Photo by Jefferson Santos
But the King replied to Araunah, ‘ No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24
There was a plague in Israel. God had brought judgment on them. Scripture doesn’t say what Israel had done. God sends a message to David to ask him to choose between three years of famine, three months of fleeing from their enemies, or three days of pestilence.
David chose pestilence because he said,
“I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from morning until the appointed time.2 Samuel 24:14-15
David was right God was merciful, and the plague was stopped. But God asked David to raise an altar to the Lord to stop the plague.
When Araunah heard David wanted his threshing floor so he can build God an altar he wanted to give it as a gift to the king. But David insisted on paying for it. He didn’t want to give God a sacrifice that cost nothing.
A sacrifice that costs us nothing.
For a sacrifice to be worthy, it has to cost us something. If it doesn’t then it can’t really be a sacrifice. David understood this. He knew God was worthy of a costly sacrifice. Love is costly. Anything worth our time will be costly and will require sacrifice. Serving God is no less, it will be costly, and if we are going to give to Him what is worthy it has to cost us something. It will cost us our time, our money, our dreams, our plans, and our comfort to serve God well. God will not take anything less. God will require a lot from us because He has given us a lot of Himself.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
God hasn’t spared anything of Himself for us, so He requires that we don’t spare anything of ourselves in our serving and going after Him. David in the old covenant felt that God was worthy of a costly sacrifice. How much more will we in the New Covenant (who gets the Son and everything else), give a sacrifice of ourselves to God?
A broken heart is better than a sacrifice.
David also discovered that God wasn’t really interested in his blood sacrifices and burnt offerings as he was interested in the condition of his heart before Him.
For you do not delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it; you are not pleased with burnt offering. My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart[ broken with sorrow for sin. Thoroughly penitent] such, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51: 17-18 AMP
It is easy to bring God a sacrifice of our time, our money, our gifts, our service, and our hearts to be far from Him. We can go through the motions and do all the Christian disciplines without heart. But David says, God doesn’t want our sacrifices and burnt offerings, He wants our hearts. He wants our hearts tender towards sin. He wants our hearts broken for the things that don’t please Him. This is a worthy sacrifice before Him.
The sacrifice of our lips.
Praise is considered a sacrifice unto God. Whenever we open our mouths in praise God considers it a sacrifice. It is often costly to praise God because our flesh doesn’t feel like it. It is a sacrifice to praise God when your body is in pain. It is a sacrifice to praise God when you cannot see His goodness in a situation. It is a sacrifice to praise God in the middle of the storm.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of the lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15
The psalmist says, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2
Prayer and praise are considered sacrifices before the Lord. Our prayer can be a sacrifice of sweet-smelling incense before the Lord, and the lifting of our hands as an evening sacrifice.
Righteous and just living with our songs.
Our singing and praying can be sacrifices we bring to the Lord. But God reveals something else, that we can come before Him with songs and worship but not live right. When we do this, God will ignore our offering of worship. Our songs have to be an outward expression of our private lives. We have to live the songs we sing or they won’t mean much. It‘s only a costly sacrifice if there is righteous and just living accompanying it.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. Amos 5:23-24 NLT May our whole lives be a costly sacrifice before the Lord!
May our whole lives be a costly sacrifice before the Lord!