Friday, September 5, 2014

Mt. Pleasant News Pastor's Desktop article

…I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.  
2 Samuel 24:24b  NIV

            King David sinned before the Lord in having a census taken of the fighting men of Israel and Judah.  His sin was that God did not want David to become prideful or arrogant about the number of people he ruled over as king, nor to put his faith in the strength of his army.  God had forbidden such a census.  David overruled even the advice of his closest and most trusted friend, Joab, and ordered the count.  As soon as the number of fighting men was reported to David, he was grief stricken, knowing he had sinned a great sin before God.  “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.  Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant.  I have done a very foolish thing.”  (2 Sam. 25:10b)
            Through the prophet Gad, God gave David a choice of three terrible options.  You see, although David’s sin would be forgiven, there were still to be consequences for his sin.  David’s choice was to put himself in the hands of a God he knew to be merciful.  At this the plague began on Israel and Judah with thousands being destroyed in the plague.  As David watched the destruction, he was deeply grieved, and begged God to punish his own family instead of the rest of the house of Israel.  God gave instructions for David to go and offer a sacrifice to Him on the threshing floor of a man named Araunah, the Jebusite.
            David went as directed, and explained the reason for his royal visit to Araunah and asked to buy the threshing floor in order to offer the sacrifice there.  Araunah, being the loyal subject that he was, offered to give the floor, the wood and the animals needed for the sacrifice to David.  The king insisted in paying for all this, and the poignant part of his response is printed above. 
            “Wow, what a great story, Pastor, so what does that mean for me?” you might ask.  I’m glad you asked.  We are working through a brief series on the subject of worship.  Have you even considered what your worship costs you?  How much real sacrifice is involved in your worship?  What am I talking about?  Well, believe it or not, my first thoughts were NOT the offering plate, though there should be some measure of sacrifice made there too.  My first thoughts were of our involvement with the worship service, really being there, not just our body, but our mind and spirit as well.  When we are invited to stand and sing, are we doing more than just mouthing the words?  Are we taking in the words as well?  
            Can we forget about the clock, and just allow the service to be finished when it is done, instead of feeling like anything past 11:30 is late?  Are we there with a sense of what we can bring and give to God, (not just from our wallets) but of our worship, our encouragement to others, our fellowship with others, or are we there just to take--to see if we will be blessed?  Are we satisfied with offering to God that which costs us little or nothing?  It’s something to think about, and then act on.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen