We must never lose sight of the truth that a worship offering requires sacrifice. We cannot give second best to God or offer anything that has cost us nothing. A life of worship is one which is fully engaged in worship rather than offering inferior things that we can easily do without.
Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:24)
What a powerful lesson there is in today’s verse. David was king. As such, he had the power to command and expect obedience. He could also have accepted Ornan’s generosity as his due. But David’s sin and repentance had taught him something. It taught him accountability – that he alone was responsible for his transgression. More importantly, it taught him about God’s power and holiness, and about worship. Life today is geared towards making everything easier. Takeaways, microwaves, the Internet, and cell phones are only some of the things that create a perception of ease. We’re taught to avoid unnecessary costs, especially those of a personal nature. But David learned that the cost of true worship could not be avoided. Unless we give of ourselves, our worship offering is meaningless. Worship requires sacrifice. Not part or second best, but the all of the very best available.
A worship offering is what we give to God.
In the context of today’s verse, David’s worship offering involved financial cost. He could have sidestepped this. Instead, he insisted on paying full price, knowing anything less would be an insult to God. Many of us feel our pocket a lot more powerfully than anything else, but we can be just as stingy with other things. Time, for example, is another area where we hold back the greater portion for ourselves. How much of our time do we actually give to God? Do we even know? What would we find if we took the challenge to actually record the time we spend in worship and prayer, or in reading the Word? Do we rejoice in Him and seek every opportunity to delight in Him, or do we resent the ‘demands’ this puts on us? Yet worship should be a way to live, not something we do now and then.
The reality is that there is no greater place to encounter self’s resistance than in the area of worship. In its simplest terms, worship means yielding to the sovereignty of God. It means surrendering all we are or have to Him to be used only for His purposes. For an example of this, we need only look to Jesus. Both His life and His death were a worship offering to God. In both, He acknowledged God’s sovereign will and yielded Himself completely, even to the point of death. Thankfully, we may never be called to martyrdom. Yet we resist yielding our lives, even though Jesus has promised us that in doing so, we will find them. At the same time, we forget that the measure we give to God will be the measure in which we receive from Him.
Our worship offering defines our love for God.
David is a powerful example of this truth. He is described as a man after God’s own heart. Yet he was also disobedient, and was an adulterer and murderer. Disobedient we can all identify with, but not everyone has physically committed adultery and very few ever physically murdered anyone. I say physically, because Jesus challenged statements these two sins which don’t have a place in this devotional. So what made David a man after God’s own heart? The simple answer is that He loved God. Despite his sins and weaknesses, he hungered and thirsted after God and lived a life of worship. He was quick to repent and admit his guilt before the Lord. This is why David wasn’t prepared to take a short cut, even though it presented itself without effort on his part. He loved God too much to present a second-best worship offering.
There is an easily understood comparison. When we love someone, we want the best for them. We will do everything we can to make sure it’s the best. The Bible commands us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is basically all that we are, which includes all that we have. Our worship offering, if we love God as He desires, will therefore be all of us. Now, before we find ourselves wallowing in condemnation, we need to acknowledge that we’re human and God understands that. Our love for God is progressive. That means it grows and deepens over time as we get to know Him more. For this reason, He looks at the heart. If our desire is to love Him as we should, He will acknowledge that. But when we deliberately hold back in disobedience, it clearly defines how much we love Him.
A worship offering should be joyfully given.
The bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. This isn’t one who glibly hands over to God without participating in the cost. Like David, we must measure the cost and give gladly. It’s about our being part of the process of worship. We must engage on a deep spiritual level. Simply giving without thought is meaningless. Worship is about how we live in relationship with God. It touches us in our spirits and transforms us, bringing us into greater knowledge and intimacy with Him. When we truly worship, our spirit touches God’s spirit. We come together. Our offering touches the offering God has already given through the worship life of Christ. That is where the source of joy is. It’s in Jesus so our love for God is no longer limited and stunted by self but is supernatural and transforming.
We must learn to give our worship offerings with His joy and obedience, having counted the cost and chosen to love God above all else. Then we’ll see Him at work in us and in our lives in ways we never imagined or believed possible. A life of worship is a life in Jesus. With Him, all things are possible. Look at what He did with David.
Thank You, Lord, for reminding us that to worship You is to love You with all we are and have. Help us to evaluate our lives and show us where we fall short or make worship offerings that are second best. Touch our hearts and draw us into Your love. Teach us by Your Spirit and release the love and obedience of Jesus in us in greater measure so we may learn to worship You as He did.