What Does It Cost?

by Veronne Carter

II Samuel 24:24-25a [NLT] - 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. David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings.

Some people like to take the easy way out. I can’t say that I typically look for the easy way out, but it’s tempting. There are times when I wish things were easier or that I wouldn’t get convicted so quickly, or that I could just go with the flow. But the Holy Spirit typically corrects me – and I learn in the process.
In 2 Samuel 24 (go on, read it), David’s sin resulted in a plague over Israel, and removing it required him to make a sacrifice to God. He understood that and was willing to do so. That was difficult, but that wasn’t the hard part. David needed a place to make the sacrifice and the animals to sacrifice. He goes to Araunah to purchase the property and the items. Again, not the hardest part. Araunah respects the position of king, and offers David his property to sacrifice in, his wood to use, and his oxen to sacrifice. WHAT A BLESSING, RIGHT?
But that’s where the hard part shows up. What do you do when there is an option to take the easy way out to accomplish something? David realizes that his commitment and obligation to God may hurt, but it was a sacrifice that he owed. So his response: “I will buy it from you for a price. I will (not) offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.”
What is he saying and what does that have to do with us? I mean, when was the last time we were required to slay and sacrifice oxen? Sometimes God requires something from us; sometimes it’s in order to heal a situation, bring about a provision, answer a prayer, restore a relationship, etc. He requires our heart to be right – and many times he requires that we sacrifice something that makes us say “ouch.” A sacrifice usually hurts. We give up something we otherwise want and could have. Maybe time. Maybe food. Maybe something that is precious to us. It can be tempting to take the easy way out (eg, “I will give up vegetables”; “I will sacrifice my dentist appointment”), but when it comes to the big thing (eg, social media, sweets, hang out time) we shy away from it.
Maybe we can learn something from David who essentially said, ‘true sacrifice is going to hurt. I refuse to call something a ‘sacrifice’ if it doesn’t actually cause some discomfort in the process. It’s got to cost me something.’  The result? Verse 25b says after David’s real sacrifice, “The Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.”
What is God asking of you that doing so will hurt a bit. What have you been waiting for God to do, that seems to be in a holding pattern? Maybe it’s time for you to say and do 2 Sam. 24:24-25 to the Lord, and see what He does.