“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.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice. We may not know the exact reference of the phrase, but many of us are familiar with it thanks to Keith Green. Have you ever thought about the meaning and context of the phrase? Why did Samuel tell Saul that it is better to obey than to sacrifice? He answers that question in verse 23. After deliberately disobeying God’s commands, Samuel says to Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.” — Saul’s disobedience was an act of rebellion, iniquity, and idolatry. Saul may have devoted the best of the plunder to God, however, it came at the cost of disobedience. In other words, Saul got his priorities mixed up. Saul wanted to please men and not God. He confessed, “I feared the people and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24b). It is easy for us to fault Saul and be critical towards his actions. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we are a lot like Saul. In our human attempt, we make efforts to look good among others in our service to God. We are quick to do good in order to receive praise from others. We want what belongs to God. We do not serve out of understanding that Jesus served and died for us as the suffering servant. As we live out our lives for God, let us remember, to obey is better than sacrifice. What is God asking of you today? Let us be bold in responding to his call. Let us obey his voice.
- Pastor Jay