And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22, KJV)
The scripture records above the event that led to the crumbling of the dynasty of Saul. The LORD instructed Saul through the prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites and leave nothing alive. That was his instruction from God. Saul and his army went to battle and spared the king of the Amalekites as well as the fattest cattle, contrary to what God had told him to do.
One of the reasons why Saul spared the best of the cattle was to offer burnt offerings to God. He disobeyed God’s command and wanted to appease God with an animal sacrifice. This is the background for the solemn rebuke above from Samuel to Saul. He tells Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. In verse 23, he adds that rebellion is like witchcraft before God.
This has grave applications for us today. Sacrifices today represent anything we do for God or give to Him that we think He is pleased with. Classic examples today include “working for God” or “doing God’s work” and giving or praying tithes, seeds, and offerings. God is saying the same words to us today. Obeying His Word is far more important than trying to do His work to please Him or give large sums of money to Him.
We might wonder why Saul did what he did, but we should remember that we are probably doing what Saul did today in Church more often than what he did. It is grace that is keeping us alive. Obeying and doing the Word is more important than any sacrifices we can make for God.
Have you ever continued “doing God’s work” or “ giving for His kingdom” or doing any other thing you know “God likes” while knowingly living in disobedience in some way to His Word?
APPLY THE WORD
A preacher or worship leader continuing to “minister” while having an affair with a woman in Church “to keep the work of God going” is repeating what Saul did. A sister or brother who is faithful in her giving or tithing while refusing to forgive someone is repeating what Saul did. The Lord is not interested in our sacrifices. He wants our obedience. Surrender to Him and obey His Word as your priority.
Ask the Lord to help you surrender to His Word in obedience at all times.