I’m studying Lamentations 3 with a friend and verse 24 grabbed at my heart as I was going over our lesson this week. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I have hope in Him.” I think I get what Jeremiah is trying to convey here—hope hinges upon my understanding of what it means to have the Lord as my portion.
When the Israelites entered into the land after Moses died, they portioned out the land to each of the tribes. The land allotment was their inheritance, what they received from the Lord. After so many years of waiting, the Israelites joyfully anticipated their portion; they couldn’t wait to see it. Many of the Israelites didn’t understand they had a greater inheritance than mere physical earth and boundaries. They would also gain the Lord as their inheritance. We don’t have to look longingly at the Israelites’ inheritance; we too have that same promise. Paul informs us in Colossians 3:24 that the Lord Jesus Himself is the reward of our inheritance. God has pledged Himself to us as He says in 2 Corinthians 6:16, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
The Lord is my portion. That truth must be mulled over. It must marinate in our mind until it changes our perspective and hope flavors our thoughts. The previous verses help us do just that for they contain valuable truths about our Portion. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Look at what we learn about our Portion from those verses: my Portion is loving and kind; in fact, my Portion never runs out of love or kindness for me. My Portion is compassionate. He has new compassions for me, not just once or twice a year, but every morning. I can trust my Portion because He is greatly faithful. Faithfulness spills over all He does. What else do you see?
Jeremiah is writing during a time of deep trauma and fear. He has been in the fires of affliction for quite a while. He is weary from troubles and sorrow. He feels singled out by the Lord, not for joy and blessing, but for further suffering and discouragement. Yet…yet, hear it now…when Jeremiah focuses his thoughts upon his Portion, hope lifts its head. And it’s not a beleaguered hope, not a wimpy, beaten down hope, but a stout, full-grown hope able to withstand whatever storms may assail him.
For many of us living in survival mode like Jeremiah, when life is boiled down to the essentials only, these truths help us keep moving forward. We have no hunger for appetizers or dessert; we know we need the life-sustaining, soul-refreshing, heart-restoring meat contained here. We have hope from our Portion because of who He is. The psalmist understood this when he said, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).” David drew comfort from those truths in Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV), “Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
If you feel like this: “My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord (Lamentations 3:17-18).”
Then these words are for you: This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him (Lamentations 3:21-24).”