Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him! The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:22–26—NKJV)

We hear a lot about “portion control” these days. Certainly, portion control makes sense for weight loss and weight maintenance purposes. It seems foolish to damage your body by avoiding whole food groups and denying the body the varied nutrients it needs. Limiting the size of portions seems a better choice. On the other hand, portion control can easily turn to meddling when size and amount becomes mandated from an unwanted source and any divergence is outlawed. The reason for such a negative response is a quite natural desire to self-regulate while retaining the freedom to indulge in an occasional holiday from the restrictive diet.

The Hebrew word translated “portion” means to divide, divide out as a spoil, to take away a portion. It can mean a helping of meat, prey, land, or inheritance. Consequently, it is not hard to see how adequately it fits the meaning of that portion assigned to man by God for his enjoyment. It can be translated “allotment.” The Old Testament teaches that God is the portion of His people, not simply for His care for them, nor only for their reception of blessing from Him, but for their abiding trust and confidence in Him.

An interesting use of the word is found in 1 Kings 12:16, recounting the break-away of the northern ten tribes in separating from the House of David and its rule over them. As they rejected Rehoboam as their king they said, “What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.” They meant that they had no part in his kingdom and no communion with him. Inheritance, rights, identity, fealty, allegiance, and attentive audience are all implied by the word “share” (portion).

Another enlightening text is Numbers 18:20. God spoke to Aaron, the priest, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.” It is this passage that seems to be in the mind of Jeremiah as he pens Lamentations 3:24.

Jeremiah illustrates in another text what it means to have the living, true, and all-powerful God as the believer’s portion versus the deaf, dumb, and dead idols that all others have. Jeremiah 10:16 declares, “The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for He is the Maker of all things, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; The Lord of Hosts is His Name!”

Notice in the following verses how the word “portion” powerfully denotes the entitlements as well as the duties of the believer toward God. David states, “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5–6) Psalm 73:26 reads, “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength (rock) of my heart and my portion forever.” David again states, “You are my portion, O LORD; I have said I would keep Your words. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your Word.” (Psalm 119:57–58)

Jeremiah, in recognizing God as his portion, is laying out the claim that he has upon God, as well as the claim that God has on him. What a heritage, what an inheritance, and what a privileged service! Is all your hope founded in God? Are you as faithful to Him as He has been in Christ to you? Renew your sense of allegiance, attentive audience, fealty, and identity in God today. (Ephesians 1:11) Trust and obey.