Obedience better than sacrifice
1 samuel 15:22-23
"Does the lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the lord, He has rejected you as king."
Strong words from the prophet samuel to saul, Israels king. What was it that brought about this rebuke? Saul had been told to destroy the Amelekites in total, not to leave man, woman, child nor beast alive, this was the lords retribution upon them for waylaying the Israelites as they came up from Egypt.
Verse 24. Then saul said to samuel. "I have sinned. I violated the lords command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them."
So many times in our lives do we give in to peer pressure causing us to miss what the lord would have us do. Many times we think we can do this or that for the lord and we think it a worthy sacrifice. The lord wants us to do His will, not what we think is His will.
We need to seek His will in every situation in life. Jesus said He only does what He sees His Father do, and when He taught about prayer He taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done." We need to study the word and make God's will the central focus of our lives.
For those of you who have read and studied Ecclesiastes, chapter 12:13 says, "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."
Many times in my own life the lord has told me things to do and i have dismissed them thinking they were only me. Only to see them come to be. Other times I have rejected them and suffered because of my disobedience. One thing I do know, if we are disobedient to God's word we will see the fruit of disobedience manifest in our lives. Whenever the Israelites turned from obeying the Lord He would send an enemy to fight against them.
For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.
The word of God is the way to life and we do well to walk in it. Let the word of God be the lamp for your feet. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you, to redeem you and I and to cleanse us of our sin. He rose again to bring us to eternal life and He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us.
So many rest content once they come to know Jesus and pick up this attitude saying, "well im saved now, i'll just keep sinning and the blood of Jesus will continue to wash me clean."
Hebrews 10:26-27 says: If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
So if we continue to walk in deliberate sin then we stand in a place of great peril. God loves you so much that He offered you a scapegoat, Jesus, and if you have un-repentant sin in your life you need to give it to God this day, and determine in your heart to never entertain that sin again.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 10:19-24 Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened up for us through the curtain that is His body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful, and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Obedience to God's word should be a pleasure to Christians, it should come not as second nature but as first priority. If we truly have a relationship with Jesus then we are new creations, God literally kicks out the spirit of worldliness and replaces it with the Holy Spirit, thats if we are spirit filled. And He will lead us in to all truth.
Romans 8:6-9 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile toward God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You however are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the spirit, if the spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ he does not belong to Christ.
To be obedient to God we have to first beleive in His son Jesus Christ and then welcome the Holy Spirit to come and abide within us. Notice the above verse says," If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ he does not belong to Christ. It also says,"The sinful mind is hostile toward God."
Further in Romans 8:13-14 the word says: "For if you live according to the sinful nature you will die; but if by the spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live. Because those who are led by the spirit are sons of God."
You can see that without the spirit it is impossible to please God, and without the spirit it is impossible to be obedient, because the spirit leads us into all truth. Jesus said "Go into the world and make disciples of all men," unfortunately alot go into the world and just become another part of it, till sunday comes around and then we sit on a seat in a church and go through the motions of being christian.
I have heard it said that "God will offend the mind to reveal the heart" and that is the truth. If our hearts are not Christ centered then our minds will surely be offended by the truth. Jesus offended many by healing on the sabbath, that showed where the hearts of those who rebuked him were at. They would rather stick to theyre form than to see someone set free. they were not being obedient to God, but self serving, self centered hypocrites.
If we expect to change our world and make a difference in the kingdom then we need to be obedient to the will of God. we need to say,"Lord, I need your spirit to guide me, cause those who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God.
Our world becomes more and more radical everyday, and sadly instead of the church making an impact on the world, we seem to let the world impact the church.
The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first beleived. The night is nearly over; the day is almost at hand. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us behave decently, as in the day time, not in orgies and drunkeness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Its time to awake church. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Let us call on Christ and on His power to help us fight this fight. Oh God give us ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts to understand. Change us so that we can then change the situations around us through obedience to your will. Its time to let God make a difference. Obedience is better than sacrifice. IHS