I was trying to dust cat hair off my jacket when an elderly lady walked past and looked at me. I remarked that my cat was shedding and everything seemed to be covered in hair. She said to me that I was so fortunate to have a cat because she lived in a retirement home where pets aren’t encouraged. I thought about it and agreed that having a few hairs now and again is a small price to pay for the companionship that a cat brings. Everything comes at a price.
2 Samuel 24:24, But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burned offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
David had taken a census of the people when it did not please God for him to do so. So God gave David a choice between three punishments.
1. Three years of famine
2. Fleeing before his enemies for three months
3. Three days of pestilence in the land
David decided it would be better to be punished by God than by man and choose the three days of pestilence. Seven hundred thousand people died on the first day from Dan to Beersheba. When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem, God stopped him.
Verse 16 and 17, “It is enough, now stay your hand.” And the Angel of the Lord was at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father’s house.”
Then the prophet Gad came to David and told him to build an altar on the threshing floor. The sacrifice that David made there stopped the sickness and the plague was stopped in its tracks.
What I learn from this is that David made a sacrifice and that the sacrifice cost him. If something doesn’t cost us anything, financially, emotionally or in any other form, it is not a sacrifice. The other thing that I see is that David got a breakthrough when he had made the sacrifice. Sometimes we go through a hard time and we decide to fast, so that we can get a breakthrough, but after a day we are hungry and nothing has happened, so we decide that fasting doesn’t work. We might start reading our Bibles and praying, but as soon as we start going through difficulties we stop because we think that God has forgotten all about us. Why should we read our bibles when it doesn’t make a difference anyway. Isn’t that what people say? I have heard it. We want to see the results immediately and we don’t want to sacrifice. Reading our bibles and praying daily is a sacrifice. We sacrifice the time we would have used watching television or surfing social media. Or we get up early and sacrifice our sleep. And when we have done that for a couple of months and nothing significant seems to be happening we throw in the towel and declare that this is a waste of time and we could be doing better things with our time.
Noah took 100 years to build the ark. Do we have that kind of resilience? Do we have the endurance to believe right up to the end even if we don’t see the results we think we ought to be seeing.
Romans chapter 11 tells of what people did by faith. It lists a whole lot of Old Testament heroes. But verse 39 and 40 says, And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
God promised Abraham that he would have as many descendants as the stars in the sky and never gave up his faith, even though he never even got to see his grandsons. Joseph kept believing and at the end of his life said that the Israelites would return home, and instructed that his bones be taken along. He never saw his homeland again. Moses never set foot in the promised land even though he led the Israelites all the way there. He never stopped believing. Look at what happened to Jesus’ apostles; all were martyred and died violent deaths, except John who was exiled on Patmos, and they never stopped praising God through all their persecution.
We have to start thinking about what is really important in our lives. What sacrifices do we need to make to please God. Note: I said to please God, not to win His love. He has always and will always love us unconditionally. We have to get our lives in order because time is running out.