1 Chr. 21:21 through 1 Chr. 21:24 (NKJV) 21So David came to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David. And he went out from the threshing floor, and bowed before David with his face to the ground. 22Then David said to Ornan, "Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people."
23But Ornan said to David, "Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all."
24Then King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."
Even though the Lord called David a man after His own heart, we know that David also had several flaws. In 1 Chronicles 21 David had sinned by taking a census of the people. As a result God let David choose between three punishments: three years of famine, three months of military defeat, or three days of plague.
As we read in the text, David chose to have plague on the land for three days. In his distress, David was allowed to peer into the spirit realm, and he saw the angel of the Lord with sword drawn getting ready to destroy Jerusalem. David pleaded with God to stop, and God directed him
to build an altar and offer a sacrifice at the very place where the angel was standing with his sword drawn. The place was the threshing floor of a local farmer, Ornan.
Having been made aware of David's intent, Ornan offered to give David everything that he needed for the sacrifice, but David answered and said, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."
David was faced with a very tempting offer. Here was someone who didn't have a lot, and he was willingly offering his land, his best ox, and his crops so that David could offer a sacrifice. We know from scripture that worship is sacrifice, but many times we want to curt-tail on someone else's sacrifice. In other words, we want someone else to do all the work to get to God, and we want to share in the benefits of their labor.