To Obey is better than Sacrifice
We will develop this concept from a very valid verse, an insightful concept that often can get; “a little too close to the bone,” as they used to say. This verse comes to us from 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.”
If we look at the ancient act of “Sacrifice” as forms and protocols, in our various Church Services, Praise Services or even Worship Services, as that is exactly what “Sacrifice” was back then, and what we often call today as “Church,” or “Worship,” we have opened a very large “can of worms.” If we look subjectively at 2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” How quickly we often fall into a set of “Meaningless Forms” and “Meaningless Ceremonies” which turn out to be as meaningful as “Prayer Beads,” “Ringing a Bell” or turning “Prayer Wheels” or waving “Prayer Flags” or any other such “Forms and Ceremonies” type of thing, even sadly as attending one of our various churches for a worship service; for often they are devoid of substance and any power, but actually who is being worshiped, and that is not clearly spelt out.
It is so easy to have a “form of godliness” as we each could so easily write out the “Order of Service” with a predicted ending, “We came, we saw, we conquered,” and that is about it, well apart from the snacks and hot drinks afterwards and catching up on the latest and greatest gossip; but where did God even get a mention or some serious attention. Oh, God did get a quick mention, because somebody asked a Blessing on the “Pot Luck Lunch” before we all dived in for all the very best we can grab, before anybody else found it; “First in first Served!”
Whatever became of “Obedience,” “Brotherly Love” or “Obeying” as us believers are really supposed to be living like Jesus Christ, and it is often pretty hard to pick us out from a crowd, or even at a party, and unfortunately it is often the Christian who is deepest into whatever is then going down. How so very sad that we do not “Stand Up” or “Stand Out” and all our beliefs are simply just a string of “Forms and Ceremonies” and if you attend some of our church services, then there is often more “Rock Music” than at a rock concert, though if you can actually hear the words, then you can occasionally hear the word “Lord” but lord Baal or lord whoever, we have no idea which “lord” of the massive string of lord’s they are dancing and chanting about, but as “Actions speak louder than words,” one would very much doubt if there was any connection to the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our verse admonishes us “Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice,” and once upon a time in a land far far away, we Christian believers could stand out from the crowd, we practiced daily “Christian Acts” and could easily quote scripture, and believed the Whole Bible, now one wonders how much Sacrifice/Churchianity is in our lives and how very little “Obedience” there is seen on a daily basis from all of us.
I attend a Church occasionally, and they have a full band, and often when there we sing “Ancient of Days” where the drummer starts it as a solo and really beats out the heavy and strong beat, he is quickly joined by the strong bass guitar, and slowly the rest of the backing instruments follow. It is a great song and one can really “Move to the beat” but it unfortunately is more glory for the flesh and none for God, and after the song, it is so very hard to get God back as he basically packs and leaves at the start of the song, how very sad, we have just experienced empty sacrifice, and God has just left the building.
Our verse admonishes us “Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice,” but we so easily forget the “Obey” and the obedience bit so very quickly, and get on with everything else and could this verse in Matthew actually be about us all, as found in Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
In this verse the “Obedience” portion has been de-railed as it were and we are sent down a “branch line” and we are actually “majoring in minors” as it were, and not majoring in the major and most critical things, which our Jesus calls “the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.” We have this verse found in 2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” We all seem to fall back into forms of “sacrifice” and Satan is very happy about that, as we are totally ineffectual, and no good to man or beast, as it were.
Paul in Ephesians Chapter 6, admonishes us to be in “full uniform” and to have on “The Whole Armour” and to be majoring in the “Obedience” and very much minoring in “the sacrifice,” part of the Christian Walk.
Dear Reader; let each of us resolve to be rid of “Forms and Ceremonies” and to get back to Living and walking the Christian walk, this type of Obedience is actually “Worship” at its very best, so walk the walk and talk the talk, so let us from now on be the real deal and not some semblance of a Christian, “Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice.”