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Jun
01

The God With No Needs

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Last weekend I spoke about stewardship from Psalm 50. Although I have never taught from this text, I found it to be timely for where we are as a church and as a nation, given the economy. Here’s the gist of what I shared in worship. This Psalm of Asaph opens with an introduction of Holy God who desired to assemble his people in order to share some thoughts about the worship of his people. The God who speaks revealed himself as radiant and perfect in beauty; exalted and righteous in his judgments.

In God’s opening statement he declared, “I am God, your God.” The first “God” does not appear in the Hebrew manuscript, so the statement would literally read, “I Am, your God.” Sound familiar? The use of “I Am” invites the audience to a walk down memory lane to the account of Moses standing before the burning bush as he encountered the “I AM.” So what was God trying to convey? God was reminding his people that He is self-existent and self sufficient. He has no needs. There is nothing that completes Him or causes Him to exist. God isn’t poor, and He isn’t “broke!” Everything in creation exists in dependent relationships. Fish need water, people need air, and so forth. God, on the other hand, is completely self existent.

From this opening remark, God then described his dissatisfaction with the offerings and the sacrifices of the people. His problem was not with the offerings in and of themselves (Psalm 50:8), but with the attitude and motivation of the worshippers. He further laid claim to ownership of all things in the universe. “For every animal of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains and the creatures of the fields are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is Mine” (Psalm 50:10-12). In other words, our offerings and sacrifices do not complete God. He doesn’t need them!

Some of the ancients believed that their offerings and sacrifices actually nourished the deities, leading God to this clarification: “Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” (Psalm 50:13) The answer to this rhetorical question is clearly no. So if our giving does not complete God or fulfill a need that He has, why give? What is the purpose of making our regular offerings and our sacrificial contributions? Tomorrow I’ll describe the proper motivation for giving found in the next two verses.

Categories : Psalms, Stewardship

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