Sacrifice: to give up something (that you want to keep) especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone; an act of giving up something especially for the sake of someone or something else.

I Chronicles 21:1-4 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab…Go, number Israel…and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. And Joab answered, The Lord make his people an hundred times so many more…but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed…Wherefore Joab departed…

Praising God for a benefit or blessing is not the same as a sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice of praise costs something. When you get a bad report or things aren’t going well, it’s a sacrifice to praise God. David let Satan provoke him so he rose up in pride and ordered Joab to number the people, contrary to God’s law. If we allow pride to come in, we’ll fall and not have an acceptable sacrifice. David saw he sinned and God sent the prophet Gad to give him three choices as a consequence.

I Chronicles 21:12-15 Either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes…or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now…what word I shall bring again to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the Lord…great are his mercies: but…not fall into the hand of man. So the Lord sent pestilence …there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it…the Lord…repented him of the evil, and said…It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan…

David chose three days of pestilence from God and 70,000 people died from the plague. Historians believe it was bubonic plague caused by infected rats flea bites. So many people dying, completely changed David’s attitude to be very humble.

I Chronicles 21:16-17 And David…saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders…clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but…these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand…be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people…

The threshingfloor of Araunah was the same as Ornan’s in the account of Chronicles. The place was on Mount Moriah where Abraham had offered Isaac to be a sacrifice. It cost Abraham something for him to be willing to offer Isaac. Araunah wanted to give the oxen to David. David said he wouldn’t give an offering that didn’t cost him something.

II Samuel 24:18-25 And Gad…said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. And David…went up as the Lord commanded. And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah…bowed himself before the king…said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed…Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments…All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said…The Lord thy God accept thee. And the king said…Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord …which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar…offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated…the plague was stayed from Israel.

We have to give ourselves to God if we’re going to offer a sacrifice of praise. Paul wrote about giving our bodies a living sacrifice as he was in prison at Rome. It wasn’t a comfortable place but he offered the sacrifice of praise.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Paul counted his life before he was saved as dung. He had no confidence in his flesh, even though he had a lot in his past that he could have boasted about. Our gains in this world are nothing compared to being saved and offering praise to God continually. Paul wasn’t feeling great in every situation, but he offered the sacrifice of praise. We have to decide that whatever it costs, we’re going to serve God. God loves when we offer the sacrifice of praise when things aren’t easy.

Philippians 3:3-8 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit…have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel…an Hebrew of the Hebrews…a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain…I counted loss for Christ. Yea…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ…do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

God won’t accept our sacrifice if we’re not clear of any known grudges, bad attitudes, bitterness or unforgiveness.

Leviticus 22:17-25 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron…unto all the children of Israel, and say… Whatsoever he be…that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and…freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering; Ye shall offer at your own will…But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable…And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace…or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer …an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord. Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts…for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut…Neither from a stranger’s hand…offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted…

When you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, you need to offer it willingly. The people had to eat all the sacrifice because leftovers would spoil. The priests ate the thighs and breasts, the others ate the rest, and they had fellowship doing this.

Leviticus 22:29-30 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will. On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the Lord.

The man that ran to Jesus was excited and wanted an answer to his question. He wanted assurance of eternal life. He was religious and obeyed the commandments but wouldn’t count the cost – to have nothing in life more important than God. He needed to sell all he had and give to the poor, but he thought the cost was too much. He wasn’t willing to part with his possessions. They were too important to him. We can’t let anything be more important than God in our life.

Mark 10:17-22…there came one running, and kneeled…asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said…Why callest thou me good? there is none good but…God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered…Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said…One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad…and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

People that put confidence in riches can’t be saved. People can have riches but must put confidence in God, not their riches.

Mark 10:23-27 And Jesus…saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth…Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

When Jesus saw the poor widow put to mites in the offering, he said it was all she had. Rich people were giving of their abundance. God wants us to offer the sacrifice of praise even when our feelings are contrary. Our feelings are controlled by our will. When we don’t feel like it, we still need to offer the sacrifice of praise.

Mark 12:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And…a certain poor widow…threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all…For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

 

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)