Text:           1 Chronicle 21:1-24

By:               Ezekiel Oghenekaro

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Now Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.” And Joab answered, “May the Lord make His people a hundred times more than they are. But my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem. Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. … And God was displeased with this thing; therefore, He struck Israel... 


After the census, verse 7 have this phrase, …and God was displeased with what David did, therefore He smote Israel. It was at this time that David realized the grievousness of his mistake. He asked the Lord for mercy, but he was given three punishments to choose from because he must suffer the consequence of his action.

11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Choose for yourself, 12 either [d]three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the Lord—the plague in the land, with the [e]angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.” 13 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 14 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell. Vs 11-14. 

Again, the angel came to Jerusalem to the threshing floor of Onan to continue the destruction, but God asked the angel to stop. Then, David cried out to the Lord, saying it was I who sinned against you, it was I who gave the instruction for Israel to be numbered and the plague in essence should have come to me. Afterward, David was asked to erect an alter to the Lord, where he saw the angel of the Lord. Upon enquiry, David discovered the owner of the land. This is truly a desperate time, it would be easy for David to veto his power and use the land because he needed to save his people, but no, he did not, rather he looked for the owner and when he did, he asked politely what it would cost him to get the land to build an altar to the Lord.

22 Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the Lord. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” 23 But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.” 24 Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” 

Sacrifice is defined as “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”  Jesus gave up his life for us.  He found us to be more important or worthy.  Jesus’ death on the cross embodies just how much God loves us.  When we focus on this act of love, we realize that God’s love for us is sacrificial, eternal, and unconditional.

Learning Points 

  • Leaders, Parents Must be Spiritually focus: Leaders, parents, elders should not be hasty in decision making as did David. Notice that this calamity could have been avoided, if David had listened to Joab but he felt he was commander in chief and his decision is final. One thing David was known for was his prayerfulness, but on this occasion, he did not consult God before taking this decision. This is a discussion for another day.
  • Sacrificial Living Is Unselfish: It would have been easy for David to receive this free gift. At least, the owner was willing to give it to the Lord for free, but David said, …I will not offer unto Jehovah my God of that which doth cost me nothing. What are you willing to give up for God? Our world today is full of self, self, and self. We want everything free, the man who is even well to do will still be dragging scholarship programme met for the less privilege for his children whereas he can carter for his children education and so on. 
  • Sacrificial Living Means Spending and Being Expended: Paul used an illustration of the financial sacrifice some parents make for their children (2 Cor. 12:14-15). It is not uncommon for parents to live sacrificially for the sake of a child’s education or medical treatment. Others have foregone normal pleasures to send their children overseas for better education or better living.

Spending. Jesus assures us that every sacrifice for His name’s sake will be rewarded many times over (Matt. 19:29). Paul spoke of our Lord’s self-imposed poverty as he thought of the sacrificial giving of the Macedonian churches. They, “according to their ability, and beyond their ability, gave of their own accord” (2 Cor. 8:1-3,9). This was “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18).

Being Expendable. We speak of something being expendable when the value of a cause or person justifies the offering. This is a basic consideration in sacrificial living. Does this cause or person merit my effort and sacrifice? Paul evidently thought that even the ungrateful Corinthians did. Paul, Silas and Timothy evidenced their sacrificial love for the Thessalonians by their willingness “to impart to you, not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (1 Thess. 2:8). Epaphroditus literally laid his life on the line for the work of Christ by ministering sacrificially to Paul’s needs (Phil. 2:29-30).

  • Faith is the hub of Sacrificial Living: Luke 21:1-4Many a time, when we give to others, we are quick to say out of modesty, “accept my widow’s mite”. I believe that is an exaggeration of our gifts if it is not all we have to live on. Your does not need to be compared to the widow’s mite to make it acceptable. The widow gave all her livelihood. All she had to live on. This is the height of sacrificial living. She had faith in God to provide. If she had kept that money to herself, it still would not solve all her life problems, yet it could still get her something for the moment, but she trusted God more and she gave all she had. Please note the following about this widow:
  • The widow was not planning to commit suicide.
  • She gave trusting God to bless
  • She was truly blessed
  • God looks at the heart, but man looks at the gift
  • Many today give only out of their surplus or convenience
  • It is more blessed to give than to receive. 
  • Lovelessness Knows No Value: lovelessness always see wastage. A man decides to buy an expensive ring to propose to his fiancée, and his friends see him as one that is wasteful because all they could see is the cost of the ring but do not know the value of his action. Similar decides to give his children the best of education, and everyone sees him as wasteful. This was the case of Judas Iscariot and the woman with the Alabaster box of costly ointment. This woman was willing to sacrifice this expensive perfume for the master, yet all the apostles led in this instance by Judas could see was the wastefulness of the woman. 

Many of us like Judas, know the cost of all things, but the value of none”.

Many sees the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as wastefulness. We see the giving for the Lord’s course as a waste. The devotion of our time to God’s activities as overdoing it. The time we spend in service as too much. The value is lost. All we can see is the cost but cannot see any value. That is lovelessness blinding our heart.

  • Reward for Sacrificial Living: The Christian life is a life of sacrifice. God gave His only begotten son and got the world in return. Christ, …if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me – John 12:32. Let’s consider the widow of Zarephath, she gave all she had to Elijah the prophet of God on his request and she never lacked until the drought came to an end – 1 Kings 17:7-16. It is more blessed to give than to receive. God has never stopped blessing those who sacrificially gave, and He will not start now. Solomon offered a thousand burnt offering and Lord visited Him that same night. 2 Chronicle 1:6. 


Consider the greatness of God’s grace in giving us His Son, the inexpressible gift. Then turn your attention to the generosity of the Lord Jesus in His own self-sacrifice.

When we live our life and make choices to sacrifice for others, we are giving praise and honour to God – Romans 12:1. We do not have to wait for a big idea or life-changing moment to give up by sacrificing our life to God.  Just each day, share your time, lend a helping hand, exhibit kindness and love to those around you – even when you do not feel like it.  Be intentional in moments to give something up to show someone they are important and loved.

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