Formations 10.04.2020: What Is God Worth?

Psalm 24

Worth has to do with what one is willing to give in exchange for something else. If would be stupid to pay $20 for a soda at the fast food place: It’s only worth a couple of dollars. On the other hand, if you can enjoy a gourmet meal at a five-star restaurant for only $20, you’d call it a bargain.

Our English word “worship” was originally worth-ship, the reverence that someone pays to one who is worthy. In other words, it has to do with what we think God is worth. Settle that, and we’ll have the proper attitude toward God and toward how to manage God’s good gifts.

For the next four weeks, we’ll explore the theme of stewardship. Rather than traditional texts about giving, though, we’ll look at biblical attitudes that define a steward of God’s blessings.

In Psalm 24, we see that stewardship begins with the confession that the earth and all that is in it belongs to God. God is its creator, to whom we owe our very existence. Therefore, the first attitude to bring to our stewardship is exuberant praise.

Scholars suggest that this psalm was written to be sung by a throng of pilgrims arriving at the temple to offer God their sacrifices and worship. Such pilgrims confess the greatness of God, take stock of their own spiritual condition—they have cleansed their hands and purified their hearts. Finally, they call for the gates of the temple to be opened that they might worship God in the sanctuary.

Centuries later, believers join that throng and praise the King of glory. Like those ancient pilgrims, we are called to declare our faith, examine ourselves, and enter God’s presence.

What is God worth? That’s little abstract, isn’t it. Let’s try this question instead: What is God worth to me? What am I willing to give to be at the center of God’s will? How much would be too much to give? What price would I consider a bargain?

Psalm 24 reminds us that the earth is the Lord’s: the world, the seas, the rivers. Everything. That’s how great God is. That’s what the psalmist believes that God is worth.

And if we agreed that that’s what God is worth, then what would our stewardship look like?

Discussion

• When have you been thrilled to discover a great bargain? How did you know that you were getting more than your money’s worth?
• When have you been disgusted to find that you had paid too much?
• What “blessing” and “vindication” (v. 5) is ours as God’s worshipers?
• How might this psalm inform our worship and stewardship today, without a central temple?
• How can these verses inspire us to worship God not only with our hearts and mouths but also with our material resources?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.

*****

For further resources, subscribe to the Formations Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

*