Troublesome Topic: A sacrifice Must Cost You Something

Lesson 3 of 21

The sacrifices of the Former Covenant did not need to be perfect, but they needed to be “without defect” (Lev 22:17-25). They could not bring to the Lord a sacrifice they would not be able to sell at the market, or something unwanted for reasons of breeding. God would not allow them to keep their good lambs or goats and give Him the blind, lame or sick. It does not say they were required to sacrifice their best, but the sacrifice had to cost them something.

David understood this well. One time he went to make a sacrifice at a place which happened to be on the farm of a man named Ornan (also called Araunah in II Samuel). The farmer offered to give David the land and the animals and the wood for the sacrifice free of charge. Here is King David’s response:

1 Chronicles 21:24


Then King DAVID said to ORNAN, “No! but I will definitely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for YHVH, nor offer a burnt offering that costs me nothing”


Then the KING WHO WAS LOVED said to the one who is STRONG AS A FIR TREE, “No! but I will definitely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours and give it to THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD as if it were mine, nor will I offer an offering that is intended to show my dedication and gratitude, if in reality, it costs me nothing”

David understood that sacrifices must cost us something in order to be genuine.

Here is a related principle: God did not demand what they could not afford. He did not demand great riches, or feats of strength. He required things that were common in that society. Everyone had sheep and goats or could acquire sheep or goats. God asked for something ordinary, but something that cost them something. For them, sheep and goats were their very livelihood; their survival was tied to those sheep or goats. So giving up a sheep or a goat was not easy, but it was within reach.

The pattern continues: God paid the highest price He could afford, yet one that was commensurate with the offense. For Him to give His Son as the sacrifice for our sins tells us that the offense was great; it tells us how much He was willing to pay; and it shows us how much we are worth to Him. Wow!


We no longer have to offer sacrifices of sheep or bulls or goats, so what do we need to offer God? The principle is the same for us: don’t offer a sacrifice that costs you nothing. Far too many people who call themselves Christians give God a little bit of time and a little bit of money; others claim that same title but cannot bring themselves to give God even a little bit of time or a little bit of money. Many people give God what is easy; they live in partial obedience and think that will be enough. In reality what God wants from us is our entire life (Rom 12:1).

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He wants to be our Lord, our master, our everything. One of the ways we can show that He is indeed the Lord of our life is to be obedient in offering specific aspects of our lives that do cost us something. Make it hurt! As they say in sports, “No pain, no gain.” If we say He is our Lord and we give Him our leftover time, our leftover money, and our leftover energy, He is not truly our Lord. We all know that usually there is no time, money or energy left over; the only conclusion is that we are serving ourselves.

There is a healthy tension between two very important Biblical truths. The tension is this: Salvation does not cost us anything, but following God costs us everything. What is your relationship with God costing you?

The next lesson in all three series on Covenants is The Sacrificial System Taught Holiness and Gratitude.


1: Rom 12:1

Therefore, I come along side you to call you, brothers, based on the compassionate mercy of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice which and well-pleasing to God; doing this is a logical way for you to worship.