“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” —Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but thee? The blessings that surround us because of God’s general benevolence look exceptionally holy to us, especially when we compare them with the fallen things of this earth. We are saved by God’s grace, yet the reality of the world we live in is corrupt. There is no doubt about it; and we can clearly see this.
Yet, when our eyes look heavenward, when the Spirit brings us the revelation of the Holy One, nothing else will do. The streets of gold and gates of pearl will not do; the redeemed members of our families gone by will not do; the saints of scripture will not do; the holiest angel winging above God’s throne will not do. Only Christ will do! Only the blessed Lord Jesus Christ and He alone will do.
…and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. After that blessed revelation; after that heavenly vision, our glance upon earth now has a quite different outlook; a look supreme; a view that is heavenly and majestic. Nothing else satisfies but Christ; and in Him, through Him, and by Him, we receive a much greater blessing in the fellowship God provides in those whose lives are “hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
Furthermore, we embrace the brethren with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given unto us (Romans 5:5).
Not only that, but we look at the lost through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ; not in some gross and perverse twisting of the scripture that suggests a universal salvation, but in a way we make the blood available through the preaching of the gospel.
This is necessary… as we see this reality in our next verse:
My flesh and my heart faileth: In the illumination of the Spirit, and the reality in all that we face every day, we realize that we still walk in this fallen world; a world full of corruption; a world full of sinful men like you and I; that we all fall short of the glory of God; and that the best that all we do, even by God’s grace, is still tainted with the imperfections of one who is flesh and a descendent of fallen Adam. Yes, indeed, my flesh and my heart faileth…
- I sin. My flesh faileth.
- I sorrow unto depression like Elijah. My heart faileth.
- I’m no longer young, strong, healthy; and one day, I’ll die. My flesh faileth.
- I do not always walk in the fullness of joy in Thy presence. My heart faileth.
In these times we must be brought back to the truth of God’s Word… as is written in the last segment of our portion of scripture…
…but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. The word “strength” in our text literally mean’s rock. Yes, Jehovah is my Rock, as it is written, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Yet, we understand that this Rock is none other than Jesus Christ, the crucified One, as the first time that this Hebrew word is used is found in Exodus 17:6, “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” Moses struck the Rock that provided water to the children of Israel; and we know that the Holy Spirit reveals to us the blessedness of Christ in that truth through the apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Therefore, the truth of the crucified Christ is my strength. We have been justified by God’s grace! Faithfulness upon that truth is faithfulness that is immovable, steadfast, and eternal. Then we may rejoice because He is truly and certainly my Portion forever, as it is written, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:9-11).
And rejoicing in that truth helps us to trust in sanctified faith because of the trials, tribulations, adversities, and persecutions that come our way. Yes, and they will come. It is written, “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot” (Psalm 16:5). To claim Christ as our Portion without realizing that we also drink from His cup, is unwise; and it will cause us to stumble for that would be not walking according to truth. To deny the cup of suffering is to deny Christ’s commandment to take up our cross. To walk in such blindness is foolishness and can only lead to frustration, and ultimately, only end in great disappointment. To attempt to walk the Christian way without the Pilgrim’s “Hill Difficulty” or without trial, tribulation, or adversity, is to bear witness that the portion we really desire is the blessing from God, and not the Blessed One of Israel, who is very God.