I Chronicles 21

By Terri Pettyjohn
Writer and Author, Contributing Writer, EXW
June 20, 2019


Read more from Terri Pettyjohn

1 Chronicles 21:24, “But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

How blasé we talk about worshipping God, how tritely we utter the words Praise God, and how assuming we are when we come to church to lead the people of God into worship! God bless those who come every week faithfully, practice music to perfection, and still fall short of grasping the awesomeness of worship.

I feel like I can relate so well to David because of his heart to please God, and yet the times when he just blows it because he is human. I can only say, “Been there, done that.” But, he didn’t let his mistakes keep him from doing what he knew in his heart was right and just. The story of David numbering the fighting men of Israel is a perfect example of David’s frailty in the decision making process when he allowed Satan an inroad into his thinking. Listening to the voice of Satan, rather than staying in tune with God, David commands that the fighting men be numbered. I can almost see David’s chest puffing up when Joab reported back a whopping one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword. Why was God so repulsed by David’s action? I don’t really know, but David and Joab both knew it was wrong, and most importantly, David’s action was evil in the sight of God. Perhaps God knew that David would think that somehow the greatness of his kingdom was due to manpower, not God-power.

God, being the just God that He is, gave David a choice of three punishments. David chose the punishment from God, rather than from men and watched as God sent a plague on Israel and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. A pretty horrendous consequence for listening to Satan. Verse 17 says, “David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. O Lord my God, let your hand fall upon me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.” This particular punishment was to have lasted three days, and was to reach to every part of Israel. You see, God did not take lightly the fact that David has disobeyed Him.

Because our God is a merciful God, He ordered the killing stopped and an altar be built on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Unaware of what was going on, Araunah had been threshing wheat with his four sons when they saw the angel of the Lord. When his four sons saw the angel of the Lord, they hid and left their father to talk to David. Brave boys! When David told Araunah that he wanted to buy his threshing floor to build an altar to the Lord, Araunah offered to let David have the threshing floor for free and he would throw in the oxen, wood, and wheat as well for the various offerings. But, David refused because he knew that he was to blame and he wouldn’t offer sacrifices to God that had cost him nothing. He insisted on paying the full price. It’s kind of like Christ, the full price had to be paid or there was no forgiveness.

When we’re standing up on the stage, and the people are following our leading, we need to realize that some are truly worshiping because they understand worship. However, others are following because they are watching our example. What an awesome responsibility for us, as leaders, to completely understand what it is we’re offering to God before we do it. Is it well-rehearsed songs that are accompanied by familiar actions of worship? Are we still upset because of a morning gone awry with our children, and not truly in the place we need to be spiritually as we lead others? I don’t think worship was ever intended to be easy or something that we give with no thought. When it says a “sacrifice of praise” it changes our job description slightly.

I pray that my worship has cost me something when I offer it to the living God. May I never forget that I am standing in the presence of the Creator of heaven and earth who balances His justice with grace and his judgment with mercy. To have access to One so great through the Cross of Christ, is beyond anything my mind can comprehend. I’m not in His presence because somehow I’ve finagled an invitation or won the lottery. I’m there only because of the blood of Jesus Christ.









Terri Pettyjohn
Writer and Author, Contributing Writer, EXW
Read more from Terri Pettyjohn


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