"Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing." II Sam. 24:24.
God was displeased with David because he had numbered the people of Israel and He gave David a choice of seven years of famine, three months in the hands of his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land. David chose to fall into the hands of the Lord, saying, "Let us fall now into the hands of the Lord for His mercies are great and let me not fall into the hand of man." The hand of God was stayed after seventy thousand men had fallen. David was commanded to rear an alter to the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the jebusite. When Araunah heard the will of the Lord he wanted to give David the threshingfloor for an alter, the oxen for the sacrifice, and the wood for the fire. But David said, "I will not offer thank offerings unto the Lord of that which doth cost me nothing."
A thankful heart will not serve God with that which cost him nothing. If it means nothing to you, it will mean even less to God. Any offering or gift to the Lord God which does not involve sacrifice or self-denial is of no spiritual value to the offerer. We read in the scripture of the first-fruits, the choice lamb, of Abraham's only son, of the widow's gift of all she had. The wealthy gave out of their abundance but she gave of her living. I fear that most of our gifts are out of the surplus and involve no sacrifice at all.
In Malachi 1:6-8 the people brought to the Lord their stale bread and sick sheep. He said, "Take these gifts to your governor and see if he will receive and be happy with them." Used clothing, furniture and articles we don't need may be useful to others but they are of no value as a spiritual gift for the glory of God. Bake sales, rummage sales, and car washes may fill our treasuries; worthless hillside land may provide the church with a place to build; bonds sold at high interest may erect a place to preach; but God is not pleased with these gifts which cost us nothing!
Our Heavenly Father gave His only begotten Son. The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself to redeem us. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." 11 Cor. 8:9. Shall I insult such love and grace with my spare time, my indifferent effort and my surplus goods? God forbidl True love considers no labor, cost, or difficulty too great. Gifts and offerings which cost me nothing reveal four things:
(1) They reveal a lack of faith. Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac because he believed that God was able to raise him from the dead. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you." My God shall supply all my needs.
(2) They reveal lack of love."Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for her." Gen. 29:20. If a wife or child has a serious illness, do we find the cheapest medical care? Nol Love does not count the cost, but is willing to give all.
(3) They reveal a lack of regard for the majesty of God. Do I dare bring to the Lord God less than the best I have? An unprepared sermon? An insincere prayer? A worthless gift? A hurried moment of devotion? Try it on your governor.
(4) They reveal our low estimation of His mercy. "To whom much is forgiven, he will love much to whom little is forgiven, he will love little."
Upon reading the sermon on the mount a man was heard to exclaim, "Either this is not true or there are few true Christians today."
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