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The Word in the World

The Word in the World – Sacrifice has a cost (2 Samuel 24:24)

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 23-24

Today’s Reflection: 2 Samuel 24:24

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

After King David sinned before the Lord, God brought about a plague on Israel that killed thousands.  David prayed for mercy and God stayed the hand of the avenging angel (2 Samuel 24:15-17).  At the point where the plague stopped, David decided to build an altar and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.  Arunah, the owner of the land that was currently a threshing floor for grain, was willing to give it to Israel’s king for free along with oxen to be used for this purpose.  But with the words in today’s reflection text David insisted on paying for the land.

David understood that sacrifice must exact a cost.

In our world today, there is an interesting trend in charitable giving.  You can buy Product (RED) iPods and Hallmark Cards with proceeds going to fight AIDS and malaria in Africa, or you can buy pink pens and toasters with proceeds going to support Breast Cancer research, or you can even stop a warlord who exploits children by sharing a video on-line and ordering your kit from KONY2012.  Apparently now curing the world’s ills doesn’t require you to be a Good Samaritan; just be a good consumer.  Or perhaps charitable organizations have figured out that many people won’t give to a cause unless they are getting something in return.  Either way, in these instances the ‘giving’ is almost incidental, with nothing given up.  There is no sacrifice here.

David could have gone this route and accepted the resources necessary for the sacrifice for nothing.  But he understood his sin had exacted a cost on Israel, and redemption from sin had a cost as well.  The cost of redemption couldn’t possibly be paid by the sacrifice he offered.  David’s sacrifice was merely a symbol.

Hebrews 10:4 – 3) But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4) For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

David’s sacrifice symbolized the true and ultimate sacrifice for our sins: Jesus Christ.  David’s insistence on paying for the sacrifice symbolized Jesus willingness to give of Himself freely for our sakes.  And as Christ calls us to follow Him and be like Him, He calls us to give of ourselves freely with no thought as to receiving any earthly thing in return.

Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

We can’t have the pleasures of the world and have the blessings of Christ at the same time.  Following Jesus means sacrifice—giving up the pursuit of the pleasures of this world.  Being a Child of God has a cost.  Are you willing to pay it?

Luke 14:27-33 – 27) Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28) For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29) Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30) saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31) Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32) And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33) So therefore, any one of you who not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.



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