April 26, 2009

The Sacrifice of A King

Preacher: Randy Smith Series: Growing in Grace-Building Project Scripture: 1 Chronicles 29:1–19


The Sacrifice of A King

I Chronicles 29:1-19
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Pastor Randy Smith

God's hand was heavy upon His people. The plague had already consumed thousands of lives. So after the repentant King David approached God, the prophet of God gave him the following instructions: "Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite" (2 Sam. 24:18). David did just as the Lord commanded. He explained his need to Araunah and offered to buy his threshing floor. Araunah replied: "Let my lord the king take and offer up what is good in his sight. Look, the oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king." (2 Sam. 24:22-23). It's a free gift! However, to the surprise of Araunah, David said, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing" (2 Sam. 24:24).

Sacrifice. God expects sacrifice. Like David, are the gifts we are offering to the Lord costing us something?

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to teach all the Jersey Shore pastors from the book of Malachi. The prophet Malachi wrote just after the time of Ezra. The people were back in the Promised Land and had settled for a life of ease. His four-chapter prophecy is one gigantic rebuke. For the people had completely misunderstood what the Lord had meant by sacrifice.

Instead of offering the best of their flocks for sacrifice, God said through Malachi, "You bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick… Is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you?" (Mal. 1:13, 8). Furthermore, their financial offerings were no longer a sacrifice but rather a comfortable donation. "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me [says the Lord]! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' [God's answer:] 'In tithes and offerings.'" The Jews settled for the cheap way out. God received nothing but their leftovers. They stopped making true sacrifices.

The word "sacrifice," used almost 200 times in the Bible, is an interesting one. In the Old Testament it primarily focuses upon the animal and grain sacrifices the Israelites were to offer to God. The sacrifice was entirely consumed and was a central part of their worship. All these sacrifices pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, we in the New Covenant no longer make these sacrifices because Jesus Christ "gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma" (Eph. 5:2). Hebrews 9:26, "But now once at the consummation of the ages [Jesus] has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (cf. Heb. 10:12). Since Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice we are called to make is a life wholly consecrated to God. As Paul said in Romans 12: "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Rom. 12:1; cf. Phil. 2:17; 4:18; Heb. 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:5).

God is looking for our hearts. He is self-sufficient and doesn't need anything from us. Yet we are still called to give back to Him because what we give to Him is the greatest reflection of our hearts. Our offerings to Him truly reveal how important He is to us.

We must be careful that we do not confuse the "sacrifice" with the "amount." We are all well aware of the poor widow who Jesus said put into the collection box "two small copper coins, which amount to a cent" (Mk. 12:42). And while the others were putting in large sums of money (Mk. 12:41) Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on" (Mk. 12:43).

The amounts we give are based upon our ability as the Lord has blessed us (1 Chron. 29:2; Ez. 2:69; 2 Cor. 8:3). Throughout the Bible all of God's building projects resulted in God receiving different amounts from different people. But while our offerings may differ, we are all able to make equal sacrifice. And as we experienced with the widow, the sacrifice, not the amount, is what means the most to our Lord.

So from the sacrifice of a poor widow, this morning I take you to the sacrifice of a wealthy king. From the building of the tabernacle last week, I take you to the building of Israel's first temple this week. Another classic building project is before us from the Word of God. Let's examine it and glean five principles that are applicable to us for giving to our building project today.


The first principle: Giving is to God. Above all we must remember that all we give in the church is money not given to people but money given God.

That thought should bless us in two ways. First, since our money is given to the Lord, He will reward us as He promises us in His Word. He will reward us in the present. Malachi 3:10, "'Test Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.'" And He will reward us in the future. Matthew 6:20, "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven." Second, giving to God gives us the greatest satisfaction knowing that our money is going to eternal purposes. When we give to the Lord, our offerings are used to change lives and extend His kingdom. There is no greater investment.

King David understood this principle very well. It was his ambition to build a house for the Lord. He considered his "house of cedar" and felt uncomfortable that the Lord was dwelling within "tent curtains" (the tabernacle that we spoke about last week) (2 Sam. 7:2). But God said to David, "You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood" (1 Chron. 28:3). Then God said, "Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts" (1 Chron. 28:6).

David was near his death (1 Chron. 29:22b-30). Yet before he died participating in this project was something that brought him great excitement even though he was denied as the builder and would not even personally see the new temple himself. Yet since this was God's work, he still wanted to be part of the project. He knew this was something that would outlive his existence. He knew this was something that would greatly benefit future generations. He knew this was the right thing to do. His heart for God gave him pleasure in this project. And his pleasure in this project motivated his desire to participate, to sacrifice. In verse 3 he said, "Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple."

David was motivated to give because his giving was to the Lord. As he said at the end of verse 1, "For the temple is not for man, but for the LORD God." Verse 9 says the people did not give to man but "made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart." In verse 16 David prayed, "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name."

So as we give here at the church may we remember that our giving is not to people but to God. And may the thought of the Lord using our money motivate us and encourage us and fulfill us knowing that there is no greater investment than placing our resources in His hands.


Number two: Giving is to be with all our ability.

Understanding that all his giving was going to the Lord's work motivated David to give with all his ability. It is only natural that the more we get behind a cause, the more we will give sacrificially. And when we rightly understand that giving to the Lord's work is the greatest cause which should bring us the greatest excitement, our offerings will be with all our ability. Or like that church spoken of in 2 Corinthians 8 that gave "beyond their ability" (2 Cor. 8:3). We will always put our money where our heart is.

In verse 2 David said, "Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God." Since David had much you can expect he gave much. As the verse continues, David gave "the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, onyx stones and inlaid stones, stones of antimony and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones and alabaster in abundance."

David gave his required offerings then in verse 3 he said, "Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple." In verse 4 he specifics the amount: "Namely, 3,000 talents of gold [that's about 110 tons of gold], of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver [that's about 260 tons of silver], to overlay the walls of the buildings." Just the generous gifts that David gave over and above his previous offering are estimated today in the billions of dollars. The widow gave a cent. David gave billions. The full spectrum of different amounts, but both pleasing to the Lord because there was equal sacrifice.

But let's pause to observe an interesting principle. Does it shock us that David told the people exactly what he gave? Aren't we supposed to give in silence? Did David lose his reward or do his comments contradict the words of our Lord (Mt. 6:2-4)? Let's remember, Jesus also told us to pray in secret (Mt. 6:5-6). Does that mean C.H. Spurgeon was wrong when he called the public Prayer Meeting the "powerhouse of the church"?

Our Lord is concerned with boasting about our spiritual efforts whereby we intend to draw attention to ourselves (Mt. 6:1). We talk about our evangelism. We talk about how we love our families. We talk about our ministry at the church. We talk about memorizing Scripture. And we do this to boast in the Lord and encourage others. Why don't we talk about how we spend our money? It's because we are looking for a scapegoat. It's because we have wrongly interpreted our Lord's Word from Matthew 6, the chapter after when He said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 5:16). Is anybody glorifying God because of your giving?

Randy Alcorn in his excellent book, The Treasure Principle, said, "It's increasingly common for Christians to ask one another the tough questions: How is your marriage? Have you been spending time in the Word? How are you doing in terms of sexual purity? Have you been sharing your faith? But how often do we ask, 'How much are you giving to the Lord?' or 'Have you been robbing God?' or 'Are you winning the battle against materialism?'" (p. 81).

David gave with all his ability, and he wasn't ashamed to tell others what he was doing. Was it to draw attention to himself? I don't think so. It was to set the example (David truly did put his money where his mouth was) and encouraged others in the land to give as sacrificially.

That ties into our third point…


After declaring how God moved his heart to contribute, David encouraged and challenged the people to give willingly themselves. In 1 Chronicles 29:5 he said, "Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?"

How did the people respond? We see it was an invitation they gladly accepted. The people gave according to their ability with great willingness.

Beginning in verse 6, "Then the rulers of the fathers' households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king's work, offered willingly; and for the service for the house of God they gave 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, and 10,000 talents of silver, and 18,000 talents of brass, and 100,000 talents of iron. Whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly" (1 Chron. 29:6-9).

David sums it up in his prayer in verse 17: "Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You."

The general principle is when people give willingly; it encourages others to give as well.


And while the people gave willingly and sacrificially, it all resulted not in grief (as many assume), but rather joy - our fourth point. Here is the great paradox of giving. We may be tempted to believe Satan's lie that the more we give the sadder we will become. God speaks to the contrary. In Acts 20:35 He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Why is that? Because God will always reward us in a greater way. Because we are storing up treasures in heaven that we will enjoy for a longer time than this earthly existence. Because we remind ourselves that all our money belongs to God anyway. Because we confirm that money is not our true god. Because greed is a sin and it is a joy to live righteously. Because helping others, especially in an eternal way, brings us the greatest satisfaction. And because God is the greatest Giver. He created us in His image with a need to give. And when we give we feel His pleasure.

During times of self-examination I often ask myself, have I fallen for a lie or do I really believe our Lord's words that it is more blessed to give than to receive? It is not my words but my checkbook that answers that question.

I have already mentioned to you at the banquet what Julie and I are prepared to give to the building fund in two weeks. It took us about half our 8 years here to raise that money - money we put aside for a future home. I'm tempted to hold back, but I am always overwhelmed by a present joy that compels me and a future joy that awaits me.

It was joy that motivated David's heart to give as well. Listen to what he said in verse 3: "Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple." The joy spread to the people. Verse 9, "Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly." And in his prayer the joy of the people brought David more joy. Verse 17, "Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You."

Jesus said in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Does this explain why the most joyful people I know are often those who are most liberal in their giving to the Lord? Regardless of what lies we have been led to believe, we cannot deny the testimony and promise in Scripture, that promise of joy to generous givers.


Lastly, point number 5, our giving is a work of God.

Last week we studied the construction of the Tabernacle in the book of Exodus. We learned that Moses presented the need to the people. We learned that God worked upon the people's hearts. And we learned that the financial need was met to such an extent that the people needed to be restrained from bringing any more (Ex. 36:6).

By nature, we are not givers. By nature we are stingy with our money, oftentimes selfish with our money. We commonly believe that all we have belongs to us and we can spend it any way we prefer.

Last week I told you that one of the most fundamental guides for spending our money is to realize that none of it is our money. We are not owners but stewards. We therefore do not have rights, but responsibilities. All that we have comes from God (1 Cor. 4:7; Jas. 1:17). All that we have belongs to God (Psm. 24:1), and we are accountable as to how we spend every penny of it.

Once again we see this principle brought out in Scripture. David knew God is the ultimate owner of everything he gave. In verse 11 he prayed: "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all." Verse 12, "Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone."

David also knew that God must not only provide the resources to give but also must move hearts to give it back so generously. Verse 14, "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You." And as God moves hearts for us to give His resources, we end where we began - that all we give is ultimately given to Him. Verse 16, "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours."

So this morning, based upon the Word of God, we learned that giving is to God. Giving is to be with all our ability. Giving is to encourage others. Giving is joyful. And giving is a work of God.

Regarding their project, David said in verse 1 that "the work is great." Yet when God moved hearts, the people gave sacrificially. And when the people gave sacrificially, the necessary resources arrived. And when the necessary resources arrived, it resulted in joy (1 Chron. 29:9), encouragement (1 Chron. 29:17) and praise (1 Chron. 29:10).

The Pony Express was a private express company that carried mail by an organized relay of horseback ride from Missouri to California. If weather and horses held out and unfriendly forces held off, a letter would make the entire two-thousand-mile journey in ten days.

Being a rider for the Pony Express was a tough job. Seventy-five to one hundred miles a day, changing horses every fifteen or twenty-five miles, limited food and medical rations, often short sleeves in the fierce winter weather.

How would they recruit volunteers for this hazardous job? An 1860 San Francisco newspaper printed the following add: "Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk [death] daily. Orphans preferred" (Adapted from: Don Whitney, Disciplines for the Christian Life, p. 109-110).

Those were the honest facts, but the Pony Express never had a shortage of riders. Why? It is the same reason that motivated David to give his fortune in the latter years of his life. There is a thrill to break out of the ordinary day-to-day living. There is a thrill to be part of something larger than what most people experience. There is a special joy when you sacrifice, especially knowing that your sacrifice is to serve the living God.

other sermons in this series

May 3


Grace In Giving vs. Giving To Grace

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:1– 9:15 Series: Growing in Grace-Building Project

Apr 19


When God Moves Hearts

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Exodus 36:3–7 Series: Growing in Grace-Building Project