Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Cost of sacrifice

King David lived a full, long life. God's hand was upon him from an early age. Although he was the youngest of all his brothers, he was the one anointed to be the next king. He found favor with King Saul, which was increased when he later killed Goliath. This success began David's military career, in which he became quite famous and favored in the eyes of the people. Saul became jealous of the praise David received and tried to kill him numerous times. David was forced to flee but his fame continued to grow as he was in hiding. Eventually David became king over Judah and Israel, finally uniting the two countries. Everyone knows of the whole Bathsheba episode and the shame that fell upon his house afterwards. David's family was torn apart by adultery, incest, murder, and betrayal but he made it through and the kingdom was restored to him.
David is described as a man after God's own heart. This truth isn't negated even after he sins. Why? Because he does exactly what God wants the prodigal to do - he repents and turns to the arms of his Father, where he finds love and forgiveness. This took a tremendous amount of faith. David knew his Daddy and knew he could do anything and go through anything because his Daddy loved him. And he knew exactly how much he was loved. So when David found himself at Araunah's threshing floor, being offered all he needed for his burnt offering free of charge, he declined the offer. He could have accepted, thinking he deserved it since there was a plague on Israel and tens of thousands had already died. He could have accepted just because he was king. But he insisted on paying: "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing" (II Samuel 24:24) What a bold statement! That is why David was a man after God's own heart. He didn't allow his guilt over his sin keep him from worshiping God. And he didn't blame God for the bad things that happened. He offered his pain up as worship and was willing to pay for it.
So many times we fall short. At least, I know I do! It's so easy to praise and worship Him when all is well - when we have wealth, good health, and love; when everything comes easy. But life isn't always "fair." Bad thing do happen to good people and we have an enemy who takes pleasure in stealing, killing, and destroying. Sometimes it feels as though justice will never come, and that's usually because sometimes it doesn't. People we love are hurt or end up hurting us. Sometimes it's a struggle just to keep afloat in this world and in our society. But it's when we worship during those days of darkness, pain, and doubt that we join with David, saying, "I WILL NOT SACRIFICE TO THE LORD MY GOD [MY DADDY] BURNT OFFERINGS THAT COST ME NOTHING."

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