And the king said unto Araunah, 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. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. — 2 Samuel 24:24
As the anniversary of September 11, 2001, approached, I challenged my sixth grade class to participate in a school-wide “Acts of Kindness” project. Each child had the opportunity to sacrifice their time to do something for others to honor the thousands of people who died on that tragic day. “Do something you wouldn’t normally do,” I encouraged, “and it will be more meaningful.”
The pledges rolled in. Some students pledged to spend time with an elderly neighbor. Some pledged to do the dishes for their mothers. Others offered to take over chores for their siblings. Each pledge was a sacrifice, but the more the children sacrificed, the better they felt.
It was no wonder that David felt he could not escape unhurt by his sin. He knew God would not accept anything but his whole heart. Taking the easy way out, though offered, would have devalued his sacrifice.
God requires sacrifice from every heart. In a still, small voice, He tells each of us what He wants. Faithfully being in our place every day is a sacrifice. God may call you to reach out to someone who is alone and needy. He may ask you to give up a hobby that clutters your mind with the things of the world. He may show you an opportunity to give sacrificially for the spread of the Gospel.
Just as a pledge of kindness cannot reverse the horrible tragedy, sacrifice cannot earn us salvation. The sacrifice alone did not reconcile David to God, but rather, God used the sacrifice as a symbol of David’s submission and humility.
God tells us that to sacrifice our lives to Him is our reasonable service; after all, He mercifully paid our debt. If we offer Him less than our whole lives, we have really offered Him nothing at all.
What has God asked from you? His gift of forgiveness is amazing. Let us also be willing to offer our time, energies, and resources, as well as our hearts.
The chapter begins by stating that the Lord was angered with Israel, and David reacted to this anger by numbering the people. Although many historians are unsure why this act was so wrong, the fact is that David knew it was wrong and obstinately continued even after Joab’s discouragement.
God presented three choices to David. Each was a punishment that God had told the people would result from disobedience: disease, famine, or war. David’s choice was the penalty that came most directly from God — pestilence. This was a punishment for both the house of David and the people of Israel. The Lord was angered with this nation for previous sins. When the plague reached Jerusalem, David saw the angel of the Lord ready to slay the people, and he pleaded with God to spare Israel and let him pay for the sin.
Through Gad, the Lord commanded David to build an altar of sacrifice. This showed David that God had accepted his repentance. The call for sacrifice foreshadowed the need of sacrifice to reconcile sin. Araunah was a Jebusite Gentile and owner of the threshing floor on which David was to sacrifice. He had probably converted to the Jewish faith, and was therefore living among the Israelites. David went to this man himself, rather than sending a messenger, which was a sign of humility.
Araunah offered the land free, plus oxen and any other item needed for the sacrifice. He gave as a king would give. In Hebrew it is worded, “He gave, even the king to the king,” which could indicate that he was the king of the Jebusites in the area. Though Araunah was a foreigner and this was Israelite land, David refused to take the land without payment. He bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver, and later purchased the adjoining ground for 600 shekels of gold.
The Temple was later built on this property. The threshing floor became the location of the Temple courtyard where the brazen altar for sacrifice was located. Currently this location holds the Dome of the Rock, which is an Islamic mosque. There is a place on the Temple mount that still has indentation from where it was used as a threshing floor. Orthodox Jews are presently preparing for the rebuilding of the Temple on this location.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
F. The sin of David in numbering the people (24:1-25)
1. The census taken by David (24:1-9)
2. The confession of David’s sin (24:10-14)
3. The judgment of God because of David’s sin (24:15-18)
4. The altar constructed and the pestilence stopped (24:19-25)
Jesus sacrificed everything to purchase our salvation. If we sacrifice our lives to God, we can make a difference for souls who are tragically dying in sin. How can we do anything less for Him?