Thou Maintainest My Lot
"The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot"
by Tom Stewart
Thesis: Every Saint may have absolute certainty that the Almighty God will continue to sustain his lot in life-- spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, etc.-- even in the face of all apparent opposition.
Proof: If the Holy Spirit has impressed upon you the importance of Christ's ability to maintain all aspects of your walk with Him-- spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, etc.-- then the Psalmist's assertion, "Thou maintainest my lot", is more than interesting reading. The Saints throughout the ages have added their own "Amen" to the truth of that statement. When Jacob journeyed to Padanaram, "he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the Earth, and the top of it reached to Heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it" (Genesis 28:12). God's Providential Provision impressed Jacob so much that "Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God" (28:20-21). The Immutable God Who said, "I change not" (Malachi 3:6), still desires to demonstrate His faithfulness in Provision and Maintenance of our lot in life, through "His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
cripture affords us the opportunity of intimately glimpsing at the lives of those whom God has maintained their lot. "33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained Promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebrews 11:33-34). For example, Elijah the Tishbite [Read "Elijah and the Prophets of Baal" ---New Window], a prophet of the Old Covenant, had not the fuller revelation given to the Apostle Paul that "God [would] supply all [our] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19); but, Elijah had the bold confidence in the Almighty to pray for a 3 1/2 year drought of starvation upon the land which sustained him. Elijah knew that Jehovah Jireh "will provide" (Genesis 22:8), so it probably did not surprise him when the "Word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee" (1Kings 17:9).
Coming to Zarephath, he found the widow woman gathering sticks, and said, "Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink" (17:10). As she went to fetch it, Elijah called out, "Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand" (17:11). The widow, a Sidonian of Jezebel's home country, replied, "As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die" (17:12). What pathos, but what Providence, that this Gentile widow would encounter a mortal man who had just come from the Brook Cherith, where the Living God sustained him by the ravens! "And the ravens brought [Elijah] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook" (17:6). "There is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few" (1Samuel 14:6).
We see here that God not only looked out for His anointed prophet Elijah, but cared for the physical welfare of a Gentile widow and her son. And, no doubt, this widow of Zarephath-- like Ruth-- came to "trust under the shadow of [the God of Israel's] Wings" (Psalm 36:7), "for Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). Elijah spoke words of comfort unto her, "Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the Earth" (1Kings 17:13-14). "For all the Promises of God in [the Messiah] are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2Corinthians 1:20). Just as the Faithful God's Word "shall not return unto [Him] void, but It shall accomplish that which [He] please[th]" (Isaiah 55:11), He fulfilled the prophet's Word to the widow. "15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the Word of the LORD, which He spake by Elijah" (1Kings 17:15-16).
avid, the shepherd King of Israel, preceded his coronation to the throne with fugitive days of fleeing from Saul. "1 O LORD my God, in Thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me... 10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart" (Psalm 7:1,10). David's plea for deliverance found ready ears in the LORD God, though David's continued flight from Saul may have given the appearance that the Almighty was unwilling to deliver David. "1 How long wilt Thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?" (13:1-2). David the Psalmist concluded that his deliverances were divinely forestalled to accomplish the appropriate character development that is gained from the understanding of the Word of God. "67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word... 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy Statutes" (119:67, 71). Blessed is the man who comprehends the value and necessity of suffering, even in these New Testament times. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). A. T. Pierson ---New Window wrote of George Mueller's physical infirmities:
"Even his sore affliction, seen in the light of such prayer-- prayer itself illuminated by the word of God-- became radiant; and his soul was brought into that state where he so delighted in the will of God as to be able from his heart to say that he would not have his disease removed until through it God had wrought the blessing it was meant to convey" (excerpted from "George Mueller of Bristol," Chapter 10, "The Word of God and Prayer").
It is a confident trust that allows ourselves to be placed entirely
in someone else's hands, to dispose of us as they see fit. "My times are in Thy hand" (Psalm
31:15). This was the attitude of David, who recognized that Jehovah
maintained his lot. "I have been young,
and now am old; yet have I not seen the Righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging
bread" (37:25). Jehovah Jesus has
been the "Same yesterday, and to day,
and [will be] for ever" (Hebrews 13:8); therefore, His supply of David is
our certainty for our supply today and tomorrow. "But
my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Maintaining our lot means that
we, like David, need deliverances of body, soul, and spirit. "And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God
your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our
LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23).
And, like David, Peter, and Paul, we can appreciate the need for deliverance from
Satan, the "roaring lion, [who] walketh about, seeking whom
he may devour" (1Peter 5:8). "17 Notwithstanding
the LORD stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully
known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth
of the lion. 18 And the
LORD shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His Heavenly
Kingdom: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2Timothy
e agree with Paul. It is "without controversy [that] great is the Mystery of Godliness: [that] God was manifest in the flesh" (1Timothy 3:16). For the Eternally Begotten Son of God to incarnate in human flesh, preach to us the Sermon on the Mount, and acquaint us with the values of Eternity, demonstrates His commitment to maintain our lot for here and hereafter. Showing us that our priorities must be properly set for God to maintain our lot, He said, "Lay NOT up for yourselves treasures upon Earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (6:19-20). It was the 20th century missionary to the Auca Indians of Ecuador (1955)-- and martyr-- Jim Elliot, who wisely agreed with the Saviour, when he prophetically recorded on October 28th 1949 in his journal,
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" (from "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot).
Our lack of understanding impedes our Saviour's ability from maintaining
our lot. Why else would the Scriptures say, "Where
there is no vision [Hebrew, chazown, meaning oracle, prophecy,
or divine communication], the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18), unless the lack of understanding
of the Holy Oracles would cause our lot to be diminished? And, what "lot maintaining"
understanding did our LORD give? Jesus taught us the Truth of the singleness of the
eye, which the 19th century Charles
G. Finney ---New Window (1792-1875) labelled as the Unity of Moral Action, i.e., that we cannot be both holy and
sinful at the same time. [Please
read "Unity of Moral Action" ---New Window by Charles
G. Finney] "21 For where your treasure is, there
will your heart be also. 22 The
light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall
be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.
If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for
either he will hate the One, and love the other; or else he will hold to the One,
and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon"
(Matthew 6:21-24). Of what "lot maintaining" value,
then, is this singleness of eye? If God maintains only the lot of the Righteous,
then only when we are consciously walking apart from known sin, can He so bless us
with sustenance, deliverance, and maintenance. "If
we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another,
and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1John 1:7). And, only when we are walking apart
from known sin, can He bless us with the certainty that we will be blessed with the
answer to our petition to maintain our lot. "And
whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His Commandments, and do those
things that are pleasing in His sight" (3:22).
So complete should our confidence be that the Heavenly Father will maintain our lot, that we are forbidden to expend our energy in sinful anxiety and worry, i.e., useless thought that has no positive effect. "25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matthew 6:25-32). Did not the Psalmist record in Divine Writ, the certainty of the maintenance of the Godly? "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed" (Psalm 37:3). Was this not also the understanding of the Apostles? "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you" (1Peter 5:7).
The Moral Law had already demanded in both the Old and New Testaments, what Jesus reported: "The first of all the Commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God is One LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the First Commandment. And the Second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other Commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31). What the Moral Law commanded, the LORD Jesus held out to the Earnest Seeker, the blessedness of the Spirit of that Law-- not the deadness of the letter or the corruptness of traditions. And, concerning the baseless traditions of man of how God will or will not maintain the Saints' lot, e.g. "God helps those who help themselves" [from Aesop's Fables, where Hercules advises a mortal stuck in the mud, 'The gods help them that help themselves'], antiquity is not authority, but may be only vetustas erroris-- the old age of error. Jesus settled the matter for the Righteous, of how to maintain their lot, when He said. "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:19-34).
eflecting on how George Mueller ---New Window (1805-1898) of Bristol, England trusted God for the daily provision of the sustenance of orphans-- still greater, he proved the willingness and ability of a Prayer Hearing God to maintain not only his, but the orphans' lot in the modern times of the 1800s. "O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come" (Psalm 65:2). Certainly, George Mueller had the ready Promise of Jehovah, the True "Father of the Fatherless" (68:5), that He "relieveth the fatherless and widow" (146:9); but, Mueller's greater honor was his opportunity to demonstrate the faithfulness of God in answering the prayers of those who will trust Him. "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" (81:10). His biographer, A. T. Pierson, had a heartfelt sympathy with the principles of George Mueller's life and ministry; and, soon after Mueller's home going to the LORD, Pierson released a memoir of Mueller, "George Mueller of Bristol: And, His Witness to a Prayer Hearing God" (1899), which was authorized by James Wright, Mueller's son-in-law and successor. "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly..." (James 5:17). George Mueller distinguished between the gift of faith and the grace of faith. When we "do or believe a thing where the not doing or believing would not be sin", it is the gift of faith, ["4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit... 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit" (1Corinthians 12:4, 9)]; while, the grace of faith, ["For by grace are ye saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8)], is "where we do or believe what not to do or believe would be sin." And, seeing George Mueller's "manner of life" (2Timothy 3:10), "they glorified God in [him]" (Galatians 1:24).
Pierson relates in his biography of Mueller:
"If few men have ever been permitted so to trace in the smallest matters God's care over His children, it is partly because few have so completely abandoned themselves to that care. He [Mueller] dared to trust Him, with whom the hairs of our head are all numbered, and who touchingly reminds us that He cares for what has been quaintly called 'the odd sparrow.' Matthew records (10:29) how two sparrows are sold for a farthing, and Luke (12:6) how five are sold for two farthings; and so it would appear that, when two farthings were offered, an odd sparrow was thrown in, as of little value that it could be given away with the other four. And yet even for that one sparrow, not worth taking account in the bargain, God cares. Not one of them is forgotten before God, or falls to the ground without Him. With what force then comes the assurance: 'Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows' [Matthew 10:31]" (from Chapter 5 "The Pulpit and the Pastorate" of "George Mueller of Bristol").
he words of the LORD Jesus to His disciples show us that He is concerned about maintaining our lot, even now. "I will not leave you comfortless [Greek, orphanos, meaning fatherless]: I will come to you" (John 14:18). Through such a vast outpouring of Divine Power through the Cross and at Pentecost, He has given us all things to care for us body, soul, and spirit. "According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto Life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2Peter 1:3). Will we believe Him? Will we trust the promises of Jehovah Jireh to maintain our lot? "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (1:4). May we be able to say in faith with the Psalmist, "Thou maintainest my lot" (Psalm 16:5).
The first article in the series
Timely Supplies ---New Window
by J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
from the autobiography
To China... with Love
"Not infrequently our God brings His people into difficulties on purpose that they may come to know Him as they could not otherwise do. Then He reveals Himself as 'a very present help in trouble,' and makes the heart glad indeed at each fresh revelation of a Father's faithfulness. We who only see so small a part of the sweet issues of trial often feel that we would not for anything have missed them; how much more shall we bless and magnify His name when all the hidden things are brought to light!"
Provision in the LORD ---New Window
in our "Promises" section
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"
GOD Glorified in Man's Dependence ---New Window
by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
"That the creature should have so absolute and universal a dependence on God, provision is made that God should have our whole souls, and should be the object of our undivided respect. If we had our dependence partly on God, and partly on something else, man's respect would be divided to those different things on which he had dependence. Thus it would be if we depended on God only for a part of our good, and on ourselves, or some other being, for another part: or if we had our good only from God, and through another that was not God, and in something else distinct from both, our hearts would be divided between the good itself, and him from whom, and him through whom, we received it. But now there is no occasion for this, God being not only he from or of whom we have all good, but also through whom, and is that good itself, that we have from him and through him. So that whatsoever there is to attract our respect, the tendency is still directly towards God; all unites in him as the centre."
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