Study 7 THE STATEMENT OF FAITH - DAVID
MORE STUDIES IN HEBREWS 11
by Francis Dixon
Scripture References: Hebrews 11:32; 2 Samuel 24:10-25
There are many passages of scripture in which we have evidence of David’s great faith in God. The one we have chosen is 2 Samuel 24:10-25, and in verse 24 we find David’s great statement of faith: ”I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” These statements of faith are often made when people are ”in deep distress” (verse 14). Notice the people who made statements of faith when they were hard pressed - Hannah (1 Samuel 1:27-28); the psalmist (Psalm 55:15-16); Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:24); Jonah (Jonah 2:2-9); Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:17-19). If we are really trusting God there will be many times in our experience when we shall be led to make such heart-felt declarations of our faith in Him and of our intention to take some action which will be for His glory. Turn now to 2 Samuel 24:10-25 and notice some of these times.
1. When should a statement of faith be made?
- When we are conscious of sin and have repented of it. From verse 10 we learn that David’s sin had been the sin of numbering the people. Why was this sinful? It was a sin because evidently it was an indication of his pride. David was glorying in numbers, and this is always grievous to the Lord - look up Psalm 33:16-22. Pride has been the downfall of many a servant of God. When God revealed this sin David was quick to acknowledge his wrong and to seek God’s forgiveness (Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11).
- When God asks us for this statement. In the case of David the Lord spoke to him through Gad, who is described as “David’s seer” - see verses 11-13 and compare 1 Samuel 9:9. So the word of the Lord came to David through one of God’s servants. His word often comes to us in the same way, through the preacher, through a loved one, through a friend, or sometimes through an enemy. God speaks to us and then waits for us to make a statement of faith.
- When we have acted out of a wrong motive. From verses 11-13 we learn that the Lord forgave David, but He had to humble him, and what a choice David had to make! David was determined not to do the wrong thing again and thus displease the Lord, and so he said – verse 14! Here David’s faith shone out brightly - look up and compare 1 Samuel 3:18. What David really said was, ‘Let God make the choice, in case I do the wrong thing!’ So, his trust was completely in the Lord, in His sovereignty and in His overruling purposes; and God did make the choice - see verse 15. How often we act out of a wrong motive! We need to search our hearts to make sure that our motives for the words we speak and for our actions are pure before God - look up Acts 24:16.
2. How should a statement of faith be made?
- A statement should be made in God’s way. What was God’s way for David? From verses 21-22 we learn that all that David was doing and contemplating for the Lord was on the basis of a sacrifice; and whether we come to God to worship Him or to serve Him, there is only one way of approach, and that way is by the offering that has been made by our great Sacrifice (Hebrews 10:19-22). Any promise that we make, any declaration of desire and intention to serve the Lord or to give our all to the Lord, is only acceptable on the grounds of Calvary.
- A statement should be made in a personal way. We learn this from verses 23-24. Araunah would have given the threshing-floor and the oxen to David for David to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, but this was not good enough. David must buy them, at a cost, so that he could give sacrificially to the Lord. No-one else could do this for him. It is our offering that the Lord wants, not what someone else gives for us; it is our voluntary act of sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord.
- A statement should be made in a sacrificial way. For David, as verse 24 tells us, it had to be a costly offering. We are not to give because we are under law or because it is a matter of commandment; but we are to give because of love for the Lord Jesus who gave His all for us. Do we give to the Lord in a costly way, or do we only give what costs us nothing? For example: take the question of the giving of money to the Lord and to His work. Is it not true that many of God’s people pay all their bills, buy their necessities and enjoy their luxuries, and then, if there is anything left over, they give something to the Lord? There is no sacrifice in this kind of giving. The Lord would have us give in a sacrificial way, and any promise that we make to Him must be characterised by sacrifice.
3. Who should make a statement of faith?
The answer to this question is - the believer, the Christian, the child of God, the servant of God; and how much we have to offer Him! There is a sense in which the unbeliever has nothing acceptable to offer to Him - look up and see what Proverbs 15:8 tells us! Before an unbeliever can offer anything to the Lord he must receive salvation from the Lord - look up Psalm 116:12-14; then, having taken the gift of salvation, as a believer he has much to offer to the Lord Jesus; and in each offering that he makes, a statement of faith is also made in the presentation of the offering. What does this involve for the Christian? It involves:-
- The sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17; Jeremiah 33:11; Jonah 2:9 and Hebrews 13:15).
- The sacrifice of obedience (1 Samuel 15:22).
- The sacrifice of our bodies (Romans 12:1 and 2 Corinthians 8:5).
- The sacrifice of time and talents (Ephesians 5:16).
- The sacrifice of possessions (Mark 10:21-22 and Acts 4:34-37).
- The sacrifice of friendships (1 Corinthians 7:39 and 2 Corinthians 6:17).
- The sacrifice of loved ones (1 Samuel 1:11 and Mark 10:29-30).
These are costly offerings to bring before the Lord, but is He not worthy of the very best? What offering is He calling you to make, what promise? Go through the list above again. Does He ask you to make the promise of faith suggested by: (1)… (2)… (3)… (4)… (5)… (6)… or (7)… (above)? In concluding this study please ponder the great testimony of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:4-14.