Key verse: 2 Samuel 24:24
Big idea: When God reigns, He sometimes calls on us to give much.
2 Samuel 24 is a challenging chapter. God was angry with Israel, so he incited David to conduct a census and then judged them for the census? Strange. Worse still, 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that it was Satan (a Hebrew word that means adversary or accuser that tempted David. What is going on here? Let me propose a theory that is shared by several scholars. Under David's rule, the united Israel was going stronger and stronger, and as they grew in strength, they were more and more proud. There was no reason for them to conduct a census - God was their strength, not raw numbers, and a census in the Bible was a sacred act. The people were not the king's to count as if they were his property; they were God's own people first and foremost. God was angry with the Israelites for their pride, and allowed Satan to tempt David. David sinned by proudly numbering the people, and in response to this, God judged the nation, and tens of thousands died.
When the judgment stopped, the angel of the Lord stopped at a large stone threshing floor. It is at this place, where God's wrath was stopped, that the Temple would eventually be built. But I am interested in one little verse today, toward the end. When David went to the main who owned the threshingfloor and asked to buy the land to build an altar. Araunah said that it was not necessary to buy it - he could have it, the oxen, and the tools to make a fire. But David said that he would not give God what cost him nothing, and bought the land and the oxen.
Real worship is costly. We can give cheap worship: flowery language and symbolic gestures. But if God is really the King of Kings, then we must be prepared to give Him the painful and the inconvenient. We must be ready to strip down everything that seems precious to us, and give him the things that are of great value. What have you given up for Jesus?
Discussion idea: What costly act of worship is God leading you to? Where can you "give until it hurts"?
Prayer focus: Lord, make me a living sacrifice, open and vulnerable for whatever You ask.