It’s going to cost you – Part I
The world sometimes teaches us that following Christ is a free ticket. The Bible teaches us something different. It says that our salvation is a covenant with God and both parties have responsibilities. Fulfilling our side of the covenant requires an active engagement that will cost us, and spiritual ‘passivity’ (believing we don’t have to do anything) will come with consequences. Let’s explore this.
In 1 Chronicles 21, the king of Israel at the time decided to do a census. It reads, “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” It was a sin for King David to do this, but the enemy set it up that King David bought into the sin. Satan set a trap for Israel and hoodwinked King David into this sin. Satan wants to destroy our lives, and he will try to get us to agree with his plan for us. Some of them look innocent or attractive, but they are actually his plans for destruction.
King David was an experienced “… man after God’s own heart”. He should have been able to ‘catch the rake’. Satan must have enticed him in a way that made sense. Satan is out to kill us and tries to get us to sin because sin has consequences. God gave David the opportunity to choose among three consequences for his sin. David chose a plague on the land, and God’s hand was heavy upon His people. Our sin does not only affect us. It can affect our children, family, church, and nation.
In Israel, 70,000 people died because of the plague. This caused King David great heartache. 2 Samuel 24 highlights what happened next.
“David said to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep – what have they done?” (vs 17). So, God spoke to the prophet Gad and gave David instructions about what to do. “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” (vs 18). David went up to the threshing floor and explained, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.” (vs 21). Araunah offered King David the threshing floor for free and also some of what he needed to do the sacrifice. Free! It was reasonable for Araunah to give King David everything. He was the king, and it was for the nation. David said, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I WILL NOT PRESENT BURNT OFFERINGS THAT HAVE COST ME NOTHING!” So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment … built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings … when David prayed, the Lord answered him … . Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.” (vs 24-27).
King David understood that if he had accepted Araunah’s offer, the sacrifice would not have pleased the Lord. Why? Proper worship will cost us something. Faith requires us to have some ‘skin in the game’ as we engage the process. If David took Araunah’s offer, the offering would have been rejected, and the plague would have continued. “As Christians, we are not called to easy passivity, but to rigorous activity.” (Jon Bloom)
If being a Christian is costing you nothing, something is wrong. That is why so many persons are not experiencing the victory God wants us to have. We want an easy faith, but this is dangerous because what is easy is not always what is beneficial.