“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22
Here, Samuel is speaking to Saul who has just returned from a mission to destroy all the Amalekites. God called Saul to destroy all the sinners and everything within the land. Saul, however, brought back the choice sheep and lambs to use as an offering unto God. In reading the passage, we see that Saul is sacrificing to God with a heart of disobedience. Saul is almost blind to this fact, yet it is fundamental to him losing his place on the throne. After God reveals his remorse to Samuel about Saul being King and as Samuel approaches Saul after this revelation, Saul greeted Samuel cheerfully saying “I have carried out the Lord’s command!’ Not only is he blind to the fact that he has disobeyed the Lord, he is deceived. God called Saul to annihilate the Amalekites and everything they owned. Saul takes it upon himself to keep the choice fat of the sheeps and lambs to use as an offering unto God. Now. God was so pained by this act of disobedience. Why we ask? Didn’t God create the idea of offerings and delight in them? Saul misunderstood the meaning behind sacrifice, even to the point he was using it as a memoir of the great exploits he had undertaken. Our sacrifice to God is a sign of reverence to his position of power in our lives. Everything we have is His.
Can we become so comfortable with our systematic sacrificing that we lose the desire and urgency of obedience unto God? In this day in age, we can choose what we sacrifice to God, how we sacrifice it and how often. Let’s not go too far here, sacrifice IS a sign of honour and is part of what we are called to do. As Christians, however to OBEY is to give over the right to call the cards, the temptation to pick the parts we like. God may and most probably will call you to obey in an area you are probably unwilling to sacrifice. This is where obedience takes the greater importance over sacrifice. We sacrifice in an act of obedience. What is sacred to the sacrifice is not the sacrifice in itself but the act of obedience. Therefore if God is calling us to obey in an area in which we are fearful and we choose to sacrifice something else in its place, however honourable or wonderful the sacrifice is, we are still acting in disobedience.
When we worship or approach the altar, are we giving what is in our hands with disobedient hearts? It seems strong and even harsh but obedience to God is huge. You see, Saul DID set out to do the job. He was called to kill the Amalekites and he did. He just didn’t finish well. His obedience failed to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. Thanks be to God, we are living under his grace. He knows we will stuff up and that we will. God is looking for hearts that are totally devoted to Him, hearts that desire his glory above all, and will give it all up to obey him so that His will may be done on Earth. It will cost. However, the cost of obedience is an honourable sacrifice to make.
~Pastor Pat & Betty’s
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