Among the people of the earth, the Israelites had a special relationship with God. Even among those in the tribe of Levi had a special service which drew them into a closer relationship with God than their brothers. The descendants of Aaron were to be the priests and the rest of the tribe were to serve and participate in taking care of the tabernacle (Num. 18:1-2). God provided for them since they were exclusively working in His service. Chapter eighteen of Numbers talks at length about how God was going to provide for the Levites. In it He makes this statement, “Then the LORD said to Aaron, ‘You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel’” (Num. 18:20). This emphasis that God was to be our portion or sustenance is something that is repeated in the Old Testament.
In the Psalms, we see this theme. “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psa. 73:26). “I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, ‘You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living’” (Psa. 142:5). Even in the book of Lamentations, “‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him’” (Lam. 3:24). This passage was the majority of the text for the song, “The Steadfast Love of the Lord.” The word “portion” is connected with the concept of an inheritance or payment. The sentiment that is being communicated is a complete trust in God and in His provision.
This ability to completely trust in God is central to Paul’s secret of being content. “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13). He can do all things through Him who provides our portion. This is what Jesus was trying to teach on the mountain. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matt. 6:26). Nature teaches us that God is the provider. Every morning we have a reminder of His provision in the sun, which, if it or we stopped spinning, we would all die. Yet, we are not worrying about it because God is faithful.
We are children of a faithful provider. We need to live with the words, “God is my portion,” on our lips. How much of what we worry or get anxious about would be dissolved? The secret of contentment is trust in God, the provider.