A Sacrifice Costs

After David’s terrible mistake of numbering the people—a mistake that was really an act of defiance against God’s clear instruction—he did the right thing by acknowledging his sin. There were still consequences to be dealt with, though, which involved three days of a devastating pestilence infestation in Israel.

A heartbroken David, seeing the destruction falling upon his people because of his sin, cried out for mercy. The Lord sent His angel to communicate to David that he needed to offer a sacrifice. We read this account in 1 Chronicles 21.

It is in that act of sacrifice that David demonstrates an important principle in our relationship with God:

…an offering that doesn’t cost me something is really no sacrifice at all.

In David’s case, the way this played out is that he was told to go to a specific place (the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite), build an altar, and offer an offering. When he arrived at Ornan’s place and told him his intentions, Ornan graciously offered the king anything he wanted: the threshing floor, oxen for a burnt offering, the threshing instruments for firewood, and his wheat for a grain offering. I suppose any of us would’ve done the same thing for our king. But David, though appreciating the generous offer, refused and insisted on paying for anything he used.

“I couldn’t let you do that!” came Ornan’s reply—again, you would’ve said the same thing.

But David ended the negotiations with this statement, “I will not take that which is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.”

He paid out 600 shekels of gold.

In our case, we aren’t called upon to offer sacrifices to deal with our sin debt. Jesus did that on the cross, and our faith in His gracious act is all God asks. But He does ask for other types of sacrifice.

We’re called upon to give of our resources to the local church so it can function in our community and be active in global missions endeavors.

Too many Christians give God their financial leftovers—if there are any…a sort of tip, depending on how good they feel on a given Lord’s Day. They don’t do without anything they want for the cause of Christ.

The Lord also asks for our sacrifice of praise…time…effort…. Again, too many give Him our leftovers, if we feel like it.

When was the last time your “offerings” to the Lord really cost you something?


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