Always a Cost

“And Sarah died in the land of Canaan…  And Abraham said to the Hittites, ‘I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you.., that I may bury my dead.’ The Hittites answered, ‘You are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs’… Abraham bowed.., ‘If you are willing… entreat for me Ephron…’

“Ephron… answered Abraham.., ‘I give you the field…’ Then Abraham bowed… and said to Ephron.., ‘I give the price of the field. Accept it from me…’  Abraham weighed out for Ephron… four hundred shekels of silver… The field and the cave [of Machpelah] that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place.'” Genesis 23:2-13,16,20

“Ornan said to David, ‘Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings..; I give it all.’ But King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’ So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold. And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord... ‘Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.’” 1 Chronicles 21:23-26; 22:1

Abraham knew God had promised him specific land where his name would be great and a nation would be built. But he did not yet own any land. So instead of accepting a gift, he insisted on paying for the plot of burial ground for his beloved Sarah. In counting out his shekels, he staked his claim in God’s promise, securing a physical transaction of faith in His supernatural promise. (Genesis 15:18-21; 49:29-32)

For David, he knew it was costly to transact atonement, that blood from a living animal must be spilled. So he, too, insisted on paying to procure land for an altar. He had sinned against his God, and by counting out his money he figuratively counted on His promise of forgiveness. This place of sacrifice would providentially become the place of worship. (1 Chronicles 21:1,7-8; 2 Chronicles 3:1)

We can get by in life spending as little as possible, searching out and taking advantage of freebies. We scoot along with a mindset of ‘take and get,’ often without regard for what our goods cost somebody else. But once we are captured by the Lord, His innocent death for our sake, and a deep sense of His measureless bounty to us in salvation and a spiritual inheritance, there is nothing too great to spend for Him. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

His love compels us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, to surrender our resources, time, and life-aims. We are willing to sell all we have to secure heavenly treasure, holding loosely temporal things so we can lift open hands in praise. (Matthew 13:44-46; Romans 12:1)

The next time I ask for cleansing, would I thank Jesus for what it cost Him to impart it? When I seek the Spirit’s counsel or inspiration or courage, would I praise Him for my spiritual inheritance? His love for me cost God His Son. What will I offer back in love, obedience, and honor?

Lord, may I give to You in the sacrificial, lavish measure You have given to me. “All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed pow’rs,
all my thoughts and words and doings,
all my days and all my hours.” ~Mary D James (1810-1883)

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