Summary: To focus on the main reason behind receiving or not receiving anointing to do the Master’s work successfully!!!
THE ‘X’ FACTOR!!!
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. II Sam 24:24
Ever wondered that there is a possibility of we ‘sacrificing’ to the Lord without ever ‘sacrificing’ anything… of working ‘sacrificially’ for Him, without even spending a dime! In these days of crass commercialism, a day may arrive when ‘sacrifices’ of the VIPs’ performed in the full glare of the media may secretly be ‘sponsored’ by someone to curry favour of the former.
Well, David was in that position, when a loyal subject of his, wanted to ‘sponsor’ his sacrifice to God. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this insightful Biblical account, I surmise that it would be worthwhile to ‘paint’ its background.
Beginning verses of II Sam 24 present a grim picture of what happens, when even ‘a man of God’s own heart’ giving in to satanic temptations starts trusting mere flesh more than the omnipotent One for scoring military victories. There we see David the very one who is credited with making a sublime observation ‘NO KING IS SAVED BY THE SIZE OF HIS ARMY; NO WARRIOR ESCAPES BY HIS GREAT STRENGTH. A HORSE IS A VAIN HOPE FOR DELIVERANCE; DESPITE ALL ITS GREAT STRENGTH IT CANNOT SAVE. ’ (PS 33:16-17) temporarily losing his spiritual bearings and going for a census, all with the intention of ‘GLORYING IN HIS MILITARY MIGHT’. While some of my Rabbi friends (oh how much I love them and pray for their salvation) would attribute the Divine comeuppance to King David not paying the Divinely-mandated tax per person at the time of taking census (Exodus 30:12/38:26), the primary reason behind the Divine indictment was David’s propensity to lean "finite flesh" at a time "infinite Cosmic power" was always available to him to draw upon for securing military victories.
God, though He cannot tempt any man (James 1:13), is frequently described in Scripture as doing what He merely permits to be done; and so, in this case, He permitted Satan to tempt David. Satan was the active mover, while God only withdrew His supporting grace, and the great tempter prevailed against the king (See Exodus 7:13; 1 Sam 26:19). The order was given to Joab, who, though not generally restrained by religious scruples, did not fail to present, in strong terms (1 Chro 21:3), the sin and danger of this measure. He used every argument to dissuade the king from his purpose. The sacred history has not mentioned the objections, which he and other distinguished officers urged against it in the council of David. But it expressly states that they were all overruled by the inflexible resolution of the king.
The act of numbering the people was not in itself sinful; for Moses did it by the express authority of God (Numbers 1:2). But David acted not only independently of such order or sanction, but from motives unworthy of the delegated king of Israel; from pride and vainglory; from self-confidence and distrust of God; and, above all, from ambitious designs of conquest, in furtherance of which he was determined to force the people into military service, and to ascertain whether he could muster an army sufficient for the magnitude of the enterprises he contemplated. It was a breach of the constitution, an infringement of the liberties of the people, and opposed to that divine policy which required that Israel should continue as separate people. His eyes were not opened to the heinousness of his sin till God had spoken unto him by His commissioned prophet.
His overwhelming sense of his sin led him to accept the punishment denounced, notwithstanding its apparent excess of severity. He proceeded on a good principle in choosing the pestilence out of the choices (of punishment) offered. Here again, we see the fair nature of “a man of God’s own heart” coming to the fore. In pestilence he was equally exposed, as it was just and right he should be, to danger as his people, whereas, in war and famine, he possessed means of protection superior to them. Besides, he thereby showed his trust, founded on long experience, in the divine goodness.
Divine goodness, it was, which limited the chastisement as we see it recorded in II Sam 24:16-18 with the Divine instruction to "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite" to end the raging plague.
He went in procession with his leading men from the royal palace, down Mount Zion, and through the intervening city. Although he had plenty of space on his own property, he was commanded, under premptory direction, to go a considerable distance from his home, up Mount Moriah, to erect an altar on premises, which he had to buy. It was on or close to the spot where Abraham had offered up Isaac.