David Buys Araunah's
(1 Chronicles 21.18—22.1)
18-19That same day the prophet Gad came and told David, “Go to the threshing place that belongs to Araunah and build an altar there for the Lord.”
So David went.
20Araunah looked and saw David and his soldiers coming up toward him. He went over to David, bowed down low, 21and said, “Your Majesty! Why have you come to see me?”
David answered, “I've come to buy your threshing place. I have to build the Lord an altar here, so this disease will stop killing the people.”
22Araunah said, “Take whatever you want and offer your sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the sacrifice. You can use the threshing-boards and the wooden yokes for the fire. 23Take them—they're yours! I hope the Lord your God will be pleased with you.”
24But David answered, “No! I have to pay you what they're worth. I can't offer the Lord my God a sacrifice that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing place and the oxen for 50 pieces of silver. 25Then he built an altar for the Lord. He offered sacrifices to please the Lord and to ask for his blessings.
The Lord answered the prayers of the people, and no one else died from the terrible disease.
Few people actually go out of their way to deliberately hurt others. That probably cannot be said of liars or gossipers or people who bear false witness. But, most people mean well, and want to do what is best for themselves and for others. The problem is, even good people can do harm. We can make a bad decision or say the wrong thing or say the right thing in the wrong way, or ignore someone who reaches out to us and we don’t see them, or we fail to give a word of encouragement because at that moment we are too self-centered. The issue is not whether we do harm or not. All of us do harm from time to time. The issue is what we do about it when we do harm.
David has done incredible harm and his people are paying the result. What does David do? He recognizes it is his fault. He confesses and he repents. He asks for forgiveness. He takes the burden of the consequences on himself. He experiences forgiveness. The penalty is removed by his attitude and heart.
And what does God do? He speaks to David through the prophet, Gad, who told him to buy land from a man called Araunah. David wanted it to build an altar. It became the site of the great Temple which Solomon built (see 1 Chronicles 22:1).
What a great example David is for us when we do harm. Let’s not blame others, avoid the issue, try to cover up the problem, leave a trail of casualties and justify them by some success or another or leave others to face the music for our decision. Let’s learn from David and follow the path he took to recovery.
All forgiving God,
I am guilty, God. I have done harm. You are not surprised by my failure. I am surprised at its consequences and how many other people it hurt. Please God, do not lay the consequences of my failure on others. I am the one who should be held accountable. I am so grateful that if I confess my sin to you then you are faithful and just to forgive me my sin and take away my unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Please give me the courage to admit my shame and declare your graciousness. Please help me to live thinking about the consequences of my actions and words and may I see you use them for good.