Obedience vs Sacrifice
1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV) -- And Samuel said, “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 listen than the fat of rams.”
Many have in their minds ideas about what pleases God. Some people invent their own creeds and principles about this discussion to guide them. It is not uncommon to hear people make promises to God or even dedicate things they do to God. In this way, they suppose they are honoring and pleasing Him. And depending on what it is they are doing, they may indeed be pleasing God with their actions.
However, our passage today lays down a clear hierarchy in what pleases God. We read in 1 Samuel 15:22, “And Samuel said, ‘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 listen than the fat of rams.’”
The context of this passage is in the time of King Saul and the prophet Samuel. Saul offered a sacrifice to the LORD out of turn and order. He took it upon himself to conduct the sacrifice instead of waiting on Samuel. This was not his place. He imagined the sacrifice made would please the LORD more than God’s own law and order for such things being kept. He was wrong. Samuel arrived and chastised Saul for this foolishness and taught him this lesson. Obedience is better than sacrifice. God took delight in the burnt offerings, but not above His delight in individuals keeping His commands.
We must take this lesson to heart. God desires our obedience to Him above anything we can do for Him. He doesn’t want our sacrifices. He wants our hearts. God demands our obedience. This is weighted far above any sacrifice we could offer. Take inventory of your life today.
Are you living in obedience to God’s laws in all aspects of your life? Are you submitting to His Word and letting it serve as the authority over your actions?
This alone pleases God
above everything else.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why did Saul think it was okay to offer a sacrifice when it wasn’t his place?
- What does this passage teach us about the character of God and His expectations?
- How does this passage challenge your heart today? Are there areas of needed repentance?
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