Obedience Trumps Old Testament Sacrifices
1 Samuel 15:22, "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 at of rams."
Most of us are familiar with the story. God tells Saul to destroy the Amalekites, every person, every possession, nothing is to be spared. Saul rationalizes the command, is influenced by others (vs. 24) and spares the king Agag, and the best of the animals. Saul is confronted by Samuel and claims to have obeyed the LORD (vs. 13), but Samuel asked, "What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" (vs. 14)
Saul had done some of what God commanded him, but not everything the LORD commanded. This was disobedience, and actually viewed as a sin of self will, which is called rebellion. When a person has been told what to do and they refuse to do it, they have rebelled (vs. 23). Many Christians are guilty of rebelling against God. They know God's commands, yet they willing choose to disobey His commands. This is the sin of rebellion.
God delights in our obedience. We talk about complete obedience, and I understand why, but is there such a thing as partial obedience? We need to look at God's commands and determine if we are obeying or disobeying God. I'm not sure that I understand the depth of God's desire for His children to walk in obedience to Him.
May we examine our individual lives, and see if there be any wicked way in us. Let's pray today, and live daily, the truth of Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." May we confess and repent of any sin in our lives.
Your Friend and HIS,
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. Do you rationalize your disobedience to Lord? What excuses do you use, and how can you overcome making excuses?
2. Do you allow others to influence you to disobey the Lord? What can you do to get rid of bad influences in your life?
3. Obedience is ultimately your responsibility. Can you say that your heart is bent toward obeying God? How is your obedience manifested?
4. Will God accept your excuses for not obeying Him? Look for ways to be obedient rather than making excuses.