I love the Old Testament! Well most parts anyways. It is full of the histories of God's people and the nation of Israel. In this section of the Bible there are wars, love stories, famines, times of abundance, blind faith, miracles, people who obey, people who do not obey, and so much more.
I'm speaking on Generosity this Sunday and I have come across some "bonus" material in the Old Testament that I would like to include Sunday but unfortunately, will not fit into my allotted time slot. However, fortunately, God has blessed us with email/facebook/internet access and so, here is the bonus coverage.
I love any story that is King David related. This story is found in the book of 1st Chronicles. David, as you may know, is revealed to us in Scriptures as "the man after God's own heart". However, at this particular time in David's life, he has just committed a humungous sin. He disobeyed God. You can check out the entire story found in 1 Chronicles 21. However for time sake, we will take a glance at the end of the story. The part where David is seeking forgiveness. We will pick up the story at verse 18:
18 Then the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him through Gad.20 Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. 21 When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.”
23 “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” 25 So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold[b] in payment for the threshing floor.
26 David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. 27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.
28 When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor.
Did you catch it? Read verse 24 again. David could have used his status as King to accept something that was free and then present it to the Lord. This sacrifice then would have cost him nothing. But he was asked to make a sacrifice to the Lord by an Angel so this would be more out of obligation then generosity right? Yes, however, in verse 28 we see that David continues to sacrifice beyond the requirement. I believe we have a tendency to become ritualistic. We come to church every week, give the same "tithe" every week, and we lose something along the way. We have a tendency to forget what we have been rescued from. We forget what we have been forgiven of. We forget that our offerings and tithes are not a requirement but a response to the goodness of God.
Tomorrow, we will find David at the end of his life and see if he remembers God's goodness.
This week…continue to be generous,