Obedience better than sacrifice
Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 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 15:19-23
Have you come to think that so much of what you know of God and how much you have grown in your relationship with Him are dependent upon on how well you trust Him and His word? There are times that it is difficult to trust Him at His word because we want some guarantees. We argue with Him about submission and surrender that these attitudes keep us from trusting His promises and His word. So we rationalize why we do not obey Him completely. From the text Saul was commanded to remove everything in their path as they move in to the territory of the Amalekites. Instead he captured the enemy and went away taking with him the plunders from war. This was a blatant disobedience from God’s command. He did not follow God’s instructions and went ahead with his selfish plan. He tried to justify his actions by convincing Samuel that he did not do anything wrong. In fact, in his justification, he explained that the plunder will be offered to God as his sacrifice. Yet, God will not be tricked. He requires complete obedience and not to doubt His commands. And because Saul disobeyed God it resulted in Him withdrawing His blessings to His leadership. The reason why we are willing to obey God and follow His will is that we trust His word. We believe that God will keep His promises. God provided us stories of people in the Old Testament to warn us that God expects obedience from us. “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (1 Corinthians 10:11). We were given examples of how we should hold on to the promises of God not only when we are sure about what He is asking us to do but even to those that we find difficult to follow. All He wants from us is not to waver in our allegiance for He is true to His word and that He will keep His promises. “We do not want any of you to grow slack, but to follow the example of those who through sheer patient faith came to possess the promises (Hebrews 6:12, Phillips translation). God always look at the motive of our hearts and our obedience to Him should be an expression of a life of submission.
Noel De Guzman