Sermon

The Lord, Our Apportioner

Michael Beck Michael Beck

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We can arrive at our own conclusion that we would be better off with more (or less) at any given time – asking God to orchestrate things according to our plan; or, we can let Him choose what our portion will be.

And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12:13-15)

We submit to God (i.e., give Him power/control) when we accept His unique working in our life, allowing Him to divide/apportion to us according to His will, not our own.

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

When we trust that God is wiser than we are, we commit ourselves into His hands, and ask Him to give us the exact portion He knows we need at all times.

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. (Pr. 30:7-9)

convenient > Heb. -choq > statute, limit, boundary, portion, allotment, something prescribed

God is the rightful Governor of the universe. He sets His bounds everywhere in creation according to His will and wisdom.

When he gave to the sea his decree (choq), that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth (Proverbs 8:29)

Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place (choq), and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? (Job 38:8-11)

Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds (choq) that he cannot pass (Job 14:15)

Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree (choq), that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? (Jeremiah 5:22)

For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver (Heb. – chaqaq), the LORD is our king; he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)

Jesus taught us to pray with a heart of submission to the Father, asking Him to wisely give us our daily portion, according to His plan to protect and provide for us.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

God seeks to deliver us from evil, when He puts a cap on anything in our life. The “evil” God delivers us from is the inside evil we would fall into without His supervisory care. Paul had to have the thorn in the flesh place a boundary on his ego.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (2 Corinthians 12:7)

Left to ourselves, we don’t know when “enough is enough.” We would sicken ourselves with things that are “sweet” to our taste.

It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. (Proverbs 25:27)

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. (Proverbs 25:16)

The world is always about more. The religious world can reflect this attitude.

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

The religious world can also major on asceticism.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

When we walk carefully with Him the Lord is our faithful guardian, keeping us from temptation more than we can bear.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

As the guardian and supervisor of our life, the Father’s main aim is the promotion of His own glory. He designs all things for us to bear “much fruit” in which He will be glorified.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit … Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:1,2,8)

God chastening judgment, which can bring subtraction or addition to us, is designed to teach us to walk in His statutes (i.e., bounds.)

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes (choq) … It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes (choq) … I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (Psalm 119:67,68,71,75)

There is a portioning, whether by way of addition or subtraction, that is not the result of our obedience or disobedience, but the product of the Lord bringing us to a greater place of maturity and fullness in Him.

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (Job 1:20-22)

It is never God’s will for us to suffer as an evildoer. But if we experience suffering on the path of obedience we are to commit the keeping of our souls to our faithful Creator, who knows how to work all things together for good.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf … Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:15,16,19)

Because we are each unique before God, His dealings with us are “custom tailored.” We should never measure the portion we have, little or much, to that of any other.

Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (John 21:21,22)


Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.