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The Right Way To Make An Offering

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The Right Way To Make An Offering

2 Samuel 24:1-25

 

            The true test of a man of God is how he gives his offering.  As we look at 2 Samuel 24 we will find that King David was a very humble man and a very generous man.  Look at 2 Samuel 24:1 and to get the background of this chapter. 

 

2 Samuel 24:1

1 Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah." (NIV)

 

            God is very angry against Israel and He moves David's heart to take a census of Israel to find out how many people are sinning against Him.  David is going to sin in the taking of that census.  And as you read this chapter, you will wonder what did David do wrong?  If you want to see what David did wrong, look very closely at verse 2.

 

2 Samuel 24:2

2 So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are." (NIV)

 

            How did David sin?  What David did, was to take a census of the military men and not the general population.  God became angry against David, because this was David's way of boasting about his military own strength rather than boasting about God's strength.  

Psalm 20:7

7  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (NIV)                       

 

                                    Psalm 33:16

16  No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. (NIV)

Proverbs 21:31

31  The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD. (NIV)

                                     Jeremiah 17:5

5 This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. (NIV)

 

            It doesn't take long for a great military leader to realize that there is an unseen power that is directing their life.  The result of David's census came back in 2 Samuel 24:9 that there were 1,300,000 men who could handle a sword.  But God became furious against David to the point that he told King David that he would be punished.  And as a result God let David chose 1 of 3 punishments.  The first punishment was 3 years of famine in the land. The second was 3 months of being pursued by his enemies.  The third was 3 days of the plague.  Which one would you choose?  David in his wisdom chose the 3 days of plague.  Do you know why?  Look at:

                       

2 Samuel 24:14

14 David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men." (NIV)

 

            What is David saying?  He is saying that he would rather deal with God who is merciful than with man who has no mercy.  But when the plague came, it was worst than David thought it would be.  Look at verse 15.

 

2 Samuel 24:15

15 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. (NIV)

 

            In an area about 130 miles long and 50 miles wide 70,000 people died.  And now the plague was going to fall upon the city of Jerusalem.  David sees the death angel with his sword drawn to strike the city of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 21:16).  So David prays asking God to stop the plague and as a result, the death angel goes to the barnyard of Araunah.  Gad the prophet approaches David and tells him to give an offering at the barnyard of Araunah.  So David goes to Araunah.  And  in David's conversation with Araunah God has some very pertinent principles for us in our offerings to God.  Here is the first principle:

 

FIRST -- GIVE OBEDIENTLY.

 

2 Samuel 24:18

18 On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." (NIV)

 

            It doesn't matter how you slice that verse, it is a command.  It is not a question mark, it is not a casual comment, it is a command.   The prophet of the Lord is speaking with the authority of the Lord.  Look at verse 19.

 

2 Samuel 24:19

19 So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad. (NIV)

 

            The Scriptures say, "God commanded, and David obeyed."  David gave to God obediently, because David had a relationship with God, he had no choice but to obey the commands of God.  Jesus said in John 14:15

 

John 14:15

15 "If you love me, you will..." you will what?  "keep my commandments." (KJV)

 

            When Gad came to David he said, "God wants you to offer a sacrifice."  David never replied by saying, "Let me pray about it," or "Let me go home to my wife and discuss this, and we will come back to you in a few weeks and let you know what we will do."  No, God commanded and David obeyed.

 

Folks, we are under divine compulsion to give.  It's not optional.

 

            Giving comes with the territory if you are one of God's people.  It is to be a part of our life.  It is not an option.  It is not a question of whether you are going to give, it is how much you are going to give and how often are you going to give.  It is obedience.  Look at Deuternomy 16:16-17 and catch the principle that is there.  

 

Deuteronomy 16:16-17

16 Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed:

17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you. (NIV)

 

            We are to give, it is a command.  So David set us an example to model.  When we give, we need to give in the sense that we are obedient servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We have been rescued from Satan, and we now come to a new standard.  When you were saved, you didn't change your status as a slave, you changed masters.  Jesus Christ is the new master.  We give because we are commanded to give.  There is another principle that was in David's life.

 

SECOND -- GIVE WILLINGLY.

2 Samuel 24:20-23

20 When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?"  "To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped." 22 Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 O king, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you." (NIV)

 

            Wasn't that gracious of Araunah?  There is one little phrase I want you to catch that David said why he came to Araunah barn.  Look at verse 21.  It says:  "To buy your threshing floor."  Not only was David obedient, but he came willingly.  Sometimes we need to pray, "Lord, make me willing," because we are not willing.  David came willingly.  He didn't want to give so he could get a bargain. 

 

            There is a principle running from the book of Genesis all the way through the Bible, that when we give, the giving ought to come from a willing heart.   We are not to give like the old cow that a farmer had.  Someone asked the farmer, "How much milk does your cow give?"  The farmer said, "She doesn't give anything.  But if you bang her in the head with a stick, and you pin her against the wall, you can take a bucket of milk.  That's what happens today in a lot of churches.  The pastor intimidates people to let go of money they do not want to let go of.  Look at Exodus 35 and notice how God raised money.  Do you want to see how God raised money to build a very beautiful tabernacle? 

 

Exodus 35:4-5

4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering  (NIV)

           

God is not interested in giving if it does not come from a willing heart.  "Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering."  Look at Exodus 35:20-21

 

Exodus 35:20-21

20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses' presence, 21 "and everyone who was..." what?  "willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. (NIV)

 

            These are just two references.  There are so many references in the Old Testament about giving to God willingly.  They are all over the place.  God wants our giving on a willing base's.  Now watch what happens when a congregation gives with a willing heart to God. 

Exodus 36:3-6

3 They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4 So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work 5 and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done." 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing more, (NIV)

  

            I would love to give a command like that.  It says in verse 6, "the people were restrained from bringing more."  Do you know what that means?  They had to hog tie people to keep them from giving.  I believe that if we gave God's way and honor God's work, for God's kingdom God will bless.  Don't you believe that? 

 

            In 2 Corinthians 8, several churches gave financially to the ministry of the apostle Paul. 

2 Corinthians 8:3-5

3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. (NIV)

 

            Do you know why they gave like that?  Because they first gave themselves to the Lord and that resulted in giving from a willing heart.  There is a third principle in the life of David.            

 

THIRD -- GIVING SACRIFICALLY.

 

            This will separate the men from the boys. 

Look at 2 Samuel 24:24.  Remember that Araunah was willing to provide everything that David needed to sacrifice to the Lord.   He was saying, "David, keep your wallet closed."  Suppose you drove up to church this morning and someone in a Rolls Royce steps out and says, "Don't give your tithe today.  Instead here is my tithe, use it for your tithe."  What would you do?  Would you be tempted?  You could save a few bucks.  Look at verse 24 and see what David did.

2 Samuel 24:24

24 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."  (NIV)

 

            We hit a principle here, now get this.  The gift that counts with God is the gift that costs the giver.  That runs all through the Bible.  It runs from Genesis to Revelation.  It runs in the life of Jesus.  It runs in the life of the early church.  Why do you think that Jesus lifted up the poor widow who put 2 pennies into the offering plate (Luke 12:1-3)?  Because she had given her best by giving her all.  The scribe and the Pharisees, amounts were larger, but Jesus never once praised them, but criticized them.  God wants our best. 

            Men, suppose it is your wife's birthday.  So you go to a department store and you walk up to the counter where they sale perfume.  You say, "It's my wife's birthday, what is the cheapest thing you have on sale?"  The clerk says, "Skunk's delight."  Men, you don't won't want to buy the cheapest thing for your wife.  It doesn't matter what the amount is.  What matters is that you get the best you can with what you have for the one that you love the most.  That is what God wants.  He wants your best.  God says, repeatedly, "Bring the first fruits,"  not the left overs, not the tips.  Do you know what is the very first check my wife and I write?  The tithe check first. 

 

FOUR -- GIVING FAITHFULLY. 

 

                         2 Samuel 24:25

25 David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. {Traditionally peace offerings} Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped. (NIV)

 

            There are at least 2 times when God responds to man.  One is when we praise and pray.  The other is when we give.  Our giving the best to God, releases, the lever of God's abundance so that answers come back.  That is why the Bible says, "Give and it shall be given to you (Luke 6:38)."  Do you know why a lot of Christians are frugal in their giving?  They are afraid they will never see it again.  The Bible says you will. 

 

Ecclesiastes 11:1

1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. (NIV)

 

Proverbs 3:9-10

9  Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (NIV)

 

            Give and it will be given back to you.  There are Christians who will trust God to get them to Seattle and back.  They will trust God for their salvation.  But they will not trust God when he says, "Give and I will give it back."  Dead churches do not need finances.  I'm so glad that I belong to a live church.  I'm thankful that my church needs my resources but not nearly as much as I need to release my resources.  David said, "I will not OFFER TO THE LORD that WHICH cost me nothing."   I hope you won't either.      

 

            A church member was having trouble with the concept of tithing.  One day he revealed his doubts to his minister:  "Pastor, I just don't see how I can give 10% of my income to the Church when I can't even keep on top of our bills."  The pastor replied, "John, if I promise to make up the difference in your bills if you should fall short, do you think you could try tithing for just one month?"  After a moment's pause, John responded, "Sure, if you promise to make up any shortage, I guess I could try tithing for one month."  "Now, what do you think of that," mused the pastor.  "You say you'd be willing to put your trust in a mere man like myself, who possesses so little materially, but you couldn't trust your Heavenly Father who owns the whole universe!"  The next Sunday, John gave his tithe, and has been doing so faithfully ever since.

 

Tom Myers

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