© 2006 by Jerry L. Croasmun
Read -- 2 Samuel 24:16-25 and 1 Chronicles 21:15-22:1
"Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. He began building on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign."
-- 2 Chronicles 3:1-2 (NIV)
Having lived in Utah for over thirty years I have watched with envy and with some amusement on numerous occasions when the state's predominant religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, announce they have selected and purchased a site upon which to build a new temple. Surrounding property values usually increase after the announcement and many scurry to get in on the real estate action. In 2 Samuel 24:16-25 and 1 Chronicles 21:15-22:1 we read about Araunah the Jebusite who was approached one day by King David regarding a real estate deal also.
King David sought to purchase Araunah's threshing floor as we read in 2 Samuel 24:21, "Araunah said, 'Why has my lord the king come to his servant?' 'To buy your threshing floor,' David answered, 'so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped.'" And in 1 Chronicles 21:22 we read, "David said to him [Araunah also known as Ornan in some translations], 'Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.'"
David did not wake up one morning and just decide that as king he wanted more property, but rather was instructed by the Prophet Gad to go to Araunah the Jebusite and buy his threshing floor. In 2 Samuel 24:18-19 we read, "On that day Gad went to David and said to him, 'Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.' So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad." This land purchase deal was ordered and ordained by God. As we read in 1 Chronicles 21:15, "And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the LORD saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, 'Enough! Withdraw your hand.' The angel of the LORD was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."
Araunah tried to give the threshing floor land to King David. I am unsure as to what his motives were. Afterall, he had just seen the hand of the angel of death and possibly had a touch of fear or maybe he was positive that this was God's plan and he was in full agreement with King David building an altar. We may never know; however, we do know irregardless of the reasons why, Araunah was very willing to sell his threshing floor to the king. In 1 Chronicles 21:23 we read, "Araunah said to David, "Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this."
King David refused Araunah's offer to give him the threshing floor. David knew his actions had caused destruction and the presence of the death angel and he knew the threshing floor had to be purchased. Because of David's actions, according to 2 Samuel 24:15 and 1 Chronicles 21:14, there were 70,000 men of Israel who had lost their lives. No, David could not accept the threshing floor as a gift from Araunah. Now I know many people probably feel as I do that no matter the purchase price it was nothing to David who, as king, had everything he needed. Yet, in 2 Samuel 24:24 we read, "But the king replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.'" And also in 1 Chronicles 21:24 we read, "But King David replied to Araunah, 'No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.'"
"I will not sacrifice that which costs me nothing," is a good lesson for even us to learn today. David knew that a true sacrifice had to cost him something. Many sacrifices have taken place on the land known as the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite since King David purchased it and first built an altar unto the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 3:1-2 we read, "Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. He began building on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign." The land upon which the threshing floor of Araunah once stood is one of the most controversial pieces of real estate in existence today. Many groups still desire control and claim ownership of the land. Yes, what was once the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite is now part of the temple mount in Jerusalem, Israel.
The only other place in the Bible where Mount Moriah is mentioned is found in Genesis 22:2 where we read of another sacrifice one which took place long before King David was born. "Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'" Wow, God is good. May He continue to open our eyes and hearts to His eternal truths found in His holy word.
In Romans 12:1 we read, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." We are called to offer ourselves unto the Lord. Araunah had to sell or give up his threshing floor so that the king could build an altar unto the Lord. Abraham, in Genesis 22:12, had to be willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac to prove his love and fear of God. We too must give up our lives so that Christ might live through us.
A threshing floor according to the dictionary.com website is, "a floor or area on which grain is beaten out." I believe, God is calling us today back to the threshing floor; a place of separation. May we prepare our hearts for the day as we read in Matthew 25:31-32, "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." And in Luke 3:17 we read, "His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
I pray that you have been blessed by reading this devotional article and also pray that God will lead us into areas of greater intimacy with Him as we study His holy word. Amen.