After three days of reports coming in of people dying all across Israel David needed some fresh air. He stepped outside in his sackcloth. The elders followed him into the city streets.
They saw a man and his four sons threshing wheat a block away. “It’s good to see someone realizes life still goes on.”
Suddenly the four boys ran for cover. The man continued to work while the wind was strong enough to help him winnow the grain.
David couldn’t believe his eyes. An angel holding a sword was hovering over the scene.
David ran to the angel and fell to his knees. “What have these sheep done to deserve this judgement? I’m the one who should be punished, not them. Exact your revenge on me and my family.”
David looked at the angel who was looking intently at someone else. David turned and saw Gad staring back at the angel.
Gad nodded and looked at David. “You are to build an altar here on this threshing floor.”
David turned to Ornan, the man who was threshing wheat. “I need to buy this place from you. I’ll pay you the full price.”
Ornan bowed to the king. “My king may have whatever I own for his pleasure. I give you my oxen for the sacrifice, the yoke for wood and my wheat for the grain offering. I gladly give it all to you.”
David shook his head. “No, I cannot accept it as a gift. This needs to come from me alone. I will not offer anything to God that costs me nothing. I will pay you full market value.”
David turned to an aide. “Run and bring me my money bag. Hurry!”
When the man returned David counted out more than enough money for Ornan and his family to begin over elsewhere.
They cleared the floor and piled the wood in the middle of it. David slit the throats of the oxen and they laid them on the wood. Somebody went to get some fire to complete the task.
David dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness for his sins. Fire fell from the sky and consumed the sacrifice before them.
Through the flames David saw the angel return his sword to its sheath, then disappear.
David watched the last of the ash blow away on the breeze. The blackened floor cooled. He turned and surveyed the land he’d just purchased.
The men with him gasped as they heard the king say, “this will be the Holy of Holies, this very spot.”
Now you see how God used the sinful pride of a powerful king to pinpoint the place where the Temple would be built.
Ten months prior to this David got the urge to have a census taken so he’d know how strong an army he had at his command. A couple of decades before that David felt a yearning to build God a house so His dwelling wouldn’t continue to be a tent.
David had the plans drawn and would order the materials for the Temple to be gathered so his son, Solomon, could construct the massive structure. The last piece of the puzzle to fit into place was the spot for God’s house.
This isn’t the first time a reader of the Bible has visited this place. There are a lot of similarities between these two instances.
Both times had an altar built to sacrifice an offering to God.
Both times had a weapon of death poised to destroy life.
Both times had God command that the death be stopped.
Both times had the sacrificial animal nearby to be slain.
At the first instance of this place being mentioned in the Bible there was no city here. The census of the nation of Israel was exactly two men. That’s right, Abraham and Isaac.
Mount Moriah in Genesis 22 would become the city of Jerusalem and the place of God’s Temple.
The angel Gabriel would come to this spot on the planet to tell the priest, Zacharias, that he would father the fore-runner of the Messiah. So, you see, God had these coordinates in His sites from the beginning of creation.
He has you in His sites, too. No, He isn’t intent on shooting you dead. He turned the tables and died for you so you could avoid eternal separation from Him. The son that Zacharias fathered was John, the baptizer who prepared people for the Messiah.
That promised Messiah was Jesus Christ. His life was given as the ultimate sacrifice for you so you’d be spared from an eternity in Hell.
The extent of God’s love is so deep He knew you’d never be able to pay that cost on your own efforts, so, He stepped down to us and made the sacrifice required to restore your relationship with Him. That’s right, God isn’t interested in you being involved in a religion of rules to come to Him. He wants a deep relationship with you.
Although this sacrifice is offered to you as a gift it will cost you something once you take it. You’ll have to give up your old lifestyle of sin. Some of your friends may have to go, too. Your new life will entail you becoming more like Jesus each day.
Hebrews chapter 12 explains this the best. It talks about throwing off things that hinder and sins that entangle us. It’s like runners at a track meet who remove their sweats right before their race so their arms and legs are free to move as they need them to. Peak performance demands this sacrifice from them.
Hebrews 12 goes on to explain how God disciplines His children to conform them into His likeness.
Your life may get more difficult in the days ahead. Don’t be discouraged by that. Think of it as God including you in His family.
Trust Him to know what’s best for you. All things will work out for your good and His glory.
One day He’ll welcome you home.
I’ll see you later. Wade