Sermon Title: It Cost Everything
Text: 2 Samuel 24
Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel (2 Samuel 24:22-25).
This chapter is an odd and interesting conclusion to the book of Samuel. Chronologically, it almost certainly belongs to an earlier period in David’s life, so the author probably intended for it to be a kind of summary of David’s life.
In a similar way to last week’s text (Psalm 51), David shows an attitude of remorse—probably the reason why God blessed him with a kingdom that would survive his death.
But the focus here is on God, who does something that is almost inexplicable, and it should probably stand as something that we can’t fully explain. We simply can’t put God into a neat little box where all of his actions are fully understandable by our finite minds.
Where this chapter points, though, is toward God’s mercy. Israel and David had done something that deserved to be punished, but God stopped his punishment before it was fully realized.
Here’s what we observed about this text Sunday . . . please notice particularly the last point.
- We don’t always understand God’s ways.
- But we trust in his sovereignty and mercy.
- We learn from David’s penitent and sacrificial spirit.
- This site becomes the place that most beautifully represents God’s mercy and kindness.
We learn from other texts that this is the same area where Abraham “offered” up Isaac, and the same place where Solomon would later build the temple. So this is a special place—one where God would repeatedly refuse to bring about the punishment that people deserved (symbolized by the thousands and thousands of animal sacrifices that would be offered on this site in future years). And, of course, Jesus’s sacrifice would be the one that would finally and ultimately bring animal sacrifices to an end. There God said once and for all that he forgives our sins completely . . . and gives us mercy instead of judgment.
- How can our class pray for you or a friend or loved one tonight?
Start Reading (read 2 Samuel 24)
- As you read this chapter, what questions come to mind? Notice these three sections: God incites David to conduct a census (vv 1-9), God punishes David (vv 10-17), and God accepts David’s sacrifices (vv 18-25).
- Does it bother you that the text says that “God incited David” to do something sinful? How does this relate to 1 Chronicles 21:1 (“Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.”)?
- David said, “I am in great distress. Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man” (v 13). What does this mean? What does it say about God’s nature?
- With reference to Araunah’s offer to give David everything he needed, David said, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lordwhat is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” What does this say about David’s heart?
- Several texts show that this location is the site of Abraham’s “offering” Isaac, as well as Solomon’s temple (cf. Gen 22:2; 1 Chr 21:28-22:1; 2 Chr 3:1). What do you think is the significance of that?
- How are we often tempted to give God only those things that don’t cost us much?
- How do we relate to a God who is both Judge and Savior?
- If you believe that God is Judge, but that the cross shows his inclination to forgive, how does that change your life?
Start Praying(ACTS acronym)
- Adoration: Praise God for his mercy and kindness.
- Confession: Confess to God that we often struggle when following Christ involves significant sacrifices.
- Thanksgiving: Thank God for the cross, where his judgment was poured out on Christ and his mercy was poured out on us.
- Supplication: Pray that God will help every member of this class to fully trust in his mercy and kindness.