The Power of Intercession and a Sacrificial Offering

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.’’ So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad.
When Araunah looked and saw the king and his officials coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.
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.’’
Araunah said to David, ‘’Let my LORD the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.’’ 
. . . But the king replied to Araunah, ‘’No, I insist on paying 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.
David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.   2 Samuel 24:18-25

David had sinned against God by numbering the military forces of Israel. He must have done it out of pride for self-glorification: ‘’look how powerful I have become! Look at the numerous troops I have at my beck and call!’’ David acknowledged that he had done a foolish thing and he was immediately conscience-stricken. He was repentant.

Even though David was the immediate cause of the plague, the people of Israel were not without guilt because the passage tells us in verse 1 that, ‘’the anger of the LORD burned against Israel and He incited David against them, saying go and take a census of Israel and Judah.’’  God was already angry with Israel so the sin of David was only the catalyst that caused the plague. But like the good shepherd he was, David cried out in intercession to God on behalf of the people: ‘’I have sinned; I the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done wrong? Let your hand fall on me and my family.’’

God heard the cry of David and sent the prophet Gad to tell David to offer sacrifices at a particular location to stay His hand. David did and the plague stopped. Araunah, the owner of the site for the sacrifice, offered the place, along with all that was needed, to David for free. But David refused the offer and insisted on paying for it saying: ‘’I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.’’

The power of a sacrificial offering should never be underestimated. Prayers of intercession are powerful but there are times when the LORD will prompt our hearts to make a sacrificial offering to him so that we can see a turnaround in our situation. The Bible says, ‘’Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.’’ (Psalm 50:14-15)  Sacrificial offerings are not without cost but they definitely move the hand of God in ways that are beyond human explanation. David gave a sacrifice that cost him something and the hand of God was moved to stop the plague. When you receive a prompting to give sacrificially to God, don’t hold back. Just obey.
Prayer: Lord, there is nothing I can give to ever earn your love and blessings. All that I can ever give to you comes from your hand. But my giving shows the depth of my love and appreciation to you as well. Help me never to sacrifice to you anything that costs me nothing. That will be a mockery of you. Amen.