When David was looking to buy a location to have an altar to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, Araunah was going to give him the place. David refused the offer. He insisted on buying it. Not only did he insist on buying it, but 1 Chronicles 21:24 said he wanted to pay the “full price.” He did not want to offer to the Lord something that cost “nothing.”
When we offer something to God, does it cost us something? Is it something we give out of our surplus? Is it something just sitting around collecting dust or is it something that matters to us? Is it a sacrifice to us or something that never would have caught our attention? David could have had the land for free but what would it then have meant to David?
At what cost do you sacrifice to the Lord? Do you pay “full price” or do you give little? This question is not only about money. Time. Use of talents. Recreation. Family. 1The list goes on and on. So what is your cost?
“But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.’ So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen.” – 2 Samuel 24:24 [NLT]
Saul was awaiting the arrival of Samuel so that he could consult with the Lord for battle. Samuel was late in arriving so Saul decided to take things into his own hands. His men were starting to get antsy so he felt he needed to do something. Instead of waiting for Samuel to present to the Lord the burnt offering, Saul offered it up. This was not something he was supposed to do – he disobeyed the Lord’s commands.
When Samuel arrived later, he asked what Saul had done. Saul painted a portrait of some of his men leaving and said he felt “compelled” to offer the burnt offering. Compelled means “forced.” He broke the Lord’s command (disobedience) so as to present a sacrifice to seek the Lord’s favor. Saul did not understand that God desires obedience over sacrifice. We should do both; however, if you are not obeying then is your heart really in the sacrifice?
Obedience is not a word we enjoy. It requires that we follow commands. There are some commands that are to protect us, to help us, etc. There are some commands that we are given to guide us in treating the Lord God as holy. Today is a good day to remember that God is holy. We serve a holy God. Our God desires obedience before sacrifice.
“He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering.” – 1 Samuel 13:8-9 [NLT]
We do not always know where God is leading us and we certainly cannot predict the future. We are to walk in faith, trusting that God is faithful. When Abraham was tested, he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Abraham went forward guided by his faith. God had promised Abraham many descendents. God had promised Abraham blessing. Abraham trusted God and pressed forward.
When it was time to sacrifice Isaac, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham, telling him not to go forward with the sacrifice. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram in the bush. God had provided the sacrifice that Abraham needed. In verse 8, Abraham had told Isaac: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (NIV). God surely provided with this ram.
If you are going through something right now and you are wondering if things will be okay—remember that God always has a ram in the bush. You might be expecting something different. You might not know what to expect. You might be too exhausted to even look—but the ram is there. God always provides what we need to get done with what we are called to do for Him. Live expecting that ram.
“Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.” – Genesis 22:13 [NLT]
“But King David replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.’” – 1 Chronicles 21:24 [NIV]
Gad told David to build an altar to the Lord and David obeyed. When he approaches Araunah to ask for the site needed to build the altar, he insists on paying the full price for the area even though he was told to simply take it. David’s reason was that if he simply took the land without a cost, then it really was not a sacrifice.
A sacrifice should cost something or it does not mean much. If David took the area without sacrificing anything of his own, what would it mean to him? It would mean nothing. It would not have been his sacrifice, but Araunah’s sacrifice.
Today look at what sacrifices you make for the Lord. Are you actually making a sacrifice that means something to you? Remember the widow who gave all she had—that small amount was a big sacrifice in her situation. We should feel the sacrifice—do you? Remember that God paid the full price for you. No sacrifice was too much for Him to give.