Daily Worship

Prospecting for Gold

Jock Stein April 16, 2023 2 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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Psalm 16 (NRSVA)

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.’[a]

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
    in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;[b]
    their drink-offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
    my body also rests secure.


For you do not give me up to Sheol,
    or let your faithful one see the Pit.


You show me the path of life.
    In your presence there is fullness of joy;
    in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Most of us think of wild Americans or Australians, away out in the bush, hoping to find that one lump of gold or some valuable mineral which will set them up for ever and a day. We link it with gold rush fever, or even with buying a lottery ticket, it is so unlikely (and therefore, we conclude, so stupid). But Psalm 19:10 says that God’s teaching is like gold, to be sought by one and all, and this Psalm 16 tells us how to look for it.

We seek the Lord, and to get the gold of his teaching we keep him always before us (verses 7-8). When you pan for gold, you spend a good while swilling dirt around, your eyes focused for that wee flash of gold. So we seek the Lord in the everyday gravel of life. But this search is more than a vague hope that ‘one day we’ll find the gold’ – verse 8 concludes, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. God is not like the treasure at the end of a rainbow, always moving with the light: God is the golden Trinity, and therefore at the same time the beginning and end of the search, the figure who searches beside us, and the spirit who drives us to keep looking.

Remember the wee Salvation Army lassie who had the courage to ask the bishop if he was saved? Let’s tweak the story, and say she asked him if he had found God. So he would reply, “My dear” (as bishops were allowed to do back in the day), “Do you mean ‘Will I find?’, ‘Am I finding?’, or ‘Have I found?’” – the answer of course aways being yes.


Lord Jesus Christ, you are not like that brittle statue of Nebuchadnezzar with a head of gold – you have a heart of gold. We seek you daily, and rejoice in your word, as one who finds great treasure. Thank you! Amen.