Old Testament Passages Good for Every Christian to Know, Part 14

Old Testament Passages Good for Every Christian to Know, Part 14

Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know, Part 14

by Doug Jacoby

This week's text is from the end of 2 Samuel. David's sinful reliance on statistics (in this case, a time-consuming and faith-diluting military census) has led to dire  consequences for Israel. A plague has taken many lives (2 Sam 24:1-17). The prophet Gad directs David to build an altar—on which the king will offer a sacrifice, ending the plague (2 Sam 24:18-25).

Araunah insists on offering his threshing floor (see picture, left) to David as a gift. Yet David, now taking full responsibility for his failure to trust in God rather than in military might, refuses. His famous words:

... “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24). 

  • "Sacrificing" something that cost us nothing isn't sacrifice! God is not honored by cheap sacrifice (Mal 1:6-14). Presumably this is why Yahweh did not look favorably on the sacrifice of Cain (Gen 4:3-5).
  • The location of David's altar, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, happens to be the location of the future temple—as well as the place where Abraham offered up Isaac (Gen 22:2; 1 Chr 21:2; 2 Chr 3:1). 

How about you and me?

  • Do we have the heart to live sacrificial lives—separating ourselves from the world (Rom 12:1-2)? 
  • What are my spending patterns like?
    • Do I freely share what I have—realizing that all good things ultimately come from God anyway?
    • Am I tightfisted—whether in time of natural disaster, time of need for a brother or sister, or when the offering plate is passed?
  • The Hebrew writer urges us, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name" (Heb 13:15).
    • The passage means more than singing hymns.
    • Do I openly share about the Lord?
    • Do I want people to know I'm a Christian, or do I inwardly hope they won't find out?
  • Let's determine to have the heart of David.

Next week: A key text—and a potentially embarrassing one—in 1 Kings.