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Explanation of 'portion' (Psalm 73.26)


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#1 Anya

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 08:38 PM

What does "portion" mean in "But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26)?
Thanks

#2 Moses Ibrahim

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:17 PM

What does "portion" mean in "But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26)?
Thanks


St. Tikhon of Zadonsk speaks abit about this here:

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/journey1/love.shtml

#3 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 10:43 PM

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk speaks abit about this here:

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/journey1/love.shtml


To share the relevant portion here:

3. The true lover of God disdains the world and all that is in the world, and strives toward God, his most beloved. He counts honor, glory, riches, and all the comforts of this world which the sons of this age seek, as nothing. For him only God, the uncreated and most beloved good, suffices. In Him alone he finds perfect honor, glory, riches and comfort. For him God alone is the pearl without price, for the sake of which he holds everything else as little. Such a one desires nothing in heaven or on earth besides God. Such love is portrayed in the very words of the Psalter, "For what have I in heaven? And besides Thee what have I desired upon earth? My heart and my flesh have failed, O God of my heart, and God is my portion forever" (LXX-Ps. 72:25 [KJV-Ps. 73:25]). He uses food, drink, clothing, and everything else only as needful, and not for sensual pleasure

From this it follows that whoever loves the world does not love God. According to the witness of the Apostle, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 Jn. 2:15). Such are those that find pleasure only in the pride and pomp of this world, in rich homes, in rich carriages, in rich tables, in dressing in rich clothing, to be glorified and admired by all, and so on. Such people love the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 Jn. 2:16) which are all repugnant to God, but they do not love God.

4. The true lover of God keeps God ever in mind, and His love toward us and His benefactions. We see this even in human love, for we often remember the one we love. So whoever loves God remembers Him, thinks of Him, and finds consolation in Him, and is enrapt in Him. For wherever his treasure is, there his heart is also (Mt. 6:21). To him the priceless and most beloved treasury is God. Therefore his heart also holds itself inseparably before Him. Whence it is that he also remembers His holy name often and with love. For the heart filled with the love of God reveals outward signs of love. From this we see that those who forget God do not love Him, for forgetfulness is a manifest sign of no love for God. The lover can never forget his beloved.

5. One who loves, desires never to be separated from the one he loves. Many Christians desire to be with Christ the Lord when He is glorified, but they do not wish to be with Him in dishonor and reproach, nor to carry their cross. They entreat Him that they may come into His Kingdom, but they do not wish to suffer in the world, and thereby they show that their heart is not right and that they do not truly love Christ. And to tell the truth, they love themselves more than Christ. For this reason the Lord says, "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me" (Mt. 10:38). A true friend is known in misfortune. He is our true friend and one who loves us who does not forsake us in misfortune. Likewise the true lover of Christ is he who abides with Christ in this world, and cleaves to Him in his heart, and uncomplainingly endures the cross with Him, and desires to be with Him inseparably in the age to come. Such a one says unto Christ, "It is good for me to cleave unto God" (LXX-Ps. 72:28 [KJV-Ps. 73:28]).



#4 Anya

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 01:51 AM

I am still not sure that I understand the meaning of "portion." Is it "the part that I need to do in life," "my cross"?

#5 Paul Cowan

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 02:21 AM

Could it have to do with what Christ said to St. Paul? My grace is sufficient for you. When he asked Him to take away the spirit that buffetted him.

Paul

#6 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 08:52 AM

Dear Anya,

Very often, especially in Old Testament languge, reference to 'my portion' relates to that which has been allotted to a person in / by life. 'It is my portion to be a beggar' means, in this kind of language, that 'of all the lots that could have been cast my way, this is the portion of life that has been named for me'.

When the psalmist speaks of God as 'my portion', it seems in one (very direct) sense to be identifying a relation with God as the lot he has identified himself as receiving: of all that could have come my way, what I have received as 'mine' is God - the ultimate of all gifts. But it strikes me there is also a slightly subliminal message, tucked into the nuance of the language: namely, that reference to one's portion is generally in minimalist terms. It is the 'little bit' I have received. So to speak of God as one's portion is to invert this. The 'little bit' I have received is, in fact, everything.

This seems to resonate with St Tikhon's words (in the text quoted above):

For him God alone is the pearl without price, for the sake of which he holds everything else as little.


INXC, Dcn Matthew




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