"Devotionals and Thoughts as a Pastor sees it"
And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the LORD, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
2 Samuel 24:21-24
In this passage, I think we are given understanding and insight into what made David so great. Why was he alone called a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)? It certainly wasn’t because he was sinless, for he had a series of failures that I dare say match or exceed any of ours. In fact, if he were on trial before the Christian community, I suggest the Christian community would have had a tendency to write him off long ago. Saul, on the other hand, would be applauded and approved. Saul, too, made mistakes. But not as seemingly blatant as David’s. Therefore, I suggest that in the eyes of human understanding, Saul would be exalted, and David would be dismissed as one who wasted his potential.
But that wasn’t God’s verdict. Why? Because God looks at the heart, and David had a heart for God.
“Take the property,” Araunah said. “Make your sacrifice so the plague might be stopped. It’s free. It’s yours.”
“I will not give the Lord that which costs me nothing,” David said.
Hear the heart of David. “I won’t skimp,” he said. “I won’t cheat God. Yes, I failed Him in the past. But my heart is devoted to Him.”
If you want to know the heart of David, read the Psalms. Saul never wrote a single psalm because Saul didn’t have a heart for the Lord. Saul was outwardly impressive, but he used the things of God to exalt himself. David, on the other hand, used himself to exalt the things of God. When David penned the Psalms, he didn’t know they would be preserved and studied for centuries. He was simply writing love letters. He just loved God.
What would you have done had Araunah come to you and said, “Take the property. Here’s the wood for the sacrifice. Here’s the oxen. Just take it”?
Would you have said, “Great! I can save a few shekels”? Or do you have a heart like David’s, a heart that says, “I will give everything I have, everything I am to the One who gave His all for me”?
Many of us are skimpy and small. We give the Lord the leftovers of our time, of our energy. You might not be committing any moral sin. But God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He’s looking for men and women who say, “I’m devoted to worshipping the Lord. I’m devoted to extolling and praising Him. I’m devoted to paying the full price.”
Although severely chastened again - even at the end of his life - David is still to be exalted by the Lord and acknowledged throughout history as one of the very greatest of all men who ever lived. Why? Because he had a heart after God.