Scripture Focus: Psalm 16.5-6
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Reflection: Our Delightful Inheritance
By Erin Newton
The rising cost of housing is not news to us anymore. Headlines recently have read, “Gen Z Can’t Afford the Rent,” and “Realtor Explains Why Millennials Struggle to Buy Homes.” Where former generations bought homes and land with relative ease, younger generations are seeing it as an impossibility.
Land has served as a means for gaining security and wealth throughout millennia. In the Old Testament, key figures are marked by their possessions and their land. Abraham is promised land as an inheritance for his descendants. The vast number of livestock owned by Job hints at a large land ownership necessary to care for the herds. Land meant security and prosperity. Land was desirable.
Stories about the twelve tribes settling into the Promised Land contain details about the divisions and make little impact on us today. But the absence of land given to the Levites is noticeable. How did the Levites feel about their lack of inheritance?
Psalm 16 is a confession of faith by someone who is devoted to the Lord. The psalmist relies on priestly language speaking of the “holy people” of the land and the dangers of idolatry. The psalmist rejects the idea of pouring out “libations of blood” to a false god. It could be that the perspective is that of a priest, a Levite.
[It’s important to understand that inscriptions reading, “of David,” can mean more than authorship. Some of these psalms are attributed to David, written in the style of David, or about David.]
If the psalmist is truly a Levite, he is landless. This expression of joy uses the language of physical blessings but the content of each blessing is God.
God is his portion. His lot is secure. His boundary lines fall in pleasant places. He has a delightful inheritance. Rolf Jacobsen rightly identifies the source of hope, “The relationship that the psalmist has with God is the psalmist’s all—the portion, cup, lot, boundary, and inheritance.”
With headlines that remind us of all that we lack, do we see God as our all? With a savings account that doesn’t seem to go anywhere but down, do we see the pleasant lines of our inheritance?
A health and wealth gospel will try to convince us that we need something more than God to be content. Do not pour out offerings to the gods of this world. Eternal pleasures are at his right hand alone.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
The Lord is near to those who call upon him, to all who call upon him faithfully. — Psalm 145.19
Read more about Inheritance of Rachel’s Daughters
Inheritances are promised and given, not earned or attained. They can’t be purchased or procured.
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