I’ve been reading in the Old Testament a lot lately--not to mention surprisingly loving it more than I thought I could. It’s so neat. So many great stories and once you dig a little and get into the culture and time of the stories it’s amazing. How amazing it is to see the different ways God has worked into the details and how poetic it all is.
Well this morning I was reading finishing up 2 Samuel at the end David is told to make a sacrifice to God on a certain piece of land which is something else's. David tells the guy he is going to make an alter and sacrifice to God. The dude tell David, “you can have any of my animals to sacrifice.” But David refuses. David insists that he pays the guy for his animals, not just just pay him but fairly pay him. David explains he wishes to do this because it’s not really a sacrifice unless David has to put up a sacrifice.
How many times we get this wrong. Sacrifices look so different to so many people because it’s what is a sacrifice to YOU. Don’t give God something that doesn’t require you to sacrifice, that’s not what he wants. He wants YOU and that requires you to show that you want HIM. If your sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice to you then it’s not really a sacrifice.
2 Samuel 24 (The Message)
17 When David saw the angel about to destroy the people, he prayed, "Please! I'm the one who sinned; I, the shepherd, did the wrong. But these sheep, what did they do wrong? Punish me and my family, not them."
18-19 That same day Gad came to David and said, "Go and build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." David did what Gad told him, what God commanded.
20-21 Araunah looked up and saw David and his men coming his way; he met them, bowing deeply, honoring the king and saying, "Why has my master the king come to see me?"
"To buy your threshing floor," said David, "so I can build an altar to God here and put an end to this disaster."
22-23 "Oh," said Araunah, "let my master the king take and sacrifice whatever he wants. Look, here's an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles and ox-yokes for fuel—Araunah gives it all to the king! And may God, your God, act in your favor."
24-25 But the king said to Araunah, "No. I've got to buy it from you for a good price; I'm not going to offer God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice."
So David bought the threshing floor and the ox, paying out fifty shekels of silver. He built an altar to God there and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. God was moved by the prayers and that was the end of the disaster.