1 Chronicles 21:22-24—Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshing-floor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.
Because of David’s sin in numbering the people, he had chosen between three possible curses. He chose three days of the plague. When the angel stood over Jerusalem with his sword drawn, David knew he must act. 70,000 had already died. He interceded for the people and asked that the curse falls on him and his family since he had committed the sin. The LORD told David, through the prophet Gad, to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This was the same place that Abraham had offered Isaac. It is the same ridge upon which the Lamb of God would be offered for the sins of the world. It is where the chaff is blown away, and what is of value remains. For Abraham, the hope in his son was “blown away” and trust in God remained. For Jesus, the sins of the world were blown away by his blood and redeemed children of God remained. For David, the guilt was about to be blown away, and a forgiven man would remain. David wanted to purchase the ground upon which to build the altar and later the Temple. Araunah offered to give it to him. You might say he was generous, but remember that he is standing in the shadow of an angel with a sword. David insisted on paying full price. Though Jesus paid our sin debt, it was not as if it was inexpensive. He paid the full price in our place. Offerings cost. It cost God the greatest price that could be paid. When we give to God our own hearts, we too should be willing to pay with lives of service.