There’s an interesting story in 1 Chronicles.  David decides to take a census, which is counted as sin.  I’ve read several reasons as to why this was a sin, but many seem to point out that it was a matter of pride.  David was not instructed to take a census, and it seems as though he insisted on doing it, in spite of counsel that recommended otherwise.  Either way, for whatever reason, David sinned in having this census taken.

As punishment for this sin, David has a choice:

  • three years of famine, or
  • three months of devastation by your foes while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else
  • three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’

Now, quite frankly, none of those are particularly appealing options.  Regardless, David asks to “fall into the hand of the Lord” because of His mercy, and so a plague comes upon the land.  70,000 people die in this plague.  And then something happens that really stuck out to me.

David goes to the “threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite in order to build an altar.  Araunah, being a good and wise person, offers to give it to the king, who had the power to just take it away in the first place.  But David would have nothing to do with that.  Here’s what he says…

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! (1 Chron 21:24)

David refuses to just take the threshing floor as a gift.  He refuses to just use his power as king and take it.  David knows that the true nature of sacrifice is that it is supposed to cost something.  And so, he pays Araunah a significant amount.

Sacrifice should not be easy.  It’s not something that should happen without thought or cost.  David pays full price.

A few hundred years later, there was another who did the same thing.  He wasn’t buying a threshing floor and some property, however.  When Jesus paid the full price, he did it for us.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, giving himself, the most costly thing that a person can give – life.  And he did it willingly, on our behalf; he paid the full price for you and for me.  That’s true sacrifice.