But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:24 NIV).
King David sinned against God by ordering to count the number of Israelites. God was angry and He sent Gad the seer to David with three options of punishment to be carried out. David had to choose one among them. He chose to fall into the hands of the Lord saying that God’s mercy is great.
70,000 people died in Israel as a result of David’s sin. And when the angel of God entrusted to carry out the punishment reached the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite God asked the angel to stop the destruction. Then David said to God that he was the one who had sinned and not the people, and therefore to take away the punishment. Then Gad was asked by the angel to tell David to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
David went in obedience to God’s command to build an altar and asked Araunah to sell the field at its full price. But Araunah insisted that David take all that was needed free of cost. But David said that he cannot take for the Lord what is somebody else’s property. He also added that he cannot make a sacrifice that costs him nothing. So David paid six hundred shekels of gold for the site.
Though King, David chose not to use his office to freely get the site for the sacrifice. It teaches us that we cannot worship God fully until we truly offer what is ours sacrificially. Worship therefore involves sacrifice.