Have you ever sat through a worship service and suddenly realized that your mind was a million miles away. Maybe you've came to worship angry, saddened or so excited about something else. Sometimes I find myself coming with very high expectations, even with personal needs, with the hope of feeling God's embrace but I don't find it in my worship times. While these are not the norm, they can happen from time to time yet our spirit still craves an encounter with God. Fortunately, God wants us to experience a rich and rewarding relationship with Him through worship. However, I think that sometimes we short circuit God's desires by not paying the cost of worship. Let's consider David's heart reveal in 2 Sam 24.
2SA 24:18 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." 19 So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad. 20 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.
2SA 24:21 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."
2SA 24:22 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. 23 O king, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you."
2SA 24:24 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. 25 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.
The context of this passage is that David sinned against the Lord by counting the fighting men in Israel. Therefore the Lord brought judgment on Israel which killed about 70000 Israeli men. David's took the census because he was concerned about a foreign invasion. David repents and asks Gad (his prophet) what he should do to make atonement for his sin. We can see at least 4 sacrificial commitments that David paid in order to worship God.
Worship is a sacrifice of personal resources. According to 1 Chron 21:25, David paid about $70,000 in today's currency for the sight, oxen and all the things needed to build the altar and to offer the sacrifice. We know today that giving is part of our worship for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:10). Further, if you lead worship, you are very well acquainted with cost of worship; the cost of equipment, music rights, lessons as well as others can run up big bills fast. These financial sacrifices contribute to richness of our worship.
Worship involves a sacrifice of our heart's affections. David had strayed from fidelity with God by numbering Israel. The plague that broke out against Israel was a result of David's sin. David had to repent and make atonement. It is interesting that the census was never completed according to verse 1 Chron 21:6 yet God judged David for what was in his heart not for what he accomplished. We must make loving Jesus preeminent in our worship. Mark 8:34-37 says that we are to deny ourselves the affections of our hearts in this life.