There is nothing wrong with looking for the best deal. We are to be good stewards of the finances God has entrusted to us and go after the finest quality at the most affordable price. But when it comes to that which we are called to sacrifice unto the Lord, it is to be just that—a sacrifice!
II Samuel 20:1-24:25
I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. II Samuel 24:24
If what we give to God cost us nothing; if we have cut corners or gone on the cheap or have manipulated a discount; if we give second hand or second best when we could have done better, then it is not a sacrifice. God deserves our best. Now understand that our best is not to be compared to someone else’s best—it is simply that which for us is of the highest quality and the deepest devotion and the greatest love.
King David illustrates this kind of costly sacrifice here as we close the book on II Samuel. This story was important enough that the Holy Spirit inspired the human author to include it in this inspired account of David, thus leading us to conclude that it represents a principle of giving God expects us to observe.
The context of this story is David’s refusal to accept a plot of land for free—land that the prophet Gad had instructed the king to secure upon which he was to build an altar. The altar was for a sacrifice that would absolve David of his guilt in wrongly ordering a census of Israel’s fighting men and stop the plague that God has visited upon the nation that had resulted from David’s disobedient act. The sacrifice David wanted to make was a serious one—there were 70,000 fresh Israelite graves to prove it. The altar to be built to accommodate that sacrifice had been ordered by God—so this was a matter of utmost importance.
After Gad’s instruction, David went to Araunah, who owned the land where the angel of the Lord had ceased his destruction of the Israelites, and this was the spot where the sacrifice was to take place. Araunah responded to David’s request to buy the land by offering it for free—along with the sacrificial elements—all in the name of the Lord. But David refused this generous offer, insisting on paying full price for both the land and the animals to be sacrificed.
In refusing to accept the land for free or at a discount, David established an enduring and God-honoring principle for sacrifice: “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God offerings that cost me nothing.” God always asks for our best—and he deserves nothing less!
So how are you doing in the sacrifice department? Does that which you offer God cost you your best—that which represents your highest quality and the deepest devotion and the greatest love? If not, now is the time to start a new pattern of giving. If it does, keep it up!
Just Saying… Charles Thomas Studd wrote, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”