But the LORD's portion is His people, Jacob His allotted inheritance.
I. A TRUTH FREQUENTLY TAUGHT IN SCRIPTURE. Both by facts of history, and by express statement. Israel's position brought it into contact, not only with petty neighboring states, but with the mightiest empires of East and West. These appear in Scripture only as they affect the chosen race, but it is then made manifest how entirely their movements are directed and controlled by Divine providence. And the center of God's purposes is always Israel. "For your sake," says God, "I have sent to Babylonia, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships" (Isaiah 43:14; cf. vers. 3, 4). Is Egypt visited with famines - with scarce years and good years? The design is the working out of a certain plan in the chain of God's appointments for Israel. Is a Cyrus raised up in Persia? God saith of him, "He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure," etc. (Isaiah 44:28). So is it throughout. Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome, appear in all their relations with Israel as ministers of the Divine will, as simple executors of the Divine purposes, and their power is strictly limited by their commission. In harmony with this prophetic teaching are the express testimonies of the Epistles (e.g. Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 3:9-11).
(2) history, are ruled for the benefit Of the Church.
II. A TRUTH IN ITSELF REASONABLE. Once admit the goal of history to be the establishment on earth of a universal spiritual kingdom - a gathering together in one of all things with Christ as Head (Ephesians 1:10), and it is certain that herein must lie the key to all historical developments, the explanation of all arrangements and movements of Divine providence. The center of interest must always be that portion of the race with which for the time being the kingdom of God is identified. "Just as, in tracing the course of a stream, not the huge morasses nor the vast stagnant pools on either side would delay us: we should not, because of their extent, count them the river, but recognize that as such, though it were the slenderest thread, in which an onward movement might be discerned; so is it here. Egypt and Assyria and Babylon were but the vast stagnant morasses on either side of the river; the Man in whose seed the whole earth should be blessed, he and his family were the little stream in which the life and onward movement of the world were to be traced They belong not to history, least of all to sacred history, those Babels, those cities of confusion, those huge pens into which by force and fraud the early hunters of men, the Nimrods and Sesostrises, drove and compelled their fellows... where no faith existed but in the blind powers of nature and the brute forces of the natural man" (Archbishop Trench).
III. A TRUTH FRAUGHT TO THE CHURCH WITH COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT.
1. When the powers of the world are threatening.
2. In times of internal decay.
3. Under long-continued trials. - J.O.
The Lord's portion is His people.1. The text teaches us that the Church of God is the Lord's own peculiar and special property. "The earth is the Lord s, and the fulness thereof: the world, and they that dwell therein." By creation, as well as by providence, Jehovah is the Sovereign possessor of the entire universe. Let none venture to dispute His claims, or say that He is not the great owner of all things, for thus saith the Lord, "Behold, all souls are Mine." But He has a special property in His Church. As a king may have ample possessions, to all of which he has undoubted right, but still he has royal crown-lands which are in a very special sense his own; so hath the Lord of all a peculiar interest in His saints. As Osborne, and Balmoral, and Windsor belong to our sovereign by a tenure which differs from his title and claim to the United Kingdom, so the Church is the peculiar heritage of the King of kings. "The Lord's portion is His people." How are they His?(1) We answer, first, by His own sovereign choice. He did so ordain to make His chosen and set His love upon them.(2) They are not only His by choice, but by purchase.(3) They are also His by conquest. Old Jacob, when he lay a-dying, gave to Joseph one portion above his brethren, which he had taken out of the hand of the Amorite with his sword and with his bow. The Lord Jesus can truly say of His people, that He hath taken them out of the hand of the Amorite with His sword and with His bow. Thy conquering hand, O Jesus, when nailed to the Cross, rent away Thy children's chains. We are indeed the conquered captives of His omnipotent love.
2. In the second place, the text shows that the saints are the objects of the Lord's especial care. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth," — with what object? — "to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." The wheels of providence are full of eyes; but in what direction are they gazing? Why, that all things may "work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose."
3. The text includes the idea that the Church is the object of the Lord's special joy, for a man's portion is that in which he takes delight. See what terms He uses; He calls them His dwelling place. "In Jewry is God known, His name is great in Israel, in Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion." "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation." Where is a man most at ease? Why, at home. We are expressly told that the Church is the Lord's rest. "This is My rest forever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it." As if all the world beside were His workshop, and His Church His rest. In the boundless universe He is busy marshalling the stars, riding upon the wings of the wind, making the clouds His chariot; but in His Church He is at rest, in Zion the Everlasting One spends His Sabbaths. Yet further, there is an unrivalled picture in the Word where the Lord is even represented as singing with joy over His people. Who could have conceived of the Eternal One as bursting forth into a song. Yet it is written, He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing. As He looked upon the world, He spoke and said, "It is very good," but He did not sing. And as He vieweth the works of providence, I hear not that He sings; but when He gazes on you, the purchase of Jesus blood, His own chosen ones, the great heart of the Infinite restrains itself no longer, but, wonder of wonders, God, the Eternal One, sings out of the joy of His soul. Truly, "the Lord's portion is His people."
4. Our text teaches us that God's people are His everlasting possession. He will never sell His children at a price; nor if He could have better people instead, would He change them. They are His, and they shall be His while time lasts; and when time ends, and eternity rolls on, He never can, He never will cast away His chosen people. Let us in this rejoice and be exceeding glad. "The Lord's portion is His people."
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. They are a chosen people.
2. They are a renewed people.
3. They are a people of faith.
4. They are a justified people.
5. They are a people who perform good works.
II. WHERE GOD FINDS HIS PEOPLE WHEN HE CALLS THEM.
1. Alienated from God.
2. Ignorant of God.
3. As wanderers, going astray.
4. Strangers to themselves.
5. Willing slaves to Satan.
6. Dead in sins.
III. THE SPECIAL CARE WHICH THE LORD TAKES OF HIS PEOPLE.
1. He leads them —
(1) (2) (3) 2. He instructs them — (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(2) (3) 2. He instructs them — (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(3) 2. He instructs them — (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
2. He instructs them —
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(2) (3) (4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(3) (4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(4) (5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(5) (J. J. Eastmead.)
(J. J. Eastmead.)
I. NOW, WHEN A MAN PAYS A GREAT PRICE FOR ANYTHING, HE MUST HAVE ESTEEMED IT VERY VALUABLE BEFORE HE COULD BE INDUCED TO GIVE SO MUCH FOR IT; and in like manner, we argue very correctly when we say that the fact of God's giving His Son to save the world was a proof how strongly His bowels yearned over manhood, how precious they were in His sight. But this is not the exact feature of the case before us, which we are proposing to consider. We are not speaking of that love of God to the world which led Him to give His Son to save it; but of His love to those who are so purchased and saved. And here also, if we look at the manner of men, we well know that what a man has laboured hard for, and purchased dear, he prizes accordingly; he surveys the acres which, at the expense of much toil, he has made his own, with very different feelings from those of his heir, into whose hands they fall without any care or expense on his part, and who perhaps dissipates what his predecessor had acquired. It is this latter case which illustrates the love that God bears to His people, He loves them because so much has been paid for them; He would not that the souls should perish for which Christ died; His soul would be grieved at the loss of that which the counsels of His wisdom and the treasures of His love had been expended to procure.
II. When a man, at a very high price, has purchased a tract of waste land, which, on account of the scenery, the air, and the capabilities of the soil, HE DESTINES FOR HIS FUTURE RESIDENCE, HE SURVEYS WHAT HAS NOW BECOME HIS PROPERTY WITH MUCH INTEREST. But in its present state he cannot view it with entire satisfaction; he cannot dwell in the morass, nor take up his abode in the one mean hovel that stands on the premises; but he will not let the large sum which he has paid be lost. He therefore causes the whole to be surveyed, lays down a plan of improvement, and fixes on the site of his intended dwelling. After a while the scene is changed, the bog is reclaimed, furze and brushwood, and all unsightly objects are swept away, trees are planted, the grounds are tastefully laid out, and a beautiful mansion is erected. The proprietor now looks at it with other eyes than before, is delighted with the loveliness which he beholds, and gladly fixes his abode there. It is thus that the Lord at first beholds those whom He has purchased by the death of His Son. The mere fact of Christ's having died for them makes no more change in their character than a man's having paid the purchase of a bleak common converts it into a scene of loveliness. No; much has to be done with the soil of the heart, as well as with the soil of the ground; and He who undertakes the work is a skilful operator, and is sure to succeed. But here the parallel ceases; our illustration leaves us — it can help us no further. How man acts upon the inert soil, we can understand; but cannot understand how God acts upon the mind. The process of education comes the nearest to it; for, as we teach children by books, and stimulate them by rewards and punishments, so God deals with His people in a way of instruction and discipline.
III. If, then, the people of God is His portion here below; if such is the excellence of real holiness, that, imperfect as their holiness is, their heavenly Father sees nothing to be compared to it, nothing worthy to be mentioned with it, in the whole compass of our globe — WHAT A PORTION WILL HIS RANSOMED ONES BE TO HIM, WHEN EVERY REMAINDER OF SIN SHALL BE DONE AWAY; when He shall see in them the full resemblance of their elder Brother, His well-beloved Son, and be well pleased with them, even as He is well pleased with Him! And now let me, in conclusion, show you that all the considerations which move God to take us for His portion should be so many arguments to induce us to follow after holiness.
1. In the first place, the price paid for us. Did Christ die to redeem us from this present evil world? and shall we be conformed to the world which crucified Him?
2. Further, consider how excellent true holiness is. If the Lord's people are His portion, it is because they are a holy people. He rejoices over them on account of their holiness. Think, then, what a real dignity and sterling worth there must be in that which God Himself approves.
3. But look beyond the end of your days here below — look to those days which will know no end. Think of the sanctity and blessedness of that state for which God is training you, and be content to be led and disciplined for it in the way that He pleases.
(J. Fawcett, M. A.)
Homilist.I. They are amongst His MOST VALUABLE PROPERTY.
1. They have souls. One soul is more valuable than the whole world. Souls can think of and love God; the material universe cannot.
2. Redeemed souls.
II. They are amongst His MOST GRATIFYING PROPERTY.
1. In the first place, it implies tender care. A man's portion is the most valuable part of his substance, which he is solicitous above all things to preserve: and if it be at any time in danger, he is indefatigable till it be secured. In like manner is the Church, and every particular member of it, the charge of the providence of God.
2. A portion is an object of delight. With what pleasure does the worldling survey his possessions! He leaves his intimate friend, and agreeable company, to count his beloved treasure. He walks over his fields each day with fresh pleasure; and every time sees, or thinks he sees, new beauties in the prospect around him. Yet this very imperfectly represents the delight which the Lord is described as taking in His people. Jewels, treasure, heritage, children are the endearing appellations by which they are distinguished.
3. A portion implies expectation. Where much is given, much will be required. Where He has distinguished any with peculiar marks of regard, He expects works of faith and labours of love; fruitfulness in every good work, and increase in the knowledge of God. He expects that His people should be essentially different from the rest of the world; that they shine as lights in the world, and adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things; and that their progress in grace and holiness be proportionable to their various advantages.
4. I might here particularly show you how we came to be the portion of God.(1) But let us now, from what has been said, consider how lamentable it is that the Lord's portion is so small; that, among all the human race, there should be so few to whom the words of the text may be properly applied.(2) How solicitous should we be to know whether we be the Lord's portion or not!(3) "Let us walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called."(4) Finally, let us rejoice in the prospect of that glorious period, when the Lord will fully possess His portion, and we shall fully possess ours.
PeopleAaron, Adam, Hoshea, Israelites, Jacob, Joshua, Moses, Nun
PlacesAbarim, Bashan, Canaan, Gomorrah, Jericho, Jordan River, Meribah-kadesh, Moab, Mount Hor, Mount Nebo, Sodom, Zin
TopicsAllotment, Allotted, Heritage, Inheritance, Jacob, Line, Lord's, Lot, Portion, Wealth
Outline1. Moses' song, which sets forth God's mercy and vengeance
46. He exhorts them to set their hearts upon it
48. God sends him up to mount Nebo to see the land, and to die
Dictionary of Bible ThemesDeuteronomy 32:9
5500 reward, God's people
LibraryThe Eagle and Its Brood
'As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.'--DEUT. xxxii. 11. This is an incomplete sentence in the Authorised Version, but really it should be rendered as a complete one; the description of the eagle's action including only the two first clauses, and (the figure being still retained) the person spoken of in the last clauses being God Himself. That is to say, it should read thus, 'As an eagle stirreth up his nest, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Their Rock and Our Rock
Religion --A Reality
At a Public Fast in July, First Sabbath, 1650. (257)
Jeremy Taylor -- Christ's Advent to Judgment
a survey of the third and closing discourse of the prophet
Appendix xvi. On the Jewish views About Demons' and the Demonised,' Together with Some Notes on the Intercourse Between Jews and Jewish Christians in the First Centuries.
The Justice of God
The Truth of God
The Call of Moses
Perhaps There is no Book Within the Whole Canon of Scripture So Perplexing and Anomalous...
Epistle cxxvii. From S. Columbanus to Pope Gregory .
God's True Treasure in Man
The Gospel Feast
The Necessity of Regeneration, Argued from the Immutable Constitution of God.
Lix. The Preacher and his Hearers.
The Prophet Micah.
The Jewish Dispersion in the West - the Hellenists - Origin of Hellenist Literature in the Greek Translation of the Bible - Character of the Septuagint.
The Early Life of Malachy. Having Been Admitted to Holy Orders He Associates with Malchus
The Christian's God
How those are to be Admonished who Decline the Office of Preaching Out of Too Great Humility, and those who Seize on it with Precipitate Haste.
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