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 (NIV)

If you’re Resting at the River’s Edge with us, you read this story late last week.

  • David sins
  • God gives David his choice of judgments
  • David chooses three days of plague
  • Near the end of the third day, God instructs David “Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” (2 Samuel 24:18)
  • When David arrives, Araunah makes him an offer: “Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. O king, Araunah gives all this to the king.” (2 Samuel 24:22-23)
  • David’s response ought to give us all pause:

“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)

David was King and Araunah was happy to give him his land and everything he needed for the offering. But David was making an offering and a sacrifice to his King. Taking the free gift from Araunah would not have been much of an offering/sacrifice from David. It is to David’s great credit that he didn’t take the easy way out here.

Matthew Henry’s English is a bit dated, he hits the nail on the head. In his Commentary on the Old Testament, he says this about the passage:

Note, Those know not what religion is whose chief care it is to make it cheap and easy to themselves, and who are best pleased with that which costs them least pains or money. What have we our substance for but to honour God with it? and how can it be better bestowed?
Matthew Henry Commentary on the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 24:24

Or put in modern English, he’s saying something like this:

Those whose primary goal is making things as cheap and easy on themselves as possible aren’t seeking God with all their hearts. What is the purpose of all we have, if not to honor God? Can there be a better use for our possessions, energy and time but to use them to serve Him?

I was convicted by David’s statement and doubly challenged by Matthew Henry’s. I wonder – am I serving God sacrificially? Do my offerings cost me something or is He getting the leftovers? Is He getting service in my spare time and with my spare energy and money?

Let’s look at some examples.

Tithing: If giving 10% is easy – if your income is such that you can easily live on 90% – would God be honored by you giving more? And is there any better thing you can do with the “more” than give it to God?

Ministry/Service: Have you said “yes” to so many opportunities to serve that perhaps your service is costing you time, but you have no effort or “overflow” to minister out of? Or maybe it’s not so many opportunities to serve that takes your time, but all the other activities in your life. Is God getting the dregs, last minute, jump in the car and go, then wing it when you get there service? If so, I would contend that your service isn’t costing you what it ought. Maybe you need to be involved in less activities, and perhaps even less ministry activities, so that your offerings of service are complete offerings of all that you are.

Time with God: Is your time with God filled with constant distractions of this world, shortened by earthly demands, and less consistent than your other commitments? The enemy is a master at distracting us during our quiet time, and I’m not here to bring condemnation about it. But there are distractions that are brought on by the enemy and there are distractions that come up simply because of our own lack of discipline or planning. I’m talking about the latter here. My time with God ought to cost me something – it ought to be a sacrifice of all I am to focus on Him. Sadly, often it is not.

This is not a word meant to bring condemnation, but it is a word that is meant to encourage you and me to do better. I want my offerings to the Lord to have value – that means they must cost me something – because that’s how we value things here on earth – and if it’s not of value to me, I haven’t given an appropriate offering to God.

Lord, forgive me when I have taken You for granted! Help me to change. Help me to love you more, and to demonstrate that love by giving honestly of my time, money, talents, energy, and love to You.

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