There are many lessons we can learn from the life and words of David – both positive and negative. But one of my favorite lessons from the man after the Lord’s own heart is found in 2 Samuel 24:18-25 after King David disobeyed the Lord by taking a census of Israel and Judah. As a result of his sin, David had to choose the punishment to be inflicted on the people: seven years of famine; three months of fleeing from his enemies; or a plague for three days. The guilty king chose the plague and 70,000 men died from Dan to Beersheba. The Lord was about to destroy Jerusalem but restrained the hand of His angel who was destroying the people. Notice David’s reaction in verse 17: Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”
David was then told to build an altar where he had seen the angel – on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. While Araunah tried to give David everything he needed for the altar and sacrifice, the king refused. Notice verse 24: Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
It cost David a little bit of pride to admit his sin plus 50 shekels of silver to obey the Lord. What is it costing us to serve our Lord and Master?