Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Free Sacrifice: An Oxymoron

One of my treasured Christmas gifts was Beth Moore's A Heart Like His Personal Reflections 90 Day study. This study on David was something I was excited to dive into, as I am with any Beth Moore resource.

It's April 1 and I'm excited to say I finished this study. I learned so much not just about David--his ups, downs, victories, mistakes, strengths and weaknesses, but about the Father in Heaven who loves David so much, and you! Take heart---if God can call David a man after his own heart after committing adultery, conspiring to have the husband killed, being disobedient, and a pretty lackluster parent, well then isn't there great hope for all of us!

One particular element of David's life is one I can't shake. In fact the same day I read about it in 2 Samuel 24:18-25, I read it in another devotional as well. Those are the times you know God is trying to say something. Well Lord, your clueless servant is listening!

I don't know that I totally comprehend what He's trying to teach me, but this I can say I grasped out of that part of David's life. Sacrifice is not free.

On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."
So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad.
When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.
Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" "To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped."
Araunah said to David, "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." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you."
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." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.
David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

(Christianity.com Bible Study Tools---you can access it for yourself at the right of this blog.)

Before this reading we learn that David took a census and had to choose what method of punishement to take. A census isn't so bad unless you are being disobedient, and David did it with a spirit of pride. Of the three choices God gave David, he chose the plague. Seventy thousand men died because as Beth Moore stated in the study, David deserted the throne and didn't trust God. He didn't intercede for his nation, and he had the wrong motive for the census.

As we read this passage, God commands David to go to the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite to build an altar. After you saw 70,000 men die of a plague that was basically your fault, you'd get moving to the threshing floor, wouldn't you? David did.

Araunah greeted King David with open arms and after learning David was there to buy the threshing floor to make an offering of sacrifice to the Lord to end the plague, this man wanted to give the floor to David. No need for a real estate transation, just have it. Nice sentiment, right?

It is, unless you came to make a sacrifice. It's pretty hard to offer a sacrifice when there is no---well---sacrifice! Verse 24 has David saying basically, I insist. I have to pay. I can't give the Lord my God an offering that cost me nothing.

David paid for the threshing floor. He built an altar for God.

The plague stopped.

Whatever your goal or destination, I'd be shocked if the journey was full of smooth paths and short cuts. Sure we have blessings and easier seasons than others, but full devotion to your Heavenly Father takes sacrifice. It isn't free and without adversity. Sacrifice costs. Just ask God's Son.

But I have a feeling when we get to heaven to talk with the Savior and King David, they both will agree sacrifice is worth every penny, every bead of sweat, every tear, every drop of blood.

By the way, this Beth Moore study explains further that the threshing floor of Araunah was so special to God because it was the exact spot in Genesis 22 where Abraham obeyed God and sacrificed Issac. Later on that same spot would be used again by Solomon. As Beth notes, this place is a place of sacrifice and substitution.

May David's payment encourage you in your own threshing floor sacrifice.

Julie Arduini is a surrendered writer with her own blog, http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/. A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild, she blogs for the Christian Writers Forum Sundays as the mommy blogger and is the Forum's book club facilitator. She is active with FaithWriters and has several writings ready to publish in different books and anthologies in 2008-09. To get to know her better, read her interview by Linda Schab at: http://www.faithreaders.com/featured-author-details.php?id=33%20To contact Julie, please use the e mail provided in our profile.

1 comment:

Scarlet Carter said...

This is beautiful-Julie! (And I don't just mean the template either-lol) This is really great what ya'll are doing. Keep it up!