1 Chronicles 21:22-24
22 David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”
23 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.”
24 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!”
This is a story all about how Israel got flipped and turned upside down. David holds a census and counts all the people in the country. This angers the Lord and He gives the king a choice between three judgments. David makes a good(ish) choice and chooses for the Lord to do what He will.
This means three days of a plague that ends up killing 70,000 people.
Yikes. That’s intense.
After the three days, God sends a death angel to completely destroy Israel, but thankfully He changes His mind at the last minute. So you’ve got this massive death angel at a random threshing floor ready to wipe out an entire nation with his sword and God says, “Nah son chill out.”
King David then sees the angel and his sword and he’s all, “Yeah let’s build an altar and make some sacrificies to make atonement for my sins.”
He offers to buy the threshing floor from the owner, Araunah, at “full market price” (The Msg). Araunah tries to just give it to him, as well as all the materials and animals needed to make the sacrifice. The King is all, “Nah son. I gotta pay the price yo.”
Then he says a sentence that is quickly becoming one of my favorite sayings in the bible.
"I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!"
That’s intense. That’s a good heart. That’s a Godly man. David knew he needed to make a sacrifice. He knew he messed up and he saw experienced the consequences of his screw up.
Knowing me as well as I do, I don’t think I would have been able to pass up the free land, oxen, wood, and all the other stuff that Aranuah offered. I like free. Free trumps all. Everything is better when it’s free. In my mind, I would have thought, “Wow God really knows my heart and He wants to bless me by giving me all this stuff for free so I can sacrifice it to Him.” Even as I type that, it seems totally legit.
But that simply wasn’t the case.
David had an understanding of the heart of God unlike any other, and he knew that he had to pay a price so God would honor is sacrifice and his worship. The King didn’t try to skim off the top of that price either; there were no cutting corners or finding secret discounts.
I have a friend who’s really good at the Craigslist bartering/buying/selling thing. He’s sold a few cars, bikes, and various other largely priced items on the website, and he always seems to come out on top of the deal. One way is he will find a defect in the product if he’s buying it and expertly exploit that defect so he can shave off a few bucks. It’s maniacally genius and I really admire him for being able to find a way to save those few bucks.
David, however, asked for the appraisers to come out. He found out the full value of the land and willingly paid it all. I find it interesting that there’s no price given in this passage. We don’t know how much it cost David to buy this land. Maybe it wasn’t much. I mean the guy was a king after all. Maybe it was chump change, money found in the couch cushions.
The point is, he paid the price. He made the sacrifice. He knew there would be a cost and he didn’t try to weasel his way out of it.
What can we learn from this? How much does your worship cost you? Are you truly making a sacrifice when you worship God? Or do you just do cut corners on your giving, living, worshiping, sacrificing, etc?
I challenge you to take a moment today and truly examine how much your worship costs. I can guarantee that if you pay the full market price, you will experience God in a whole new way.