I Samuel: 15:22 "But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."
Some weeks ago, I was sitting in church hearing the Word of God being eloquently preached to His people. During the sermon, there was a scripture that stood out. While not the focus verse of the sermon, there was something about it that I couldn’t understand. It’s taken me time to read, re-read, re-read, and read again and again and again, but I think the meaning is finally with me.
The scripture is I Samuel 16:4 (KJV) – “And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?” The story is a famous one. It’s where Samuel goes to anoint David as king after God rejected Saul. I couldn’t understand why the elders trembled at Samuel’s coming and why they wanted to know if he came peaceably? Then God reminded me of whom Samuel was. Born to Hannah and Elkanah, he was a child prayed for on the alter of God. He was given back to God to be of service to the King after being weaned from his mother. He was raised in the holy site of Shiloh by Eli. He was conceived by faith, sanctified from birth, raised in holiness, taught by a priest, born to devout parents, who walked with and talked to God. If that wasn’t enough, he was called Samuel the Seer in I Chronicles 29:29. In his time, Samuel was seen as that which he was, a Man of God that walked in the authority given to him by God as an upright man being used as His mouthpiece. Maybe this isn’t clicking for you yet. So, let’s go back one chapter to I Samuel 15.
Saul, the king the people desired, the one God said yes to has messed up. I Samuel 15:13-23 (KJV):
“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.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
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.
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.”
God rejected Saul and sent Samuel to him to let him know so. Surely word of this has passed through the people in Gilgal as well as through the neighboring cities, tribes, towns. God’s anointed and appointed has come to town and let the king know that he is no longer God’s chosen. Okay, let’s put this in perspective. What would you do if God’s chosen comes into your church and let’s the Pastor know that he/she has become big in his/her own eyes and is rejected from their position by God? Get it now. What else would the elders do when they see Samuel but question, did you come here in peace or are you here to make trouble? Of course, you would only be worried about this if you weren’t living right, right?
Now, I understand why obedience to God’s Word is better than sacrifice. People throw this scripture out but understanding the meaning makes a difference. Saul in verse 20 thought he had obeyed God. But he only partly obeyed that which God told him to do. Partial obedience then is still disobedience. I cannot be worried about what the people around me say, think or do when God has given me a command. I must follow the entire command without worry of what others will think.
Be obedient as you walk on this journey. Don’t sacrifice your place in heaven fearful of what others say about of think of you.
Be A Blessing and Not Just Blessed
- - Nakya