Have You Counted The Cost? - 2 Samuel 24:18-25

Donald R. Cooper

The title of this article is also the title of a beautiful hymn not found in very many of our hymnals today. I think that no words more meaningful have ever been written. 

“Have you counted the cost, if your soul should be lost, 

Tho’ you gain the whole world for your own? 

Even now it may be that the line you have crossed, 

Have you counted, have you counted the cost?”

Prior to the events in our text we learn that David numbered the fighting men of Israel before going into battle, provoking God. It showed a lack of faith in God, and indicated that Israel was prone to trust in their own strength as they did battle against their enemy. Consequently, God punished Israel by sending a pestilence on them for three days, which resulted in the death of 70,000 men. Then, Gad, a prophet of God, instructed David to build an altar in the threshing floor of one named Araunah the Jebusite. As David approached Araunah, he was offered the threshing floor free of cost, but David rejected the offer. He chose to buy it and the oxen.

“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” 2 Samuel 24:24.

Several lessons might be learned from this incident. This is obviously one of those lessons we can learn from that which was written aforetime. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4.

First, one cannot follow the Lord without cost. After all, it cost Christ His life (Phillipians 2:5-8). We, too, must be willing to pay the cost of serving Him. We cannot be His disciples unless we are willing to forsake all that we have and follow Him (Luke 14:26-33). 

Christ paid the price for our redemption, and we must be willing to forsake sin and be obedient unto Him. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38. 

Christians must be willing to give their lives for the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5). Our very bodies belong to the Lord and must be used to glorify Him. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. 

Yes, it will cost one to serve Jesus, but it is well worth the price. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” 22:14.

Are you willing to pay the price to follow Jesus? Think of what it will cost if you do not choose to serve Him. Think long and hard about the words of that hymn, “Have you counted the cost, if your soul should be lost?” 

Life is short. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14.

Death is certain. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.

Eternity is forever. -95 Lynn Drive, Mansfield, OH 44906.

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