2 Samuel 24:24
"No," replied the king, "I insist on paying a price, for I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
A Costly Gift Freely BestowedW. G. Blaikie.2 Samuel 24:24
A Religion that Costs NothingA. H. Powell, M. A.2 Samuel 24:24
A Test of SincerityW. Cadman, M. A2 Samuel 24:24
Bibles Gratis RefusedAnecdotes of the Old Testament.2 Samuel 24:24
Cheap Religion RepudiatedG. Wood 2 Samuel 24:24
Genuine Service for GodU. R. Thomas.2 Samuel 24:24
Give God the Best2 Samuel 24:24
Personal SacrificeB. Dale 2 Samuel 24:24
Service Costs SacrificeH. O. Mackey.2 Samuel 24:24
The Principle of GivingE. Mellor, D. D.2 Samuel 24:24
The True Principle of Divine ServiceR. Thomas.2 Samuel 24:24
The Unselfish OfferingA. J. Morris.2 Samuel 24:24
David Numbering the PeopleH. Melvill, B. D.2 Samuel 24:1-25
David Numbering the PeopleF. M. Sadler, M. A.2 Samuel 24:1-25
David's Numbering of the PeopleHomiletic Magazine2 Samuel 24:1-25
In What Respect the Census was SinfulA. F. Kirkpatrick, M. A.2 Samuel 24:1-25
Numbering the PeopleC. S. Robinson, D. D.2 Samuel 24:1-25
The Church's Resources2 Samuel 24:1-25
Divine Justice in National RetributionsG. Brooke.2 Samuel 24:15-25
God's Judgment on PrideHenry, Matthew2 Samuel 24:15-25
The PestilenceDean Stanley.2 Samuel 24:15-25
The Plague StayedMonday Club Sermons2 Samuel 24:15-25
The Plague StayedS. D. Niccolls, D. D.2 Samuel 24:15-25

Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. We have in the context "a laudable contention between a good king and a good subject" (Manton). Araunah wished to give the site for an altar, the animals and fuel for sacrifice, taking, on account of the necessity for haste, the threshing oxen and implements for the purpose. David insisted on paying for all. The text expresses his reason. He felt it was unworthy of his position and means as monarch, of the greatness of God, and of his own relation and obligations to him, to offer sacrifices which had cost him nothing. His determination is worthy of adoption by all, and will be adopted by all true-hearted Christians. They will not worship and serve God without cost to themselves. In considering the words, we need not confine attention to gifts of money or other property. In the worship and service of God, expenditure of thought, feeling, time, strength, etc., is required as well as of property; and, in relation to each and all, the true Christian, when the need for such expenditure arises, and he is tempted to avoid it, will be ready to exclaim, "I will not serve the Lord my God without cost." His motives are such as follow.

I. REVERENCE FOR GOD. Sense of his majesty and excellence. The feeling that he who is so great and glorious should be served with the best we can present to him, internal and external; and that to come before him without any worthy gift is to insult him (see Malachi 1:7, 8, 14).

II. GRATITUDE TO GOD. For his great and manifold gifts to us, especially that of his Son, with all the unspeakable blessings which come to us with and through him. If duly sensible of what we have received from God, we shall be eager to make him such return, poor though it is, as is possible to us, and shall feel that we can never do enough for him who has clone so much for us.

III. LOVE TO GOD AND MAN. The substance of true religion. Love to God, awakened and kept alive by his love to us and by increasing knowledge of his all-perfect and lovely character, will produce love for his worship, his people, his cause in the world, our fellow men. In helping these by deed and gift, we offer sacrifices to him (Philippians 2:17; Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:16), and all who love him will offer such sacrifices. In proportion to the ardour of their love will be the measure of their services; and they will never grow weary of them, since love makes them a delight.

IV. JUSTICE TO OTHERS. The worship of God cannot be maintained, nor his kingdom extended, nor his will as to the poor done, without cost of various kinds, in which it is right that all should do their part according to their capabilities. If some shirk their duty, others may be compelled to do more than fairly belongs to them. The thought of this will move each to take his proper share of gift or labour.


1. The liberal expenditure of some on their idols. Heathen. Worldly men. Ourselves, perhaps, before we were converted.

2. The liberality of many Christians. In every circle a few are known who are generous in deed or gift, or both, in the service of God and the poor. Their zeal incites others by the power of sympathy and the feeling that they are themselves under equal obligation to their Saviour and their God.

3. The cost at which multitudes of Christians have had to serve God. In times of persecution their religion has cost many their property, liberty, or lives; and they have borne the cost bravely and gladly (Hebrews 10:34; Acts 6:41; Philippians 2:17; Colossians 2:24). Shame on us if we grudge the much smaller cost of religion to us.

4. Above all, the example of our Lord and Saviour. (2 Corinthians 8:9; Titus 2:14.) Remembrance of the cost to him of our opportunity of serving God acceptably will strengthen us when tempted to make our religion as cheap as possible.


1. It is unreal. A mere name and pretence. Real religion begins and is maintained at the cost of much thought, feeling, and prayer. Where it exists it must move the heart to zeal and generosity in the service of God, cannot but manifest itself in works and gifts.

2. It is unacceptable to God. Instead of accepting, he abhors it. It is contrary to his will. The spirit of the old injunction, "They shall not appear before the Lord empty," is plainly of universal application; and the New Testament abounds in precepts enjoining zeal and generosity in the service of God.

3. It is therefore fruitless of good, now and hereafter. It may be correct in creed, fair in profession, interesting in sentiment, beautiful in phrase; but it is useless. It answers no substantial end of a religion. It does not elevate and improve the worshipper. It can hardly secure even the approval of men. It does not avert, but ensure and increase, the judgments of God. Those who practise it will justly have their "portion with the hypocrites" (Matthew 24:51).

VII. ASSURANCE OF RECOMPENSE. God will not let any man be a loser in his service.

1. He gives valuable rewards now to those who expend their energies or substance for him. The practical manifestation of Christian principles, strengthens them. Talents employed are multiplied. "Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance" (Matthew 25:29). Service opens opportunities and develops capacities for service. Influence for good widens, honourable positions in Christ's Church are reached without ambitious striving for them, the esteem and affection of the good are enjoyed. The pleasure of doing good is experienced, and, withal, the pleasures of a good conscience - the consciousness of Christian principles, affections, and aims, and of the approval of God.

2. Great is their reward in heaven. Perfected character; enlarged and exalted service; the unclouded light of the Divine countenance; the blessings of those whom they have helped to save; the eternal joy and glory of the Lord. In conclusion:

1. This resolution deserves the serious consideration and adoption of: (l) Ministers and other teachers of religion, who are often tempted to do their work with as little trouble to themselves as possible. The help afforded by such books as this may be abused by the indolent.

(2) All who have opportunity to expend money, time, or talents in the service of Christ. Cordially adopted, it will make the numerous calls on Christian zeal and liberality in our day matter of thankfulness rather than of annoyance. It will induce even the poor to render aid according to their means.

2. The subject shows the disadvantages attending endowments of religion. They tend to deprive worshippers of the pleasure and profit of worshipping God with cost to themselves. Where they exist, Christians should compensate themselves for the loss thus inflicted on them by exercising all the greater generosity towards other branches of Divine service, such as missions at home and abroad, charity to the poor, etc. - G.W.

Nay, but I will surely buy it of thee at a price.
Then David had not learned the now commonly approved methods of piety. It was surely very strange for one who could offer a sacrifice without expense, to prefer to offer a purchased sacrifice, and, instead of embracing a presented opportunity of costless worship, to insist upon paying for the materials of his service. It was a generous impulse which prompted the refusal, and David had generous impulses. With all his faults, he could be quite at home with the noble in sentiment and spirit.

I. THE REAL SPIRIT OF DAVID'S CONDUCT. We must keep in mind this fact, that David would not do what he might have done. It was not compliance with a hard necessity; it was not a reluctant submission to what could not well be helped: he might have acted otherwise without inflicting any injury or causing any offence. Araunah could well afford to make the gift, and he wished to make it. Had David accepted it, his offering would not have been at all deficient; in place and matter and instruments it would have been complete. He had a fine opportunity, as some would esteem it, of reconciling self-interest with godliness, prudence with principle; of doing a good thing for nothing: what would multitudes give for such an opportunity? Why, then, did David forego it? The answer is, that he felt that which would not have been represented by the acceptance of Araunah's present. He wished to sacrifice, did not wish another to do it. Acting otherwise, the materials of the sacrifice would have been the same, but the virtual offerer would have been different. It would have been no fit expression of David's spirit, no full gratification of the feelings that now filled his heart. An illustration may be taken from some of the old sacred buildings. You will find them "finished with the most circumstantial elegance and minuteness in those concealed portions which are excluded from public view, and which can only be inspected by laborious climbing or groping," a fact explained by saying, "that the whole carving and execution was considered as an act of solemn worship and adoration, in which the artist offered up his best faculties to the praise of the Creator." These men of "the dark ages," as we love in the pride of our compassion to call them, had in this a true and grand idea: what would they say of our veneered and gilded modern life, in which everything is for show and nothing from reality, everything for a purpose and nothing from a principle? Everything depends on the predominant principle and purpose. If a man's prime feeling be that of self, he will go to the easiest and most economic way to work and worship; if a man's prime feeling be that of God, he will rebuke all thoughts of cheapness and facility. In the first case, he will seek the largest possible results from the least possible expenditure; in the second, the expenditure will be itself the result. Now it is the end and essence of all religion to turn the mind from self to God; to give it absorbing views of the Divine beauty and glory; to fill it with Divine love and zeal; to make it feel honoured in honouring God, blessed in blessing Him; to make it feel that nothing is good enough or great enough for him: and when the mind is thus affected and thus possessed, it will understand and share the spirit of David's resolve, not to offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord God of that which doth cost nothing.


1. It will make our service, whatever it is, a living thing. What we do, even when it is the same that others do, will be animated by another and a loftier principle and passion. Whether it be worship or labour, it will be an end and not a means. It will not be the driving of a bargain with God, not compliance with terms and conditions of favour and recompense, but the pouring out of a loving and reverential heart; not the result of a careful calculation, but of sympathy with the goodness and glory of the Lord. A man thus inspired will no more think of inquiring the advantages, the probable gains of his deeds and his adoration, than he would think of the profitableness of gazing with admiration on a lovely landscape, or regaling his soul with the noble qualities of a hero or a martyr. But this spirit will not only affect what we do, not only make a reality of our service, but it will make us do more, far more, than would otherwise be possible. The language of the man who tools as David felt will be, What can I do to glorify God? what modes and methods of honouring him are within my power? There are two questions asked consciously or unconsciously by men in relation to religious service: one is, How little may we do? The other is, How much can we do? These questions involve different principles and ends. He who puts the first thinks only of safety; he who puts the second thinks only of duty: in the first it is interest that speaks; in the second it is gratitude, love, reverence, and zeal. And if these inspire us, we need not repeat David's act; there is no necessity to insist on making costly what might be without price. It would be easy to illustrate the operation of this spirit in connection with every department of human service. It must, for instance, influence the study of truth. We are satisfied with our religious faith; we have no doubt at all that the great and life-giving principles of the Gospel are understood and held by us; we can afford to look with profound pity on those who think otherwise, to commiserate the paucity or erroneousness of the articles of their creed. We have learned to distinguish between things necessary to be believed in ordered to salvation and things unnecessary; the first we maintain with rigorous fidelity, the last occasion us no concern: we meet every suggestion or solicitation to inquiry and examination, to deep and extended thought, with the response that it is not needful, a man may be saved without it. Is that the spirit of the text? Is that giving God our best? Far from it. Let us lose sight of the question of mere salvation, and be fired with a zeal for the honour of the God of truth; let us love truth for its own sake, and not for the sake only of the profit of believing it; and, whatever our present convictions, we shall bring to its pursuit and its contemplation our keenest investigations and finest thought, and, irrespective of all considerations of gain or safety, shall "follow on to know." It will influence us in connection with the more difficult and least popular morals. We are not only to do good, but not to let our "good be evil spoken of;" not only to avoid evil, but "the appearance of evil;" not only to work that we may not steal, but to work that we may "have to give;" not only to resist temptation, but to flee from its scenes and instruments; to forbid the impure and wrathful thought and desire, as well as the outward act; to be "without offence," to "think " upon whatsoever things are "lovely and of good report," to deny ourselves, to love our enemies; in one word, to be "imitators of God," and walk "even as Christ also walked."

3. This spirit will affect certain forms of religious profession. When the duty of a formal acknowledgment of Christ, art identification with His people, and the commemoration of His death in His Supper, are urged, the reply for substance is frequently made: "It is not absolutely necessary to join a church: you cannot maintain that only those who belong to religious societies will enter the kingdom of heaven. It may be very good and profitable as a rule, but I am left at liberty to do it or leave it alone as I think proper. You cannot pretend that there is no salvation out of the church." The answer to this is not far to seek. We suppose that there is no fixed and universal rule of necessity in such things. Necessity is not in the subject but in the man. We can conceive of great things not being necessary sometimes, and of very little things being necessary sometimes, on this ground. Is it necessary for a man to do, or safe to leave undone, what he knows to be according to the will of God? Is persistence in disobedience compatible with a state of spiritual security? But why talk at all of necessity? Necessity in relation to what? Your salvation? But, conceding what you assume, is that the only light in which to regard the Divine will? Is personal profit the only thing that gives that will power over your nature? Do you really mean that you will do only what you are obliged to do, that you care nothing for law and love, that you are indifferent to Maker's pleasure and a Saviour's grace, but that you do want to get to heaven?' Is that, the offering you make to God, an offering dictated by no sense of his claims and favours, no passion to serve Him worthily, but a mere calculation of spiritual profit?

4. This spirit will prompt us to labour to do good, and not to refuse even the more arduous and self-denying services of benevolence.


1. Consider what God is; how worthy of your utmost zeal and love and honour in Himself, in His ineffable perfections. How "glorious" He is "in holiness"; "how great is His goodness, how great is His beauty." To give to him the best is a necessary fruit of any true, however inadequate conception of His infinite worth.

2. Think, again, that every offering you make to God is already His own. The materials of service are His, the power to use them is His;. His are the outward instruments, and His the moral faculties.

3. But, lastly, remember that God does not offer to us that which cost him nothing.

(A. J. Morris.)

A free salvation does not necessarily imply a religion which costs us nothing. If the text were to be translated into New Testament language, it would read thus: "I will not make a profession of being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ which involves no necessity for self-denial or self-sacrifice." Now, in illustration of this subject I would observe, that both in the type and in the fulfilment of the type the Lord Jehovah has set before us salvation as that which on His part is free and gracious, "without money and without price." See how the graciousness and freeness of salvation were pointed out here. The sinner might have been expected to be consumed himself, and that a sacrifice was accepted as an atonement for him must only be attributable to the rich grace and kindness and love of God. The sinner could never have expected that in such a way as this, without anything that he had done to deserve favour, God should have provided for him a way of escape; but it is even so in the fulfilment of the type. But there was one circumstance, in the typical institution, which tends still further to show the freeness of God's salvation. This burnt-offering was placed within reach of even the poorest; but in each case the man was required to give something, in order that he might come before God in the prescribed way of acceptance. Even so is it, when we come to look at the fulfilment of these typical institutions, as set forth in the Gospel of salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ is not only a Saviour for the rich man, but a Saviour for the poor man; and the poor man may come to God with as great a welcome as the richest and the most honourable. But then it is very possible for men to deceive themselves, and to suppose that they are coming before God in His appointed way of acceptable worship, when "a deceived heart hath turned them aside," so that they cannot ask themselves, "is there not a lie in my right hand?" It becomes necessary, therefore, to show the second part of this proposition — that although God's salvation is free, it does not necessarily imply a religion which costs a man nothing. Salvation itself costs him nothing. In order that we may see this, observe the circumstances referred to in the text. Now, the sacrifice might have been offered — the burnt-offering, God's appointed way of coming before Him acceptably under that dispensation, might have been consumed on the altar — David might have been present, and ostensibly have been the man to offer this sacrifice — and yet Araunah might have borne all the cost of it; but, if so, would not David have been proved to have been a hypocrite in his worship? For what was the signification of presenting a burnt-offering to the Lord in this manner? Was it not an acknowledgment of the sinner's guilt, a thankful acceptance of God's mercy, and at the same time a dedication of all he had to the Lord's service? See how this truth is brought out clearly in New Testament language. "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price," says the apostle Paul, "therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." So that the result of redemption received into the heart by faith is the determination to "glorify God in our body and our spirits, which are His." Now, when there is this dedication of ourselves to God, I ask whether it is possible to imagine a case in which there will be no manifestation of it by some practical and self-denying acts. An act of my mind may be connected with a thought known only to God, but the dedication of my body as well as my spirit to God implies an outward act of which my fellow-creatures can judge, though God Himself, who reads the heart, can alone discern the motive from which that outward action proceeds; and inasmuch as it is the duty of believers in Jesus Christ not merely to dedicate their spirits unto God,. which have been "redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without spot," but their bodies also, which have been redeemed at the same precious price, it follows that such act of self-dedication must be attended with the giving up of some things which we might have selfishly enjoyed — connected with the making of sacrifices which perhaps would have been displeasing to flesh and blood, but which we are now thankful to make, because under the constraining power of the love of Christ — connected, in short, with the manifestation of the feeling which makes us determine that while we serve God we will not serve Him of that which costs us nothing. Now, let this truth be applied to two or three individual characters, in order that .we may see its importance. Take the ease, for example, of the worldling, the man who is following the customs and the habits of the world. Perhaps, if he have a respect for religion, manifested by occasional attendance upon God's ordinances, he will tell you that he serves the Lord — that although he does not care for being righteous overmuch, and although he makes no profession such as many hypocrites do, yet that he means what is right. But the question is, does that man offer burnt-offering to the Lord of that which costs him something? Where is his self-denial? Where is his self-sacrifice? There must be a devotedness of spirit and devotedness of life; there must be both acts of the mind, and outward acts which his fellow-creatures can judge of, to denote his devotedness to God, if he be indeed serving God as an acceptable worshipper of our Lord Jesus Christ. Or take the case of the more determined professor of religion. I allude to the case of the man who professes to value those great doctrines of the Gospel concerning a full and free salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. But every privilege is connected with a corresponding duty; every blessing received from God involves responsibility on the part of the man who receives it. For example, Christ's presence with His people to the very end of the world is a privilege; but it is connected with the duty, that they should observe all things whatsoever He has commanded them, and that they should be making constant efforts to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who would be sincere in this matter must show his sincerity by the determination which David manifested — that whilst his burnt-offering shall be presented in the way God has appointed, it shall not be at other people's cost, but at his own — that he will not serve God of that which costs him nothing. And now the point to which I am come is, that whether as to money, or time, or influence, if we are really under the power of Christ's constraining love, our religion must be that which costs us something Has your religion ever cost you anything in this respect?

(W. Cadman, M. A)

On the place over which the angel of God had stayed his hand of judgment, the king resolved to erect an altar, and to offer a burnt-offering. That spot where judgment halted was the threshing-floor of Araunah. The point in the transaction which will fix our attention is that of the king's refusal of Araunah's generosity; not because so princely a nature as David's could not appreciate such generosity, but on principle. "I will surely buy of thee." There you have the principle which I desire to illustrate.

1. The principle was the expression of the true feeling of the greatest, the devoutest, the most remarkable man of his day — a man whose many-sidedness of nature links him with the highest; a man whose influence has been felt in all ages, from his own till this, and in an ever-widening circle, in the ratio of the missionary zeal of the Church of Jesus Christ, for there is no religious poetry equal to David's psalms. It received the Divine endorsement. "The plague was stayed."

2. The principle applies to the minister's dedication, and preparation for his work. He should resolve, "Neither will I offer to the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing."

3. The principle further applies to intellectual and heart preparation for the work of the ministry.

4. Apply the principle to personal dedication. It will cost something to offer yourself to the Lord your God. If it cost nothing, the enjoyment of God's favour would be little esteemed. The dedication of the person to God involves the dedication of all that belongs to him.

(R. Thomas.)

This subject is connected with that of "The Three Temples of the One God," not only because the event transpired on the very spot that became a few years afterwards the site of the Temple, and so the centre of the worship of Judea, but because of its association in motive and principle with Him Who was the Second Temple, and because of its practice in the erection of the third temple throughout the worm and the ages. The principle that comes out in these words of David to Araunah is one that will sweep the whole circle of worship, and work, and gifts, and personal religious life.

1. Worship. For in our buildings, in our service of praise and prayer, preaching and hearing, we are to give our best in effort, in intelligence, in all things, facing and resisting every temptation to the contrary, with the words, "Shall I offer," etc.

2. Work — not to schemes only that are pleasant, and in times that are convenient and by proxies that are easily obtainable will the true worker for God devote himself.

3. Gifts. Not with careless gifts, almost covertly given, or the smallest coin doled out stingy, can he give who says, "Shall I offer," etc.

4. Personal religion. There is meanness and ingratitude in the spirit that relegates all religious care to the leisure of Sunday, or of the sick-room, or the infirmities of old age. Why should we not offer to God that which costs nothing?Three questions may throw light upon it.

1. How far what costs you nothing is any benefit to yourself? Such may be of some benefit. But only what "costs something" calls out

(1)highest motives, and employs

(2)all faculties.

2. How far what costs you nothing has much influence upon the world? Sacrifice is the subtle and tremendous element needful in all great influence. In the home, in the Church, in the state, they only climb true thrones, and wear real crowns, who have the spirit of sacrifice. The Saviour Himself relied on that — "I, if I be lifted up. will draw all men unto me." So does the Eternal Father of men, for He has made "Christ," who is incarnate Sacrifice, "the power of God."

3. How far what costs you nothing is acceptable to God? Christ's praise of the poor widow's gift, God's acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ, sufficiently indicate the Divine estimate of self-denial. And since that service which costs us something has the pulses of reality, the glow of love, and the reflection of Christ, it surely is acceptable to God.

(U. R. Thomas.)

I. THE TRUE MOTIVE TO BENEVOLENCE, "offering unto the Lord." His offerings were gifts to the Lord; and our offerings, too, must be gifts to the Lord. There may be a sense in which we can give nothing to Him, and there are times in which He reminds us of His sublime and eternal independence of us. We give to each other what we may happen to need. God needs nothing. Into the infinite ocean of His nature no streams are ever Seen to run. Unlike the oceans of the earth, it is never supplied, but always supplies. Streams flow from it, but never to it. They flow with a ceaseless and unflagging volume and speed. They flow to angels and to men. They bear life, and strength, and wisdom, and grace, and love. These streams ere carrying to-day light to unnumbered worlds, health to unnumbered living things, comfort to unnumbered weary ones, hope to unnumbered despairing ones. A father gives to his son a plot of ground that he may turn it into a garden. He gives him the tools with which to prepare it. He gives him the seeds from which he is to raise the fruits and flowers. He gives him a home to live in. He gives him his daily food. At length, the father finds on his table the richest fruit and fairest flowers which the garden has produced as a loving acknowledgment from his son. What is this acknowledgment? It is a gift, and yet it is only a gift of what is his own. In this manner, and in this only, we can give to God. To offer to the Lord; this expression lies at the root of all true service. To the Lord was a sort of touchstone, which the Apostle carried with him everywhere, and by which he tested both his own doings and those of others. You know that in life everything depends upon the motive from which it springs. Man is what his motives are, and he is no better and no worse. The outward, visible deed we may perform, or the audible word we may speak, have no meaning to us, until we have first ascertained the motive which incited them. It is only too common to think of the giving of money as a lower branch of Christian duty. On the contrary, that giving may be the highest and most religious act of the godly man. Generosity may be one of their constitutional peculiarities. It is so with many, and it may be so with them. They were born with it. But there are others of a very different character, in whom the generous giving of their means would be the sublimest shape in which their religion could make itself manifest.

II. THE MEASURE OF CHRISTIAN LIBERALITY. "I will not offer unto the Lord of that which costs me nothing." This was but the negative form of David's noble principle. He meant that he would give to the Lord of that which cost him something. This principle, interpreted widely, and under the inspiration of a grateful love, would yield a sufficiency of means for carrying on without embarrassment every Christian agency in the world. The spirit of Christian liberality is evermore a spirit of self-denial. It is prompted and fed by the thought of Him who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich. The vital nerve which runs through it is one of gratitude for infinite mercy. And those whose Christianity has cost them the most are the men who will be faithful unto death. Will Luther, will Melanchthon, will Zwingle, will Calvin, will Latimer, will Knox, will Ridley, will Hooper, forsake the reformation? Nay; they will go for it to prison if needful, or even unto death, but they will not deny it. Having love as the impulse to our benevolence, its measure will be determined by the nature of the case which appeals for our help, and also by the means which God has placed at our disposal. Here is false measure! It is stamped with the words, "What have I given before?" This carries with it a double falsehood. It may be too heavy, or it may be too light. This weight will be condemned at the last day. There is another weight, stamped with the words, "How little can I give?" Of this weight I say nothing, nor of the man who uses it, except this, that he that soweth sparingly shall read also sparingly. Gratitude demands that we give to the Lord. Giving to the Lord is as Christian a work as prayer or the avoidance of sin. Giving must always be tending towards sacrifice and self-denial

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

The doctrine of sacrifices, as under the old dispensation, is not easy to fathom completely. Of course one purpose was to foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. But there must have been much more lying behind the system than this typical teaching. Such elaborate directions as are given as to the value, the composition, the way of celebrating these burnt-offerings, were no doubt intended to serve a more direct purpose of teaching than what was merely typical. There was one eternal principle of God, a principle which has been running all through the ages, which these burnt-offerings did teach. A burnt-offering meant the giving up of a certain amount of pleasure, or trouble, or possessions, and was essentially, in the literal sense of the word, a sacrifice. The man who presented a burnt-offering to God was bound to take a certain amount of trouble before he could do so. Wealth, or property, then, was far more equally divided than it is now. Much of it was in kind. In fact, these old sacrifices were an instance of that irrevocable law which prevails all through the universe, the necessity of taking pains. This was the old principle, so well put by Carlyle, "It is only with renunciation that life, properly speaking, can be said to begin." Renunciation, but of what? Of all that is satisfactory in life? By no means, but renunciation of the self-spirit in man. One of the most favourite maxims which we now hear quoted, and which has been quoted so often that we have almost come to believe it is true, is that we should not, as a rule, force ourselves to do anything. Wait till the desire comes — till the spirit moves you — till you are in the humour for it — say many of our advisers. Forced work, say they, is not good work. Sit down quietly, or take a walk, until you feel more disposed to attack your difficult task. Which, in other words, means this, wait until it is easier for me to do it. Wait until it costs me less exertion to perform it, And this principle seems to be an entirely false one, and it is at the root of a great deal of the mischief in the world. Every daily duty is, or should be, a duty done to God — for God, whether it be wielding the workman's hammer, or presiding on the judicial bench. This plan, then, of not forcing ourselves to do a disagreeable duty, when reduced, means, offering unto the Lord that which costs me, not perhaps nothing, but at any rate not very much. Can you conceive an Israelite, to whom the time had come to offer to God His accustomed sacrifice, reasoning thus to himself? That is a true possession — that is a true offering — that is the salt of life — that God demands at our hands service which costs us something. The truth of this principle is shown in various ways. More especially it is shown by the increased store which we always set upon any possession which has cost us self-renunciation to obtain. The Canadian settler, who is surrounded by the rough-hewn chairs and tables of his own construction, probably values and cherishes these more than the owner of a fashionable London drawing-room does her magnificent furniture. In the one case they are the result of labour and toil, and very frequently, in the other case, they represent no more than someone else's toil. And it is an eternal law of God that we cannot have as much true pleasure from some one else's labour as from our own. Or if we do contrive to extort much pleasure from it, it is an indication of how very low we have fallen in character. It is one of the misfortunes of those who inherit possessions, that they are unable to appreciate the having them in anything like the same proportion as if they had toiled for them themselves. But I desire to put before you the view of the offering which every man has to make, willingly or unwillingly, unto his Maker. That offering is the sum of his own life's career. "We bring our years to an end," says the Psalmist, "as it were s tale that is told." And having brought them to an end, they are presented, as a long and patchy scroll, unto God who gave them. I conceive that when the smoke of the years of our life ascends in upward flight to God, that only can be an acceptable, or in any sense an offering or sacrifice to Him, which bears the trace of the eternal principle of having taken pains with it. Earthly successful careers, which in many ways are typical of spiritually successful careers, are produced by the age-long genius of taking pains. The fool physical, and the fool spiritual, is the man who takes no pains. The one cannot succeed, neither can the other. In an infinitely higher way our Saviour teaches us this same lesson: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." What else is this but saying that life — life — that magnificent possession given to us sons of God — this life is a sacrifice, living is a sacrifice, our years are a sacrifice, and this sacrifice, when we shall enter the portals of Hades-land, we must take, and present, and lay it upon the altar of God. Perhaps, then, the question to be asked is this: Is your spiritual life costing you anything? Sacrifice of money is but a small part of the life-sacrifice. The money is not yours — the life is. Many of you are toiling, and wearing out brain and body over the earthly life, are you straining every fibre, too, to make beautiful and glorious the life which is hid with Christ in God? I am not hinting that the spiritual life and the earthly life are separate and distinct — I know at least that they need not be — but do not make the spiritual life earthly, but make the earthly life spiritual. Do all to the glory of God. But to those who find but little to do, there is the danger. Many a life stagnates because it eats away its heart in comfortable inactivity. Those of you who are fed, and clothed, and served, and protected, and toiled for by thousands of suffering others, let me tell you, you cannot pay for these things, therefore your life, when laid before God, must be a life that has cost you something, some scouring, some cleaning, if God can accept it. Yes, assuredly, you too must go up upon the hill of God, and by dropping your contribution of usefulness, real usefulness, into God's world, must help God. And the greatness and the reality of that sacrifice of love which Jesus made for the whole world, and for you, is an example of the sacrifice which He asks you to make of the jewel He has given you — your life! A diamond it is, unpolished, uncut, but capable of infinite beauty of form, infinite purity of lustre. He will help to shape and mould it, then to brighten and polish it, and then to keep its lustre undimmed and its sparkle clear. Finally, also, God will ask you for it, i.e., your life, and if worthy, He will place it, a bright jewel, in the eternal crown. High destiny! Great end! How can I, thus conscious of the eternal plan, do else than present to Him my noblest and my best? I will not offer unto the Lord my God that which has cost me nothing.

(A. H. Powell, M. A.)

In Disruption times, a poor woman, Janet Fraser, owned a small cottage and garden in Penpont, which she freely and cordially offered to the Free Church. A "sough" of this having gone abroad, the duke's agent called on Janet, and began by offering her £25 for the ground, presently rising to £50; but Janet declared that she had given it to the Lord, and would not recall it for all the dukedom of Queensbury. On her ground the church was accordingly built.

(W. G. Blaikie.)

A fashionable and wealthy lady in America made up her mind to become a missionary. For a long time the church of which she was a member, doubting her fitness, delayed acceptance of her offer; but, at last, as she persisted, they yielded and asked her what sphere of labour she preferred. Looking down thoughtfully on her dainty gloves, she replied, "I think I should prefer Paris to any other place." That was the city that suited the belle of fashion rather than the neglected millions of China or India, or Central Africa. But our Master declares, "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."

(H. O. Mackey.)

When Mr. Campbell went upon his first mission to Africa, the Bible Society sent along with him a number of Bibles to be distributed to a Highland regiment stationed at the Cape of Good Hope. Arrived there, the regiment was drawn out in order to receive the Bibles. The box which contained them was placed in the centre, and on Mr. Campbell presenting the first Bible to one of the men he took out his pocket four shillings and sixpence for the Bible, saying, "I enlisted to serve my king arid my country, and I have been well and regularly paid, and will not accept of a Bible as a present when I can pay for it." His example was instantly followed by all the regiment.

(Anecdotes of the Old Testament.)

This is a touching story a missionary tells of a Hindu mother who had two children, one of them blind. The mother said her god was angry, and must be appeased, or something worse would come to pass. One day the missionary returned, and the little bed had but one child in it. The mother had thrown the other into the Ganges. "And you cast away the one with good eyes?" "Oh, yes," she said; "my god must have the best." Alas! Alas! the poor mother had a true doctrine, but she put it to a bad use. Let us try to give God the best. Too long already have we put Him off with the drippings from life's overful cup.

Araunah, Canaanites, Dan, David, Gad, Gadites, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Joab, Zidon
Aroer, Beersheba, Dan, Gilead, Jazer, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Kadesh, Negeb, Sidon, Tyre
Araunah, Arau'nah, Ascend, Bought, Burned, Burnt, Burnt-offerings, Buy, Buyeth, Case, Cause, Certainly, Cost, David, Fifty, Floor, Got, Grain-floor, However, Insist, Nay, Nothing, Nought, Offer, Offerings, Oxen, Paid, Paying, Price, Sacrifice, Shekels, Silver, Surely, Threshing, Threshingfloor, Threshing-floor, Verily
1. David, tempted by Satan, forces Joab to number the people
5. The captains, in nine months and twenty days, gather 1,300,000 fighting men
10. David repents, and having three plagues proposed by God, chooses pestilence
15. After the death of 70,000, David by prayer prevents the destruction of Jerusalem
18. David, by God's direction, purchases Araunah's threshing floor;
25. and the plague stops

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 24:24

     4363   silver
     5242   buying and selling
     5477   property, land
     5913   negotiation
     8752   false worship

2 Samuel 24:10-25

     7435   sacrifice, in OT

2 Samuel 24:11-25

     4843   plague

2 Samuel 24:16-25

     4524   threshing-floor

2 Samuel 24:22-24

     5865   gestures

The Exile --Continued.
We have one psalm which the title connects with the beginning of David's stay at Adullam,--the thirty-fourth. The supposition that it dates from that period throws great force into many parts of it, and gives a unity to what is else apparently fragmentary and disconnected. Unlike those already considered, which were pure soliloquies, this is full of exhortation and counsel, as would naturally be the case if it were written when friends and followers began to gather to his standard. It reads like
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

The Universal Chorus
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that stteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. M en have generally agreed to dignify their presumptuous and arrogant ^* disquisitions on the works and ways of God, with the name of wisdom ; though the principles upon which they proceed, and the conclusions which they draw from
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Letter xix (A. D. 1127) to Suger, Abbot of S. Denis
To Suger, Abbot of S. Denis He praises Suger, who had unexpectedly renounced the pride and luxury of the world to give himself to the modest habits of the religious life. He blames severely the clerk who devotes himself rather to the service of princes than that of God. 1. A piece of good news has reached our district; it cannot fail to do great good to whomsoever it shall have come. For who that fear God, hearing what great things He has done for your soul, do not rejoice and wonder at the great
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Meditations for one that is Like to Die.
If thy sickness be like to increase unto death, then meditate on three things:--First, How graciously God dealeth with thee. Secondly, From what evils death will free thee. Thirdly, What good death will bring unto thee. The first sort of Meditations are, to consider God's favourable dealing with thee. 1. Meditate that God uses this chastisement of thy body but as a medicine to cure thy soul, by drawing thee, who art sick in sin, to come by repentance unto Christ, thy physician, to have thy soul healed
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Consolations against Impatience in Sickness.
If in thy sickness by extremity of pain thou be driven to impatience, meditate-- 1. That thy sins have deserved the pains of hell; therefore thou mayest with greater patience endure these fatherly corrections. 2. That these are the scourges of thy heavenly Father, and the rod is in his hand. If thou didst suffer with reverence, being a child, the corrections of thy earthly parents, how much rather shouldst thou now subject thyself, being the child of God, to the chastisement of thy heavenly Father,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Order of Thought which Surrounded the Development of Jesus.
As the cooled earth no longer permits us to understand the phenomena of primitive creation, because the fire which penetrated it is extinct, so deliberate explanations have always appeared somewhat insufficient when applying our timid methods of induction to the revolutions of the creative epochs which have decided the fate of humanity. Jesus lived at one of those times when the game of public life is freely played, and when the stake of human activity is increased a hundredfold. Every great part,
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Of Love to God
I proceed to the second general branch of the text. The persons interested in this privilege. They are lovers of God. "All things work together for good, to them that love God." Despisers and haters of God have no lot or part in this privilege. It is children's bread, it belongs only to them that love God. Because love is the very heart and spirit of religion, I shall the more fully treat upon this; and for the further discussion of it, let us notice these five things concerning love to God. 1. The
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

The Hardening in the Sacred Scripture.
"He hath hardened their heart."-- John xii. 40. The Scripture teaches positively that the hardening and "darkening of their foolish heart" is a divine, intentional act. This is plainly evident from God's charge to Moses concerning the king of Egypt: "Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not harken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Prophet Amos.
GENERAL PRELIMINARY REMARKS. It will not be necessary to extend our preliminary remarks on the prophet Amos, since on the main point--viz., the circumstances under which he appeared as a prophet--the introduction to the prophecies of Hosea may be regarded as having been written for those of Amos also. For, according to the inscription, they belong to the same period at which Hosea's prophetic ministry began, viz., the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam II., and after Uzziah had ascended the
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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