True Sacrifice

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 You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”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.

Do you know people like this? They are quick to get excited in worship when things are going well, but if things are not going so great, they will stand there—arms folded and lips closed tight. But that is not what God has called us to do. We are called to worship just as much (or more) in the bad times as we do in the good times. That’s where the true sacrifice comes in to view.

When the money is low can you still offer up a song of praise? When you are suffering from a disease can you muster up the strength to lift your hands in surrender? When the world around you is falling apart—as in David’s case—are you still going to offer your best to God?

You see, David could have taken all of Ornan’s possessions and offered them for his sacrifice, but he made the choice to give out of his need.

1 Chr. 21:25 through 1 Chr. 21:27 (NKJV)
25So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. 26And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering. 27So the LORD commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.

Because David made the right choice and gave out of his need and his pain, God responded to his sacrifice, and answered his prayer. True worship will take us to a place where God will respond. Does God respond to your worship? If not, maybe you need to examine your heart? Take a look at what you are offering to God. Is it someone else’s offering, or is it something that comes from your heart in repentance and surrender? Does it come from a spirit of greed, or do you give it freely only to bless the Lord?

The last thing that I want to mention is this. There was a second sacrifice in this story. The first sacrifice grabbed God’s attention, and God answered David’s prayer. The second sacrifice was given as a response to what God just did.

1 Chr. 21:28 (NKJV)
At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there.

David offered up one final sacrifice to seal the deal. When we truly worship in a spirit of sacrifice, God is going to move. But if we only worship to get God to do something, I believe He will eventually stop meeting with us. Because there has to be a response of worship for what He has done.

David worshiped before the answer came, and he worshiped again after the answer came. Do you remember the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17. All ten of them began to cry out to Jesus saying, “Jesus, have mercy on us.” You see, they were coming to Jesus in their need. They knew that He was the only one that could heal them. However, when Jesus did heal them they all left, but one turned back to thank Him. And because of that, Jesus pronounced a special blessing on him. He said, “Your faith has made you whole”.

The Greek word that is translated ‘whole’ is ‘sozo’. It means not only ‘to heal’ but also ‘to save’. As worshipers we must understand that God wants genuine sacrifice. Romans 12:1 says that this kind of sacrifice is holy and pleasing to Him. True worship is done in good times and in bad. True sacrifice is offered before the answer comes and once again after the answer.

Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord (praise and thanks) at all times (every season). His praise (song) shall continually (regularly, perpetually) be in my mouth.” David wrote these words at one of the lowest points in his life. He was being chased by King Saul who wanted to kill him. The town that he fled to recognized him, so he began to act demon possessed to distract them. But still in the midst of pain, suffering, and fear, he said, “In every season of life, I will keep a song
of praise on my lips.”

That is the secret to true worship and true sacrifice. Don’t ever give God something that costs you nothing. Don’t rip God off and don’t be a cheap skate when it comes to worship.

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