ISRAEL'S HISTORY: ANCIENT

Forgiveness and Blessing

Forgiveness and Blessing
By Charles E. McCracken
GROW February 5

 

TODAY’S TEXT: 1 CHRONICLES 21:18-30

So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the LORD, and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. Then the LORD spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 1 CHRONICLES 21:25-27 (NIV)

 

Fire falling from heaven? Scripture details that King David witnessed an awesome display of God’s power. (1) It was a supernatural confirmation of God’s acceptance of David’s sacrifice for yet another sin. The specified location and instructions for the sacrifice were communicated to David through the prophet Gad who proclaimed: the angel of the Lord commanded . . . go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan [Araunah] the Jebusite (1 Chr. 21:18, NKJV).

It didn’t take long for David to grasp the significance of what had happened.

Not only had his admission of guilt and plea for forgiveness been heard, the fire from heaven confirmed that this was the place God had chosen to build His temple in Jerusalem (1 Chr. 21 cf. 2 Sam. 24).

The site is still recognizable today perched on Mt. Moriah across a shallow valley north of the City of David in Jerusalem.

 

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The Sacred Rock, where the Temple Altar Stood. By OSU Special Collections & Archives: Commons [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement courtesy: MKM Portfolios

After receiving the word from the Lord, David immediately made his way up to the threshing floor and quickly communicated God’s directive to the owner who had come out to meet him.

Araunah (Ornan) generously offered the threshing floor to the king free of charge along with implements and oxen needed for the sacrifice.

David’s integrity would not allow him to offer a sacrifice to the Lord at Araunah’s expense; how could he sacrifice to the God of Israel on land that he did not own? (2)

The Bible itemizes the financial details of the sale. David paid the full market value of 600 gold shekels for the land and 50 silver shekels for the oxen and instruments—leaving absolutely no doubt that he now owned the land. (2 Sam. 24:24; 1 Chr. 21:25).

David set a precedent that has spanned three millennia into the 21st century.

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Aerial View of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem. By Godot13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolio

Immediately following the business transaction of purchasing the land from Araunah, David prepared the altar, arranged the sacrifice and the Lord, answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering (1 Chr. 21:26).

With the visual confirmation of God’s acceptance of his sacrifice and validation of the site for the future temple, David intensified his efforts to gather materials; he also began collaborating with his son, Solomon, about the plans for the temple (1 Chr. 22:5-19; 28:11-13).

It is no coincidence that almost 900 years earlier, it was to this very place God called Abraham to the ultimate test. Here on Mount Moriah, God provided a ram as a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of his son, Isaac (Gen. 22:1-13).

Before leaving, Abraham marked the significance by renaming the spot Jehovah-Jireh (The-Lord-Will-Provide). The text elaborates, as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided’ (Gen. 22:14).

Was it a coincidence that on the same mountain in the temple in Jerusalem, God would provide the place where He would officially accept substitutionary sacrifices for the nation of Israel?

The Jewish people have more than four thousand years of history related to the threshing floor of Araunah— Mount Moriah—the Temple Mount. The Bible provides historical documentation describing the purchase of the land by David—the king of Israel.

The question was settled.

Abraham prophesied the temple’s location 1,000 years before it was built; David legally purchased the land from Araunah, the Jebusite; and, God supernaturally identified the site by sending fire from heaven to consume David’s offering.

God used David’s circumstances to accomplish His purposes. With full knowledge of our propensity to sin, He offers the opportunity for forgiveness and ultimately His blessing. David’s life demonstrates that if you are willing, God will work through you! The choice is yours.

ENDNOTES:
1) A similar supernatural display occurred when the Aaronic priesthood was consecrated in the wilderness, and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar (Lev. 9:24).
2) The concept of peaceful co-existence with other people groups in Israel is not a new concept for the Jewish people. The details about the purchase of land by David from Araunah the Jebusite highlight the uniqueness of the Jewish worldview. While Jebusites were not permitted to enter the stronghold of the city of David, the fact that David purchased the threshing floor of Araunah provides strong evidence that the Jebusite people not only lived in the area, but owned property (1 Chr. 21:23-25; read the NIV translation for clarity). Here, the Bible reveals a 3,000 year old precedent that persists to the present day.

© Charles E. McCracken 2016, text content only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author.