The Full Price

By Francis Frangipane

King David and the elders of Israel were all dressed in sackcloth. They had come, each lamenting in deep repentance, to a particular mountain overlooking Jerusalem. David had sinned by taking an unauthorized census. His heart had drifted from its abiding trust in God to trusting in the strength and numbers of men. This was a serious rebellion for a man like David. Worse, David's sin had awakened the Lord's wrath and the nation was under severe judgment (see 1 Chron. 21).

Yet, the angel of the Lord appeared to David and his men and instructed them to build an altar to the Lord on a nearby threshing floor. This is not just another passing event in Israel's history; David was about to step into a pivotal moment in the unfolding of God's will in the earth. For this particular mountain was actually Mount Moriah, the very place where centuries earlier Abraham, Israel's ancestral father, came to offer Isaac in an act of supreme worship to God. It is likely that David was actually standing within a short walk of the very place where Abraham would have offered Isaac to God had not the Lord stopped him.

So David isn't standing on just any mountain, but upon Mt. Moriah, where God tested and proved the devotion of His servant (see Genesis 22). Six centuries have passed, and while nothing visible remains of Abraham's altar, the memory of Abraham and Isaac journeying to Moriah in unquestioning worship is a living reality burning brightly in the heart of God.

The Jebusites
When the angel tells David to build an altar on the nearby threshing floor, it must be noted that the land and the threshing floor belong to a man identified as Ornan (1 Chron. 21:18; "Araunah" in 2 Sam. 24:18). Remarkably, Ornan is a Jebusite. He is one of the few surviving Jebusites, who were long-standing enemies of Israel, and he is living outside of Jerusalem on Mt. Moriah.

When David became king, he conquered the Jebusites, captured their chief city, Jebus, and renamed it Jerusalem. Only a few Jebusites still lived in the area; among them is Ornan, who owns the threshing floor next to where David is standing. Ornan was watching King David, along with Israel's elders, as they knelt to the ground before God. Incredibly, this Jebusite also beholds the angel of the Lord, with sword in hand, hovering between heaven and earth.

It must have been an amazing scene. Terrified of both the angel and the king, Ornan creeps out from the threshing floor and bows to the ground before the king, willingly offering to David not only his threshing floor, but also "the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering." Ornan says, "I will give it all" (1 Chron. 21:23). Yet David refused.

Remember, Ornan is a Jebusite, not a Jew. He had no right to this land, especially since God had given it all to Israel, including the land of the Jebusites (see Exodus 13:5). As a conquering king, David could justify taking the threshing floor, yet listen careful to David's words. He is speaking to a Jebusite when he says, "I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing" (1 Chron. 21:24).

Just like Abraham before him, David will not offer to God that which cost him nothing. He will pay the full price.

The Temple of God
"Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (2 Chron. 3:1).

When Solomon built the temple, he chose this site: the place where Abraham offered Isaac and where David, in sackcloth, paid "the full price." Today, for true Christians, Christ Himself is our temple. Certainly, of all men, Jesus paid "the full price."

Furthermore, through our union with Christ and one another, we too have become a temple of God. Yet, let us not measure ourselves by lowered standards, for God reveals the spiritual DNA of the temple as it manifest in history---in Abraham, in David and in Christ, who all paid the full price of surrender. Such is the standard for us as well.

Beloved, at the revelation of God even the gentile Ornan, a Jebusite, willingly offers his property and, though refused, participates as an example of those who truly become the temple of God.

Today, the spiritual temple of God is being rebuilt in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and Jew and Gentile are uniting in a holy habitation of the Lord. Yet this unity is not just a gathering of peoples, but an ascending of the nations up the holy hill of the Lord (Ps. 15, 24; Is 2:2). As our forebears exemplified, let us not offer to God that which is superficial or costs us nothing. For Jesus' sake, let us present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service of worship (see Romans 12:1).

In a world intoxicated with self-gratification and deception, I am saying there are costs to becoming Christlike. Let us not offer to God that which is another's nor present to God a sacrifice which costs us nothing. Yes, salvation is free, but to possess Christ's life, let us put away a life of compromise. By the grace of God, let us pay the full price.

Lord Jesus, I desire to be fully given to You. Forgive me for offering borrowed gifts that cost me little. I want to pay the full price. Lord, make me a willing sacrifice. May my life be a true sacrifice, born of Your grace and appropriate in the building of Your house. Amen.


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