Obedience Vs. Sacrifice

So Samuel said: “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 heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” (I Samuel 15:22, 23.)

Like most moms, mine would leave a list of chores for my brother and I to do while she was at work. Many times she would ask us to fold laundry or clean the bathrooms, but we would clean the kitchen, sweep the floor, or dust; just about anything, but what she asked us to do. Though we had not done what she asked, surely all that we did do would make up for it.

When she would arrive home from work we couldn’t understand why she was so angry. She would look at us and say, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Naturally, we were appalled by her lack of appreciation for our “hard work.”

Of course if you were to ask us today, we would admit that we didn’t want to do what she requested because it was too hard or tedious. We thought we could get away with ignoring her if we did all the things that we didn’t mind doing.

When I read the verses above for the first time as a teenager, I finally figured it out. Instead of being obedient to God, Saul took the easy way and listened to the wishes of his people. He thought he could get away with it if he took the choicest of the animals and sacrificed them to God. Surely that sacrifice would cause God to ignore Saul’s disobedience. As we know, God rejected Saul from that moment forward and promised there would be a new king.

Obedience truly is better than sacrifice!