Summary: Today's digital economy encourages a "freebie" culture. Does that mindset infect us so much that we are unwilling to pay a price for the Grace that we have received?
The season of festivals has begun , isn’t it? It is the month of Aadi for the Tamilians, soon to be followed by the Onam month for the Mallus, Dasara for Kannadigas, Divali for mostly everyone, Pujas for the Bengalis, culminating in the commercial Christmas and new year for everyone. What is the one common characteristic that unites all these festivals? You got it, it is sales culture, or what I would like to call the Freebie culture.
What is a Freebie culture? It is where some one gives away something free, so that they can attract , or retain a customer. It is something given in addition to the merchandise that you buy, so that the merchandise becomes more attractive. There are all kinds of free stuff going around in the economy today. But two shirts and get a third one free, buy a fridge and you get a TV free, etc etc. Actually in the world of digital marketing, there is a whole eco system of Freebies including, tips, and tools to create freebies etc.
So let us face it. We all like free stuff isn’t it? It feels good to get stuff free. When we go for negotiation, it generally is about how much more, can we get free? How much more discount we can get? What more van they throw into the deal etc? Isn’t it?
However the danger is when we extend this to our relationship with God.
So this morning, we are going to look at two characters. Two characters who exhibited behaviour very contrary to the ones that we see normally. One person who was willing to give everything he had for free, and another person who was completely unwilling to accept such a free offer, and insisted on paying for what he needed to offer to his God.
This is the encounter between Arouna the Jebusite and King David. This is described in two places in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 21 and 2 Samuel 24. In the book of Chronicles Arouna is referred to by the name Ornan, but otherwise the stories are exactly the same. The background is in the wake of the Satan inspired census that David decided to take of his fighting men and the subsequent punishment. David had to offer a sacrifice to stop the punishment and death of more of his subjects.
Let us open our bibles to 2 Samuel 24:18-25 (NKJV). We will unpack it in sections.
V 18 “And Gad came that day to David and said to him, "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." Now we need to remember that David is the King. When the King needs something, generally, He sends for the person who has it, isn’t it? But here we find a difference in David’s action. He does not send for Araunah, he does not send a messenger, but as given in
V 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. He goes himself, in obedience, to the command of God.
V 20 -21 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. Then Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people."
Let us take a break here and go back to the time when the Israelites demanded a King for themselves. When they rejected the divine king the Lord himself and insisted on a human king, just like the other nations had around them, just because they wanted to be similar to the other nations around them. I spoke about this in my last sermon here. Samuel warns the people 1 Samuel 8:11-17 (NKJV) And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. Araunah most probably knew about this and was prepared for the worst when a King himself came to visit him asking for a plot of land. He was not willing to take any chances with the King. He did not want to play with fire and invite the wrath of the King. So we need to understand Araunah’s response to a Kings request in this background.