"But King David replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.' So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering." 1 Chronicles 21:24-26
King David was a man who had much success. He had many lands and many men to serve him. He won great victories over his enemies. But there were times when King David slipped. In 1 Chronicles 21, we find that King David's pride led him to take a census that should not have been taken. God punished King David and all of Israel. King David's first step of reconciliation and worship with God was recognizing his own sin. God gave him options of punishment, and King David said in verse 13, "I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord for his mercy is very great." King David trusted in the mercy of God, even when God was angry with him. He was broken before God, and the punishment was severe. But King David had the opportunity to worship God. In one of his sermons, Erwin McManus said, "The human spirit is designed to worship God. When worship is mentioned in the Scriptures, two words are used that we need to embrace: altar and sacrifice." In 1 Chronicles 21, King David moves from sin to reconciliation to worship. And yes, an altar and a sacrifice are involved in his worship. Notice that King David didn't take advantage of Araunah just because of the fact that he was his king. David paid the full price for the altar. He paid the full price for the sacrifice. King David said in verse 24, "I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing." Do we understand the seriousness of coming before God in an act of worship where no sacrifice is made or the sacrifice of someone else is used? Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law in Matthew 15:8-9, saying, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain." Worship that comes from the lips is not what the Father is looking for; He is looking at the heart. Worship will involve an alter and a sacrifice. Paul says in Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship." What does it take to truly worship? It takes an altar and a sacrifice. Your life is the altar you can use before God, and your body is the living sacrifice that is pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.