1 Chronicles 21:22-24
22 Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”
23 But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.”
24 Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”
I’m not sure what I was looking for this morning as I was reading in my Bible, but when I came across these verses today, I nearly wept. This is a beautiful story of God’s mercy. David had been warned not to sin, and yet he did. And when faced with worldly punishments or one brought directly by the Lord, David threw himself upon the mercies of God. Many died because of David’s sin, but before God’s judgment had run its course, He stayed the hand of His avenging angel. David then asked for the Lord’s judgment to be upon him alone, and so the angel directed David to build an altar.
In Psalms 51:17, David tells us that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.” A lot of folks then might believe that all they have to do to receive God’s mercy and grace is to simply say, “I’m sorry, Lord.” David had such an opportunity to just say, “I’m sorry.” Ornan offered the king everything he needed to build an altar and make an offering, all at no cost. But David knew that such a gift would not be acceptable to God. God had shown that “His mercies are very great.” (1 Chronicles 21:13) So David then understood that, although nothing could ever match the price of God’s mercy, he nonetheless needed to sacrifice what was rightfully his to give.
This chapter is rich in the language of our sin, God’s mercy, and the price of salvation. David ran the full course from a man manipulated by Satan to a man who feared God. Like us, the king of Israel was a broken sinner who needed God’s mercy more than he knew. And although he still faced consequences for his actions, David knew that no price was too high for him to sacrifice to God and get back on the right path. David had a beautiful opportunity to start afresh and seek the face of the Lord. And that is exactly what we have been given through the Cross of Christ.
Today, let us reflect upon the price of our salvation. Because of Jesus, you and I need never have to pay the price for our sins. Christ Jesus paid that price once for all. (Hebrews 7:26-27) What price then can we pay as our acceptable sacrifice to God? Will we give that which costs us nothing? Or will we pay anything to show the Lord we have been born again into new life? Will we build an altar right here and now and offer our praise and worship to Him? Will we make an offering to seek peace with Him, to renew our covenant with His Son? With sword in hand, the angel of the Lord waits above Ornan’s threshing floor. What will we do?
Heavenly Father, great are Your mercies, and tender is Your grace. We praise You today for being so loving and so mighty. We thank You for the price You have paid in our stead, breaking the bonds of Satan so that we can be free to worship You and start again. Renew us, O Lord, and stay Your mighty sword that we may live. Amen.