UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), is an updated version of his blog first posted on February 12, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“A Sacrifice that Costs Nothing Is Not Fit for the King”
2 Sam. 24:24 (ESV)
But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.*
*Following God’s judgment that broke out against Israel, King David was looking to purchase a plot of land to build an altar to the Lord—as he was commanded by God—but when Araunah offered the king his land for free, David insisted on paying for it. Later, it was on this site the temple of Solomon was built.
Once, as I was perusing through a commentary on several temples that had been built in Jerusalem over the course of several hundred years, I was stunned to see that the author, after citing Solomon’s and Herod’s temples, failed to mention Zerubbabel’s temple. He did, however, mention another temple known as Ezekiel’s temple, but this temple, unlike Zerubbabel’s temple, has never been built!” (Ez. 40-47). Granted it that Zerubbabel’s temple wasn’t much to look at when compared to Solomon’s temple, but it was regarding Zerubbabel’s temple that God said, “The glory of this present house (Zerubbabel’s) will be greater than the glory of the former house” (Solomon’s—Hag. 2:9a).
Why? It’s because while “man looks at the outward appearance, . . . the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). In short, God was moved by the hearts of those who gave up a comfortable life in Persia to return to Jerusalem—still lying in ruins—for the sole purpose of rebuilding the temple that was destroyed earlier. Such a dedicated heart is what God is still looking for today.
What about the temple of Solomon? The fact is that over 80 percent of those who worked on the first temple were Canaanites, otherwise known as Solomon’s “slave labor force” (2 Chr. 2:17-8, 8:7-8), who obviously didn’t labor out of love for God. The gold used to build this temple—100,000 talents (1 Chr. 22:14), equivalent to about $181 billion today—had been accumulated by David; not a penny came out of the pockets of the Canaanite laborers. But the gold used to build Zerubbabel’s temple—about $26 million worth (Ez. 2:69)—was donated by the returnees from Persia themselves. In short, these men honored God with their very best. Be that as it may, Zerubbabel’s temple continues to get no respect—seen as less important than a temple that has never been built (that of Ezekiel).
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what men think; it’s what God thinks that matters. So, let’s embody a faith that refuses to render services to “the Lord [our] God that cost [us] nothing”—that wouldn’t be fit for our King—all the more so as many of us will live with far less in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let me never take You for granted; may I never approach You casually. May I always set You before me. May I never offer You a sacrifice that costs me nothing, not because my salvation depends on it but because You are God and I am not. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 15-16