David disobeyed God in demanding a headcount of the people of Israel. Given three choices of punishment, David wisely opted to allow God to choose, telling the prophet Gad: “But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands” (II Samuel 24:14b, NLT).
And what happened? “The Lord sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days. A total of 70,000 people died throughout the nation, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south” (II Samuel 24:15). David, seeing the angel of the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, pleaded with God: “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep – what have they done? Let Your anger fall against me and my family” (II Samuel 24:17).
So, “That day Gad came to David and said to him, ‘Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite’” (II Samuel 24:18). Why there? This is where the angel of the Lord was when God relented and stopped the plague from moving on into Jerusalem. Also significant is the fact that this threshing floor was located on Mount Moriah, the very mountain where God had tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac – see Second Chronicles 3:1 and Genesis 22. Golgotha, where Christ was crucified, was also located on Mount Moriah. If you read the first referenced text, you’ll also learn another important role this threshing floor played in the life of Israel.
“So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him. When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. ‘Why have you come, my lord the king?’ Araunah asked” (II Samuel 24:20-21a).
“David replied, ‘I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the Lord there, so that He will stop the plague” (II Samuel 24:21b).
“‘Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,’ Araunah said to David. ‘Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing boards and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the Lord your God accept your sacrifice’” (II Samuel 24:22-23).
And here’s where David makes a statement that shows, despite his blunders and even willful sins, he recognized God for the awesome omnipotent God He is and wanted with all his being to honor Him. My prayer is that all of us have this same reverence for our Heavenly Father:
“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” (II Samuel 24:24).
“I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” David didn’t want the place where he would worship to cost him nothing – he knew if it didn’t cost him, his worship would also mean nothing. Nor did he want what he offered to the Lord to cost him nothing – if it didn’t, he couldn’t very well call it a “sacrifice.”
My dear brothers and sisters, David’s confession here is so huge and needs to be echoed by all of us. You can’t attend a church that you refuse to financially support and call what you do there “worship.” You can’t offer the Lord that which you’ll never miss and call it a “sacrifice.” Worship must cost the worshiper. Give from the bottom of your heart and the depths of your soul. Give financially and give your service and your prayers.
We’ll get to verse 25 tomorrow.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates