Monday, May 13, 2013
Taking responsibility means paying the price!
2Sam. 24:24 ¶ But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
1Chr. 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No; I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
David had disobeyed God and sent his commander out to create a census of his fighting men. What was he doing? Instead of trusting in God for the victory he wanted to check on his own resources, and God was not pleased. David knew he had done something terrible and now he would have to suffer the consequences. God told him that there would have to be punishment and David could choose from three different options. He chose to have a plague come on the nation for 3 days because this would be brought about by the hand of God and not by his enemies. Nearing the end of the third day the angel of the Lord that was bringing the punishment made it to the threshing floor of Araunah, or Ornan, and stopped there! David wanted to come and worship God and make an offering in that very place. When he approached the owner, the gentleman wanted to give him everything that would be necessary for the sacrifice. David refused. He knew that he was the one who had caused this punishment to come upon the people. He could not sacrifice an offering to the Lord that had cost him nothing. Therefore he paid the price and made the offering.
How many people today are trying to find the easy way out? Somehow we want to worship the Lord, but we don't want it to cost us anything. Let's look at the facts related to worship of God these days. There are plenty of folks complaining about the condition of the church, and yet the Church (as far as my Bible reads) is still the bride of Christ. God has chosen the Church to be his vehicle for his presence in the world. The fact is that we have filled up our lives with numerous activities and there is little time left for God and the church. Sports have become our god and it's more of a priority to go to a game than it is to be in church. It doesn't cost us anything to be in church because it is no longer a priority. We fit it in if it's convenient. If God and worship of him are to be a priority it will cost us our time. We can't delegate our time out to anyone else. We have to give of our own personal time -- not anyone else's as a sacrifice to God.
What about the financial cost of serving the Lord? What has happened to the concept of tithing? I've heard people say that tithing is pretty much out of vogue these days. So, when did we start rewriting the Bible? It seems to me that tithing is a concept that God established thousands of years ago but all of a sudden, in the last 30 years, we can choose whether what God teaches us to do in the Bible is right or not? The problem again becomes priorities. What are our priorities when it comes to spending our money? The sad truth is that many people are so over-extended financially that they can't even imagine tithing. They are simply living paycheck to paycheck and wondering if they can pay the next set of bills. Unfortunately those bills include the purchase of items which were simply out of reach for these individuals. But we have a mentality that tells us we "deserve" all kinds of things and those become our priorities. If we are going to take responsibility for our spiritual lives, we will need to pay the price. This means that we need to practice storehouse tithing as a minimum. This is our responsibility and seriously -- it will change the way we manage our money! No longer is it ours, but it is a gift from God and we realize that we are privileged to have 90% of it!
Ultimately this story was about David making a sacrifice for sinning. This is another place where it's difficult for people to take responsibility these days. For years we used to hear, "The Devil made me do it!" Now, we don't even bother giving the Devil credit -- we just say that everything is relative and while that might not be right for you, it could be right for me. Meeting with a group of young people recently we were having a discussion regarding sin. They weren't sure that they could describe what sin was -- or even list a single sin. Everything was relative for them. Everything needed to be evaluated in terms of context. Well, if no one knows what is right or what is wrong these days -- how will anyone ever have a sense of needing to pay the price and take responsibility? David was convicted of his sin. He knew that he had done something wrong. God had told him not to count the soldiers and yet he did. It was pretty clear that he had gone against what God had desired of him. But David also had a tender heart and conscience. He was spending time on a regular basis in God's holy presence and God is the one who convicted him of his sin. We must sacrifice to spend time in God's presence so that he can speak to us and bring about conviction in our hearts so that we can take responsibility. And when we recognize that we must take responsibility -- we must take action -- and we must be willing to pay the price to maintain our relationship with the Lord.
Lord, may I have a willing heart and spirit to respond to your leadings. Amen.