Obedience is better than sacrifice

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Remember Saul, we talked about him a few weeks ago. You can read it here. He was anointed as the first king of Israel, today we are going to talk about when God rejected him as king.  So lets take a journey back into the Old Testament.

We are going to head to 1 Samuel 15, and I am going to do a paraphrase here. God tells Saul to destroy an entire people because of what they had done, not just the people but everything they had including all of the animals. Sounds pretty direct right? Well…. Saul did not listen well and he spared the king and all of the best sheep, oxen, failings, lambs and all that was good. They destroyed all that was despised and worthless. Does this sound like a recipe for trouble? Yes!! When God is specific in what He tells you to do and you think but this way seems better, not usually going to work the way you hope.  So Samuel, you might know who I am talking about hears from the Lord about Saul’s disobedience and goes to Saul. Saul tries to explain that they kept the best of the sheep and animals to sacrifice to the Lord and tries to justify keeping Agag the king alive.

22 But Samuel replied,

“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
    your burnt offerings and sacrifices
    or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
    and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

1 Samuel 15:22

Just like that Samuel tells him that the Lord has torn the kingdom from him and given it to one who is better than him. The Lord had rejected Saul as king. Samuel then killed King Agag himself and never went to see Saul again.

Sometimes we in our infinite wisdom think that even though God tells us to do one thing, we know better and our way is going to work out better. We think but God if we do this than we can have more money to give you. If I take this higher paying job I can give a higher tithe. However, if God has not called you to leave where you are at, if you are in a place that God has ordained for you to be then leaving for  a higher paying job is not a good thing. We learn from Samuel a key concept, obedience is better than sacrifice. How often do we want to do things our way because it makes more sense and we will sacrifice for the Lord but we have a very difficult time being obedient to the Lord?

I think back to how God orchestrated such amazing timing and such clear directives when he anointed Saul, how he clearly told him what he wanted him to do and yet he still did not listen. I think to myself, man if God talked to me as clearly as He did Saul I would definitely have listened and obeyed. Then I think about the times the Lord has worked in my life and miracles happened and I still was disobedient. I think to myself, maybe there is a bit of Saul in all of us. Now we have Jesus who gives us forgiveness of our sins, when we go to God and ask for forgiveness from our disobedience. Are there areas of your life where you have not been obedient and need to change your actions?

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1 comments on “Obedience is better than sacrifice”

  1. Great teaching and food for thought. Where am I trying to do God “one better”, and rationalizing my disobedience by calling it sacrifice?

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