II Samuel 24: 22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.24 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 threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
Micah 6: 6 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
David had sinned against God. This was the latter part of his reign. He looked at the nation and its blessings. He saw how prosperous it was. The devil tempted him to number the nation of Israel. What’s wrong with a census? That’s what other kings did in those days to boast with each other or sit back and gloat over what they had. King Nebuchnezer did that and God made him act as a wild beast for seven years. It was easy for David to look around him and say “look what I’ve done.” He didn’t give God the credit. David’s census went against God. He was given a choice of judgements because of his sin. He chose the plague. Many people died.
Araunah had a threshing floor on Moriah, the same mountain that Abraham was on when he took his son Isaac there to be a sacrifice. If not for the intercession of God, Abraham would have killed his son to be acceptable to God. God stopped him. It didn’t take Isaac’s life for Abraham to be acceptable. This was a test of Abraham’s faith. He knew you don’t earn a place with God. He told Isaac God would provide and he did. A ram was caught in a thicket. Years later God didn’t spare his own Son so we could have a Savior.
Araunah wanted to give the threshing floor to David as a gift as well as supply items for the sacrifice. David said no. You can’t buy acceptance from God. David didn’t want to make a sacrifice that cost him nothing. We give the Lord what belongs to him. The devil can’t pay for what he’s done. Neither can we. Someone had to pay. Jesus paid the price by the work of the cross. We are saved by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus. We repent—are sorry for our sins. All we can do is turn them over to Jesus. When we do that, we are made acceptable. Araunah said the Lord thy God accept thee. David said it had to cost him something. When it was paid, the plague stopped.
Be careful not to take credit. It’s not our best or our doing good, or our being moral that gets us to heaven. Some people think they are better morally than others and surely that will earn them a place in heaven. Not so. We don’t add or take anything away when it comes to salvation. It’s not our best but Jesus’ best that bought it. Micah said the best you have isn’t enough. The year old calves were the best of the herd. God doesn’t accept sacrifice as a substitute for salvation. We can’t claim that what we do will get us to heaven. I can do my best as a preacher and teacher, but if I’m not trusting in Jesus, I’ll go to hell. The Bible tells us that in the day of judgement many will say Lord, didn’t I do this and didn’t I do that and God will say “I never knew you.” Church won’t get us to heaven. It’s not a ticket to heaven. Only Jesus will get us there. Does our best get us anywhere? No. Even if it did, how many of us can honestly say we’ve done our best? Only God gave his best when he gave us Jesus. Jesus gave his best when he gave his life. I can’t top that.
God doesn’t need me and Jesus to get me to heaven. Cain may have brought the best of his garden but a sacrifice was required. We have yet to do our best. Verse 7 says Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? These are different types of sacrifices. We serve God because we are saved not to be saved. God is not impressed by the size of our sacrifice. The poor widow gave two mites and her offering was more accepted than those who gave large sums of money. Don’t try to impress God. Be impressed by him. Never lose the feeling of the awesomeness of God.
The Bible is more than just stories. It is the Word of God. It should still impress and excite us. The deeper you go with the Lord, the deeper it gets. It’s a wonder God doesn’t get bored with us. He holds our next breath. Be thankful he holds us in his heart. This is a good aim for life—to be accepted by God. Strive to be such a believer.
For next week, study places where the Bible speaks of being acceptable. The emphasis is not on us but on God.