Two weeks ago a verse jumped off the page of my One Year Bible, and I still haven't been able to forget it. I've mulled over its meaning in context and for me. Here's the verse:
"But the king replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.' So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen." 2 Samuel 24:24
David had taken a census and had to choose a punishment from the Lord for doing so. He chose a plague which lasted three days and killed 70,000 people throughout the nation. Just as the angel of death was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, God said: "Stop! That is enough!"
At that moment the angel of the Lord was at the threshing floor of Araunah, and David saw him. David asked that the innocent people be spared for it was he who had sinned. He is told to build an altar on the threshing floor.
Araunah bows to King David and offers the threshing floor and sacrifice at no cost. This is when David replies with the above quoted verse. David refused to build an altar to God and sacrifice upon it if it meant no cost to him.
What can be learned from this verse? Why had it stood out to me and stayed with me? The more I thought on David's proclamation, the more I understood.
If I am to truly worship God in the way He needs to be worshiped, it should cost me something. What kind of sacrifice doesn't involve giving of something of worth? The very definition of sacrifice is giving something precious to a deity.
Now, I know I am not required to bring oxen or lambs to an altar to sacrifice for my worship. But, what precious somethings do I give up for worship? Pondering that I realized I have to be willing to sacrifice my time, talents, treasures. If worshiping God means I must sacrifice that all too important time, I should do it. Honoring Him may mean I have to give up relationships that aren't God-honoring. I may need to give of my money so my money doesn't control me.
The lesson here for me was not to cheat God out of all He deserves from me. He sacrificed His most precious Son for me. In return I can't give him a sacrifice that costs me nothing. That's like telling Him: "Sorry, You're not worth my time and my all. Maybe another time."
God, help me not to cheapen my worship of You. Let me with David proclaim that I will not bring a sacrifice of worship unless it costs me something. In this way I show that You are worth more than anything I may have to give up.