“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6 ESV)
Some people think that their lives are determined by fate or by luck or chance. For them, life is a gamble, a roll of the dice. The psalmist David is familiar with gambling or, as he knew the practice, casting lots. But David knows that his future is not a matter of chance or luck. The Lord God holds his lot, as He holds ours. God already knows the pathways of our lives. David expresses a similar thought in another psalm, saying that in the Lord’s book “were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16b ESV).
The people of God understood that the Lord held the future in His hand. In ancient Israel, sacred lots were sometimes used, with prayer, to determine God’s will (see 1 Samuel 14:41-42). After Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles presented two qualified candidates before the Lord in prayer, asking Him to choose the new apostle who would take the place of Judas Iscariot. “They cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26 ESV).
Casting lots played a part in our Lord’s death. As Jesus hung on the cross, soldiers divided His clothing, an act foretold in Scripture: “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:18 ESV). The boundary lines of our Lord’s life did not appear to fall in pleasant places. Jesus was condemned and nailed to the cross. He died and was buried. Some of the people watching, especially His enemies, may have thought that His life had been merely a gamble, His death a twist of fate, with no purpose. But Jesus’ death was no act of chance. For the sake of our salvation, Jesus was delivered up into death “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23b ESV). God the Father held the lot of His Son and raised Him up from death, exalting Him to reign in glory.
The psalmist rejoices that the Lord is his “chosen portion,” the portion or share he receives as his inheritance. By God’s grace through faith in Jesus, we too have the Lord as our chosen portion. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have forgiveness for our sins and an eternal home in our Savior’s presence. The boundary lines of our lives and our inheritance have fallen in pleasant places, now and for eternity.
The Lord has not told us to cast lots to determine our choices in life. We bring decisions before Him in prayer, study His Word, and listen to the wise counsel of others, trusting that God holds the outcome in His hand. Through our Lord’s death and resurrection, we already know the ultimate outcome that will be ours. In Christ Jesus, we have a beautiful inheritance. It is no gamble. It is a gift.
Prayer: Lord, You are my chosen portion. Life in Your presence is my inheritance. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Do you like to play games of luck or chance? What do you like most about them?
2. What kind of “beautiful inheritance” has God provided for you?
3. Do you feel there’s a certainly to knowing that God loves us, or is that something you’re still not sure of? Why or why not?