God, the Portion of His People
William Nicholson, 1855
It is the privilege of Christians to say, "For this God is our God for ever and ever! He will be our guide even to the end!" Psalm 48:14
The believer is also called an heir of God, which implies that he is entitled, through grace, to all that the Infinite Jehovah possesses, so far as shall be needful to make him completely and eternally happy.
Christians, rejoice that God is yours! All of His glorious attributes and perfections are yours!
His mercy is yours . . .
to save you,
to remove your guilt, and
to sympathize with you in times of distress.
His wisdom is yours . . .
to provide for you,
to counsel you, and
to direct all things for your good.
His omnipotence is yours . . .
to guard and protect you in the hour of danger,
to support you in every conflicting scene, and
to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom.
His goodness is yours . . .
to supply all your needs,
to enrich you with the best of blessings, and
to grant you unfading happiness in the mansions of glory.
His omniscience is yours . . .
to behold you in every situation, adverse or prosperous;
to foresee all the attacks your adversaries intend to make upon you;
and to provide for your present and everlasting security.
His omnipresence is yours—therefore He has said:
"In six troubles I will be with you, and in seven I will not forsake you."
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."
"Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
His justice is yours . . .
to fulfill all covenant engagements,
to reward you with a dwelling-place in the realms of bliss,
to punish all those hostile powers incessantly opposing you.
His immutability is the rock of your security, and the source of your unspeakable joy!
His faithfulness is yours, as the pledge for the accomplishment of all those promises which are exceeding great and precious to those that believe.
Such, Christians, is your happiness. Rejoice in it, and say, "The Lord is my portion, therefore will I hope in Him!"
How great is the condescension of God, in becoming the eternal portion of such worthless worms!
God is . . .
an infinite Being,
without bounds to His essence,
wonderful in His actions,
inconceivable in His purposes,
and inexpressible in His attributes.
He is . . .
infinitely more than worlds in himself;
too high for our speculations,
and too majestic for our descriptions!
Though He seems at an immeasurable distance from us; and reason seems to prevent fellowship between this glorious Being and such sinful creatures as we are—yet He is the God of all His redeemed people!
Here then comes in the incarnate Word of God, to soften the dazzling splendor of his greatness. The beautiful testimony concerning him, throws a sweet and sacred mildness round his throne, that its radiance may not be too much for us. "Though the Lord be high—yet he has respect to the lowly."
Remember, Christians, that the infinite grandeur and majesty of God, as well as his astonishing condescension, will answer many of your inquiries, and remove some of your doubts.
For instance, you ask: How can it be true that God should so love a world so sinful and insignificant as this, (which, one would have thought, would have been lost in the immensity of his works)—as to send his only begotten Son into it, to save lost and fallen man? How can it be true?
The answer is plain: Because "he is the high and lofty One;" and, in his eye, one world is no more insignificant than a thousand, and a thousand no more important than one; and because it is his glory to pity the fallen and miserable; and "to revive the heart of the humble, and the spirit of the contrite ones."
Again, you ask: How can it be true that, when overwhelmed with distress and fear, we should enter our closet, and give vent to the fullness of our hearts—how can it be true that the groans and tears, the cries and breathings, of worthless wretched individuals like us, should rise into the ears of the Lord Almighty, and procure any deliverance or answer of peace?
The answer is plain: Because "he is the high and lofty One," in whose presence a thousand archangels, in the Heaven of heavens, are really no more than the mostbase, groveling, struggling soul in a cottage of dust; and because it is one essential exercise of his greatness, to regard contrite desire; and it is one of his favorite employments, "to lift the poor out of the dunghill;" "to say, to the fearful heart, be strong!"
Again, is this your language: "Oh! what shall we do when God rises up to judge us?" How can it be true that we should ever pass through "the valley of the shadow of death," with any composure, or bear to stand before his naked tribunal, with any confidence or hope?
The answer is plain: Because He can so calm your minds, that you shall lose a sense of all the grandeur and awfulness of divine majesty and power, so far as they would be distressing to you, in the mildness and tenderness of all the most familiar and endearing character and relations in which he stands to you; so that you shall feel no more terror at the change of worlds, than a sheep would feel at being conducted, by the shepherd's hand, from one pasture to another, or a child at being removed, by a smiling father, from one room of his dwelling-house to another.
Oh! the happiness of the Christian, in having the Lord for his God! What blessedness is connected with this delightful appropriation! You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! And, believers, there is a foundation for this appropriation. There is nothing else that is really your own. Your wealth is not your own—your children are not your own—your souls are not your own—but God is your own! You may say, with the church, "God, even our own God, shall bless us."
Christians! This God is really your own, and entirely your own, and eternally your own!
This appropriation enables one in distress to approach God with boldness and confidence; for then he deals with him on the ground of an interest in him. Yet this is not always an easy thing. There are many who are afraid of this language of appropriation, and yet it belongs to them: they conclude they have no part nor lot in the matter, when, at the same time, their heart is right with God.
There are two senses in which Christians are able to use this language.
For surely, first, you can say that you hope that he is your God. This hope you may have to war with numerous doubts and fears, but still you would not give it up for a thousand worlds. It may not at present be able to give you full relief; but then it ascends to the throne of grace, and makes you familiar with the foot of the cross.
This hope is like laying hold of a branch, just sufficient to keep your head above water, to preserve you from sinking, until some more effectual assistance be brought to extricate you. It is like a ray of light thrown athwart the darkness, just sufficient to show you that it is the darkness of the chamber, and not the darkness of Hell, in which you are placed.
And there is another sense in which this language can be used: You can say that he is your God, by preference and submission. The ambassador of a certain nation applied to the Romans to be admitted as their allies. They were refused. Then said they, "We will be your subjects, for we will not be your enemies." Is not this the case with you? You can say, "Lord, I am not my own—I will not be for another lord. I am yours—save me! If you refuse to acknowledge the relation, (and I deserve to be refused as a friend,) Oh! make me as one of your hired servants. Lord, what will you have me to do?"
Christians, you are wishing to say, "O my Savior-God!" Why, you have said it; and if the preceding language is sincere, you have effectually said the Lord is your God and portion, and therefore you may hope in him.
My God, my portion and my love,
My everlasting all,
I've none but you in Heaven above,
Or on this earthly ball.
What empty things are all the skies,
And this inferior clod
There's nothing here deserves my joys,
There's nothing like my God!