Thursday, March 8, 2012, 10:23 AMMarch 8, 2012
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” I Chronicles 21:24
At face value the lesson from this verse is that our offerings to God must cost us something. I’m not just implying that this applies only to our fiscal or monetary offerings – but the very offering of our selves. If we offer to God only what we can afford, only what gives us no discomfort, only from our excess or left-overs, only what costs us nothing – then is it really an offering, is it really a ‘sacrifice’? I don’t think it qualifies.
The context of this verse may help us understand it. At the beginning of this chapter David is tempted by Satan to take an official census of the people. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There were any number of censuses required, ordered by God throughout Jewish history. This one differs in two regards; 1) it was offered to David via Satan, not God, and 2) apparently this census was more a measurement of David’s military might, than some actual count of the people. Note verse 5 which records only the number of soldiers. Apparently David was swayed by Satan’s temptation because he was growing full of himself and his reliance on his military might was superseding his reliance on God!
My how I fall into this trap. I get a little ‘used by God’, and immediately get the big head – and begin to think it’s all up to me to decide and figure out the unknown. I was awakened this morning worrying about a situation unfolding in my work – that in the darkness of the early morning – I was absolutely convinced I alone have sole responsibility and resources to solve and resolve this issue. How stupid; since when have I been empowered by God to be in charge? Since when have I been given God’s job description? Yes, I know there is plenty God asks/expects me to do – by His job is not one of them! I have misplaced my reliance on God, and replaced it with some misguided psychological silliness that I’m in charge, I’m responsible, I alone am capable to fix this, I must help God do God’s job!
Well, the consequences of David’s screw up become swiftly known, and God gives David three choices regarding his punishment for this act of disobedience; three years of famine, three months of destruction by Israel’s enemies, or three days of plagues. Each of these seem strange to me, because they don’t directly punish David, but Israel. Is that the way it really works?
Apparently David chooses the third, and the angel of death begins its work, and soon David realizes this, and cries out to God (17) and begins to make amends by constructing a new altar and offering sacrifices to appease God’s wrath and judgment. In searching out a worthy place and resources David encounters Araunah, a good faithful Jew who sees the desperate situation, and more desperate King; and immediately offers to David his land, his wood, his oxen and even his grain for the offering – at no cost to David – free of charge. Most of us would probably jump at this gracious offer – many of us might even justify receiving this generous gift so as not to cheat Araunah out of his blessing for being so generous. But not David.
He is fully aware now of the severity of his misstep in listening to Satan; relying on his own military resources instead of relying on God, and refuses the free offer of Araunah – so that he can make appropriate, weighty and worthy sacrifices to God that reflect the depth of his disobedience, the measure of his guilt, and the severity of his sin. I think we miss this significance too often – or at least I do – when I consistently offer to God that which costs me nothing. God help me today to offer myself, my offerings, my sacrifices …and may they be costly enough to reflect that which I have received, and that which I have done.
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