March 7 I Thursday
“On that day Gad went to David and said to him, ‘Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.’” —2 Samuel 24:18
David was, of course, greatly disturbed over the calamity and trauma that occurred after taking his census. He said to the prophet Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands” (2 Samuel 24:14).
David was told to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. In the Old Testament era, every time a Jewish person committed a sin, they had to go to a priest and the blood of an animal would be shed to cover the sin. Araunah wanted to give his threshing floor and the animal sacrifice to David. In fact, he told David that anything the king wanted was his for the asking. But David said, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).
We live in a time where we are invited to come with all our weaknesses, sin and failure to the cross of Jesus Christ, but we must not come superficially. We are to come seriously as David did. Though everything David needed was freely offered to him, he refused to receive forgiveness from God cheaply or second-hand or on anyone’s coattails. He took full responsibility. It had to be at his expense; it had to hurt. In a similar way, receiving forgiveness for the sins we commit is not a cheap balm for a guilt-free conscience. We are to come to the cross of Christ with a heart that is truly repentant—one that wants to make amends, be held accountable and be realigned with God.
In the 19th century, Henry Drummond, a Scottish businessman turned Christian, was attending a luncheon where he was to speak, but the schedule had fallen behind, and he was only given a few minutes. All he said was, “The entrance fee to heaven is nothing, but the subscription is everything you have got.” Drummond then took his seat again, leaving everyone to ponder this one statement. The Gospel is free, but our relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord does not come cheap. It is a total surrender to Him of all that we have and all that we are, but it is also an exchanged life—all that we are for all that Jesus Christ is. Building that altar within our hearts that genuinely seeks realignment with God is what enables us to move forward and experience all that God will do in our lives.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I always want to be moving forward in my relationship with You. Keep me with a contrite, repentant heart that seeks to be realigned with You. Thank You, Lord.