I Will Not Sacrifice to the Lord Offerings That Cost Me Nothing

A soldier giving a gift to two kids.

Every so often, you’ll come across a verse that will spur you on to greater devotion to God and the fulfillment of your Christian vocation. One such verse that encourages me to give God my all is 2 Samuel 24:24.

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. (2 Samuel 24:24 NIV)

Giving God our all means surrendering the totality of our being—our resources, talents, time, and more—as an offering of devotion to God. This article will explain why, like David, we should not offer God sacrifices that cost us nothing.

A Brief Background

2 Samuel 24 was written during the reign of King David, around the 10th century BC. At the time, Israel was a powerful nation, and David was one of the most successful kings in its history. However, David was also a human being, and he made mistakes.

In the preceding verses of Chapter 24, we learn that David, King of Israel, conducted a census of the people.  This census was a grievous sin because it showed David’s reliance on his own military strength, numbers, and might rather than relying on God’s guidance and protection. David’s sin of numbering the people was one of his biggest mistakes. 

David’s census was an act of pride, and God punished him by sending a plague. This plague caused significant suffering for the children of Israel, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 Israelis after seven days.

David made an effort to atone for his mistakes and offer sacrifices to God in response to the plague’s devastation. The sacrifices were intended to seek His mercy and forgiveness for the sin of conducting a census. David realized his sin and repented. He was remorseful for his sin and pleaded with God for forgiveness. He then pleaded with God to end the plague. God stopped the plague, but David still had to make a sacrifice for his sin. God commanded David to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

Araunah’s threshing floor would later become a central place of worship of Yahweh by His people. Solomon’s temple was later built in the same location as Araunah’s threshing floor. Today, this location is known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Let us now analyze the key message of 2 Samuel 24:24 word for word.

But the King Said to Araunah…

In 2 Samuel 24 we have a conversation going on between David and Araunah. David asks Araunah to sell him his threshing floor so that he can build an altar and offer sacrifices to God on it. As a sign of goodwill, Araunah offers to give David the threshing floor, oxen, and other materials for offering sacrifices to the Lord for free. But David declines the offer.

No, I Insist on Paying You for It

David’s refusal to accept Araunah’s land for free starts with a resounding no. The phrase “I insist on paying you for it” further emphasizes his refusal to accept the land for free. This phrase indicates that David has resolved to pay for the threshing floor. He insists on compensating Araunah for the threshing floor. He is dead set on buying the land for whatever price Araunah sets. He is ready to foot the cost.

I Will Not Sacrifice to the Lord My God Burnt Offerings That Cost Me Nothing

This sentence expresses David’s stance on allowing another person to make amends for his mistakes.  He could not sacrifice for God on account of another person. He was not ready to exploit an innocent individual. He was not ready to abuse his kingly privileges over his subject. 

David’s refusal to accept Araunah’s gift is evidence of his deep regret for his sin. He knew that he had sinned against God, and he wanted to make amends. 

The phrase “that cost me nothing” emphasizes David’s aversion to offering sacrifices with no personal cost or sacrifice. He wants to offer God a sacrifice that costs him. 

David was the one who sinned against God, so he must pay the penalty. David is willing to bear his own cross and not burden others with his mistakes.

Lessons from 2 Samuel 24:24

  • Mending our relationship with God comes before offering Him sacrifices: It is necessary to have a right standing with God before offering sacrifices to Him. David first amended his relationship with God before presenting the burnt offering. 
  • We should rely more on God than on numbers, strategies, and strength: David’s census was an act of self-reliance as opposed to reliance on God, and it was severely punished. God, not numbers, is our hope and strength. We fail in our spiritual journey because we put our trust in people, plans, and material objects. God is dependable, and we depend on Him in all circumstances.
  • Obedience and sacrifices go hand in hand: God commanded David to go to the threshing floor and offer a sacrifice, and he complied and was willing to pay the price.
  • Upholding social justice comes first before offering sacrifice to God: David’s refusal to accept Araunah’s gift demonstrates that he was fair-minded. He was willing to pay a high price for something he could have easily obtained with his kingly powers.
  • We should offer God our best: We should not give God the scraps of our time and resources, but rather our finest. David’s willingness to pay for the threshing floor and oxen demonstrates his desire to give God the best. He wishes to offer something valuable to God in order to express his love and gratitude. He gives God his best because He deserves the best. Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice is the best sacrifice (Romans 12:1). It costs us everything to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. 
  • True devotion involves personal sacrifice. David understood that offering a sacrifice to God was a symbol of repentance and reliance on Him. In this context, it would not have made sense for him to offer burnt offerings that did not cost him anything.
  • God’s sacrifices and offerings are always carried out precisely as He specifies: For example, God directed David to go to a specific plot of land and offer sacrifice. We must be willing to follow God’s blueprint as well.
  • Those who have first committed their lives to God make sacrifices and offerings. For example, David went to offer a burnt offering after receiving God’s forgiveness. As a result, those who are overflowing with thanksgiving and awe at the depths of God’s love and forgiveness make sacrifices and offerings to God.
  • We can only offer what belongs to us. No one else can make sacrifices on our behalf to God; we must do it ourselves. David declined Araunah’s offer because he realized that only he had sinned against God, and only he could offer the offering, not Araunah.


This story teaches us that our labor for God comes at a price. We may have to give up our time, our money, or even our comfort in order to serve Him. But just as David’s sacrifice was ultimately a blessing, so will our sacrifices be if we offer them with a willing heart.

This is a powerful reminder to us that our labor for God should not be done half-heartedly. We should be willing to give our best to God, even when it costs us something. When we do this, we are honoring God and showing Him our love and devotion.

The overarching meaning of 2 Samuel 24:24 is that David does not want to offer burnt offerings to God that do not involve any personal cost or sacrifice on his part. He wishes to offer something valuable to God in order to show his devotion and gratitude.

Remember, the greatest sacrifice on behalf of man was the most costly sacrifice ever. God sacrificed His only Son for us. (John 3:16)

What It Will Cost You to Offer God Sacrifices Like David Did in 2 Samuel 24:24:

  • It will cost you your time. You will need to set aside time for prayer, meditation, Scripture study, church fellowships, church work, and volunteering, among other things. 
  • It will cost you your resources. Giving to charitable causes, supporting the church through tithes and offerings, and contributing to those in need, such as the poor, homeless, and sick, will cost you your resources.
  • It will cost you your talents. This could include singing in the choir, playing an instrument in the worship band, teaching a Bible class, coaching a youth sports team, or any other duty or responsibility that requires your talent.
  • It will cost you personal convenience and comfort. It will force you to step outside of your comfort zone to serve others, even if it is inconvenient for you.
  • It will cost you the price of forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiving others and seeking reconciliation can be a difficult and humbling process, but it is necessary for maintaining healthy relationships and living peaceably with other people.
  • It will cost you your personal ambitions. Sometimes, God’s calling may require us to lay aside our personal ambitions and desires in favor of His plan for our lives.
  • It will cost you your personal reputation. Living a life of faith can get you mocked, criticized, or even persecuted, which can be damaging to your reputation. Going against the grain and doing what is right regardless of what others think takes courage and determination. You need to be willing to risk social rejection by standing up for your faith, even if it means being unpopular.
  • It will cost you your ego and pride. It takes a lot of humility to admit that we need God’s help and grace. You need to be strong enough to keep going even if you’ve had your confidence shattered. Putting aside your ego and pride is necessary if you want to serve God and people wholeheartedly.
  • It will cost you your energy and strength. Volunteering, serving others, and random acts of kindness can drain your physical, spiritual, and emotional resources. But continue to do good because acts of kindness are critical to spreading God’s love throughout the world.
  • It will cost you your personal desires and goals. It costs a lot to be open to God’s plan and will for our lives, even when it contradicts our personal goals and desires. However, in order to grow spiritually, we must be willing to make this sacrifice.

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