04-22-12 / Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

04-22-12 / Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice


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 fat of rams.



Obedience is better than sacrifice...hmmm....what does that mean?  
What is going on in this part of the Bible?  If we read the surrounding
story, we find that Saul, who was a king of Israel, was commanded by
God to exact judgment upon the Amalekites for their disobedience.  
Here is the specific command from God:

1 Samuel 15:2-3 /  2Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember
that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the
way, when he came up from Egypt.
 3Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they
have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant
and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

God was ready to pronounce judgment upon the people of Amalek for
their hatred and wrongdoings against His people, and He was going to
use Saul to complete this task.  Saul was specifically commanded to destroy all that pertained to them - but He began to follow his own will instead of the will of God.  We read of his disobedience to the Word in verse 9.

1 Samuel 15:9 - 9But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the
best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the
lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed

Saul looked upon that which was good IN HIS EYES, not in God's eyes.  Just as God exacted judgment upon ALL of Sodom and Gomorrah for
their gross sins, so had the day come for judgment upon Amalek.  
However, Saul chose to do things his own way.  Even worse - he thought
he was obeying the Lord!  

When we get a notion in our mind to do things our way, that is evidence
that our will is not in line with God.  God testifies against EVERYONE'S wicked nature in Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Everyone of us knows that our hearts can lead us astray.  We get into situations, later shaking our heads and saying, "What was I thinking?"  However, sometimes we fail to see that - then it is God's job to attempt to wake us from our slumber of sin.

God saw Saul's disobedience.  Here is a bigger kicker - GOD
FORESAW SAUL'S DISOBEDIENCE.  He knew that Saul would
disobey Him, but still gave him an opportunity to obey, even foreseeing
his disobedience.  In like manner, God sees AND foresees every good
and bad choice we are going to make.  Even though He foresees it, He
still gives us a choice.  Just as Adam and Eve had a choice, so do we...
but what are we choosing?  The tree of life, which is Jesus, or the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil, which is of the world?  We cannot say
we are following God if we are eating of the latter tree!

Back to the story - God immediately speaks to Samuel in 1 Samuel
15:10-11 . 10Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel,
 11It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is
turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the
LORD all night.  Samuel was a prophet of God who heard the voice of
the LORD from an early age.  This caused him some heartache in this instance.  He knew the will of the LORD, and He knew that God was
angry with Saul.  Saul was doing His own thing, and now the judgment
that should have been poured out upon Amalek was also going to be poured out upon him for his disobedience.

Let's continue with the story.  Samuel awoke early to meet Saul, and
read what Saul says to Samuel in 1 Samuel 15:13 - And Samuel
came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the
LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.  Au contraire, Saul did things HIS way and tried to act as if his way was
God's way.  He did not do it God's way - he did it his own way.  Samuel goes so far as to pronounce that Saul's actions were no different that witchcraft - making a "new" way to God, instead of doing it God's way.  
God is very specific about the punishment we deserve for witchcraft in Exodus 22:18 - Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.  

The Word of the LORD that came to Samuel for Saul connects to this scripture - take a look at 1 Samuel 15:23 - For rebellion is as the sin
of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.  Saul had rebelled against God's will, setting up a new path in his disobedience.  He was seduced by the deceitfulness of his own heart - this is witchcraft, which is a HEINOUS
crime in the eyes of God.  Not only was he guilty of witchcraft, but also stubborness (a type of idolatry, worshipping your own ideas instead of God's).  

WHY did Saul fall into this disobedience?  BECAUSE HE FEARED
WHAT OTHERS WOULD THINK.  He testified against himself in 1
Samuel 15:24 - And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I
have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy
words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 
Saul was more worried about people's opinions than what the LORD thought - and it cost him DEARLY.

What did Saul suffer for his disobedience?  He lost the anointing that
God gave him in 1 Samuel 10:1, instead gaining an evil spirit that tormented him. We read of this punishment in 1 Samuel 16:14 - But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.  When we choose not to humble ourselves under
the mighty hand of God, we become STUBBORN and REBELLIOUS as Saul was.  If Saul received an evil spirit from the LORD for his rebellion,
and he was originally anointed king of Israel, do you think that you will escape judgment if you continue in rebellion also?

Saul died a tragic death at the hands of the Philistines, but it didn't have
to be this way.  Even in death, Samuel prophesied Saul's death - we
read this account in 1 Samuel 28:16-20 / 16Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
 17And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the
LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
 18Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor
executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the
LORD done this thing unto thee this day.
 19Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the
hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the
hand of the Philistines.
 20Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no
strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all
the night.

We expect God to be gentle with us, but we still want to do it our way.  
Do we not realize that God's judgment will come upon those who refuse
to hearken their ear unto Him?  Don't be as those that grip the pews
every Sunday during the altar call.  Those who refuse God, they will be refused by Him on judgment day.  Have you not read what Jesus spoke inMatthew 10:33 - But whosoever shall deny me before men, him
will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

I could continue on and on about the story of Saul and what his rebellion cost him, but for now, I leave you with a scripture to reflect upon.  It is not
just enough to be saved - God is calling us to a walk of holiness!  If you
have confessed your sins and had them forgiven, that is great!  However, God is commanding you to come out of the life of sin that has plagued
you with darkness for so long!  It is not that we don't fall - but it is time to
get back on our feet and heed the call of the LORD!  I leave you with Hebrews 3:7-13 / 7Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if
ye will hear his voice,
 8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
 9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
 10Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
 11So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
 12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any
of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

If you will hear God today, He will cleanse your sins and make you anew
in the eyes of God.  Isaiah 1:18-20 / 18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they
shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
 19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
 20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword:
for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

I encourage you to allow God to have His way in your life - you will notregret it!  God bless!

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