Season 2, Episode 4
For Friday, August 28, 2015
“That Which Costs Us Nothing”
HOST: Wade Webster
When David sinned by numbering the people, God sent a mighty pestilence into the land that claimed the lives of seventy thousand. When the plague was finally stayed at the threshing floor of Araunah, David sought to erect an altar there. Araunah, being a faithful servant of the King, offered to give the king his threshing floor. However, David refused, and bought it of him, declaring that he could not offer unto the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). David’s statement is a wonderful reminder to us of the cost of true worship. As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that our worship costs us something.
When David foolishly numbered Israel, God brought a severe pestilence into the land as a punishment. Seventy thousand men died before the punishment was finally stayed at the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:16). At the command of Gad the prophet, David determined to build an altar at that very spot (2 Sam. 24:18-19). When David spoke to Araunah about buying his threshingfloor (2 Sam. 24:21), Araunah offered to give it to David (2 Sam. 24:22-23). Perhaps, Araunah did this out of loyalty to the king. Better yet, he might have done it out of gratitude since the Lord had stopped the plague at His doorstep. Whatever the reason for Araunah’s offer, David refused, saying, “Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24).
I love David’s attitude, don’t you? I believe that David had the right attitude concerning worship. Someone has suggested that David’s words can be be broken in four parts to show four common attitudes toward worship.
The first attitude is: “I will not offer.” There are some individuals who will not offer or give anything. They are very stingy with their time and money. If you invite them to worship on Sunday, they will tell you that Sunday is their day. They will tell you that Sunday is the only day that they have to rest and relax. They are just as stingy with their money. Like the foolish farmer, they store up what they have so that they can eat, drink, and be merry for many years (Lk. 12:16-21). They hoard everything that they have that they can spend it on themselves.
The second attitude is: “I will not offer unto the Lord.” These individuals are not Scrooges with their time and money as were those we noticed in the first group. These individuals are willing to volunteer for various causes and to give money to certain things. For example, they might volunteer at a local animal shelter. They might give money to support cancer research. They do some good things for good causes. It seems that they can give time and money to almost everything except for the Lord. Their affections are on earthly things, and not on things above (Col. 3:2). Their priorities are on the wrong things. God and His kingdom are not first in their lives (Mt. 6:33). While it is certainly acceptable to give time and money to good secular causes, we must never forget that the greatest cause of all is the Lord’s cause.
The third attitude is: “I will not offer unto the Lord that which costs me.” Unlike those in the first group, these folks will give their time and money. Unlike those in the second group, these folks are not completely secular in their thinking. They will give to the Lord. However, they will not give sacrificially. They will give as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. No doubt, you remember those of Malachi’s day who were giving the lame, the sick, and the blind to God (Mal. 1). They were giving, but they weren’t giving their best. The best would have cost them something. They were giving that which didn’t really cost them anything. The lame, the sick, and the blind were of little or no value in the marketplace. Some of these animals were probably going to die any anyway. God was highly upset with their offerings. Malachi records:
“And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.
And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts.
Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles;
and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 1:8-11).
The fourth attitude is: “I will not offer unto the Lord that which costs me nothing.” David understood that in order to be acceptable, worship must cost us something. This principle is taught throughout the Old Testament. Repeatedly, God’s people were instructed to give the first fruits of the land (Prov. 3:9). They were instructed to give the best of the flocks and the herds (Deut. 12:6). These offerings cost them something. With these sacrifices, God was well pleased. He remains pleased with sacrifices like this today. In Hebrews, we read, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb. 13:15-16). No doubt, the Bible student is reminded of the poor widow who cast in her whole living (Mk. 12:41-44). Like David, this poor widow understood the cost of true worship. This widow’s offering cost her everything. With her sacrifice, Jesus was well pleased. Mark records that Jesus called His own disciples over to make sure that they didn’t miss the lesson. We read, “And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mk. 12:43-44).
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that our attitudes are right. Let’s make sure that we do not offer to God that which costs us nothing!
(The major points of this outline are from a class taught by Jim Dearman in the Memphis School of Preaching while I was a student there).
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