A Worthless Sacrifice

In 1 Chronicles 21, David takes a census of Israel. He wasn’t supposed to because the battles were supposed to belong to God and God can use even a few hundred as He did in Gideon’s case to bring about a huge victory. In response, God gives him a choice of three days of plague, three months of defeat on the battlefield, or three years of famine. David chose the plague because he was hoping God would be merciful.

And God was. He caused the angel to stop at the threshing floor of Ornan. Gad, a prophet, told David to go to Ornan’s threshing floor and offer a sacrifice to God there. Ornan was willing to give away his threshing floor, wheat stores, oxen, and farm tools to the king, but David insisted on paying Ornan the full price for them. Verse 24 explains why. “Then 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.”

David understood the true meaning of a sacrifice. It had to cost him something, or he couldn’t say he was giving it to God. He didn’t praise God that a sacrifice was provided for free, he didn’t try to haggle with Ornan, he insisted on paying the full price. No shortcuts.

Yet in my life, I sometimes find myself taking shortcuts. I have skipped church when I was achy and exhausted. I’ve skipped my Bible time when I had a lot to do. A few years ago, there were a couple times I didn’t volunteer because I didn’t want to be near someone who was volunteering or because I was upset with the people at the church who were running the event. I wasn’t willing to make sacrifices that actually cost me something, I wasn’t willing to pay the full price.

To get the very best from God will cost you something. He demands it, not because He needs what you have, but because you need to love Him and love, by definition, requires sacrifice. He wants your heart to be focused more on Him than on what you have, to love Him more than you love money or security, and to be obedient even when it doesn’t make much sense to you.

Right now, my biggest struggle is being willing to sacrifice my time to Him. There are half a dozen things I’d rather be doing, but I need to be willing to give them up to serve my King, my Father. What are you struggling to sacrifice?

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