may find those who are called the wise, the prudent, and the industrious, giving their diligence to everything except to make their calling and election sure. Oh! what a poor portion for an immortal being is this! It has required labour and self-denial in the acquisition; it has required care and anxiety and watchfulness in the possession; and death comes, and tears it from the grasp of the poor wretch who has desired nothing better.

3. Others seek for their portion in human applause, and the admiration which one worm bestows upon another. They can despise sensuality, they can hold riches in contempt, but praise and worldly distinction are dear to them. Let such a vainglorious sinner as this be but talked of by his fellow sinners: let him be pointed at, and wondered at; and he has obtained his portion. And for this, which is but the breath of a worm, an immortal being is ready to make the most unremitting exertions, and to face the most appalling dangers.

4. Akin to this is another portion often chosen by the unbeliever — knowledge. The desire for this is not sinful in itself, for knowledge is certainly both useful and desirable; but when it is sought merely for its own sake, and when it is unsanctified by the Holy Spirit, it is only an idol which draws away our hearts from God, and, as such, is an injury, not a blessing, to him who attains to it.

II. THE PORTION OF THE CHRISTIAN. Pleasure, riches, fame, and knowledge, have been aimed at by the unbeliever; and for a time he has acquired, or rather seemed to acquire them: the Christian has been enabled by Divine grace to say, "The Lord is my portion," and he has acquired all these things for eternity. Whilst sensuality ever brings with it disappointment and disgust, the Christian has a comfort from above to cheer him. He has heard that voice which says, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee"; and as the sense of unpardoned sin had ever been his heaviest affliction, so his greatest pleasure arises from his being enabled to say, "O Lord, I will praise Thee; though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortest me." Then, as he goes on, by Divine grace, walking in the ways of the Lord, how sweet to feel the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit that he is the child of God; to be taught day by day that God's dealings with him are all in mercy and in love; that his very afflictions are tokens of kindness, and that his "Heavenly Father is making all things to work together for his good"!

(R. W. Kyle, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

WEB: Yahweh is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

The Portion of the Godly
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