To obey is better than Sacrifice

In this Article we will explore a text as given in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 “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.  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.”

In this situation we get King Saul going way too far and being fully and finally rejected by God, Samuel therefore delivers him his condemnation directly from God, he has therefore been summarily Dismissed or Fired, and there is a string of offences starting with; “Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams,” developing to this one; “for rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft,” and finally to “and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry.”  Three pretty serious charges, and in a “Military Court-martial” any one of them on their own is usually “Death by Firing Squad” but he has three of these serious charges on the table against him.  King Saul has “Disobeyed a direct order.”  His next charge is that of “Rebellion” (doing things his own way) and finished with the charge of “Stubbornness,” (continual refusal to obey a direct command or order.)

An Obedient Soldier always replies, “Sir, Yes Sir.” And rushes off to complete the allotted task, are you and I that quick off the mark when God through the Holy Spirit prompts us.  King Saul thought that he could adjust what God had said and to do it his own way and in his own time, which is actually abiding by your own rules and totally ignoring God’s Rules, and we all know the consequences of that, “for the wages of sin is death.”

This list of charges is well documented by the evidence of the previous verses and King Saul is certainly “Guilty as Charged.”  We may well knock this man for his absolute senseless stupidity, but let us each look at our own lives and ponder for a moment.  How does our own life and behaviour stack up against the measure of “Obedience” or “Rebellion” or even “Stubbornness?”  Are we all that squeaky clean on these charges, or are we also like him, “Guilty as Charged?”

Now we have a very different story and a very different and obedient chap with a totally different outcome, and this is what is written about him, and this chap received a good report as given in Matthew 25:21 “His lord said unto him, well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”    This one is my personal desire, to have this said to me from off of God’s Throne, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”  Nothing much else really matters once one has received this approbation, you are actually in Heaven, your list of failings and sins do not even exist, and now Father God smiles upon you with approval as you have done your work well,” so what else actually really matters?

Paul wrote this as found in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”  Paul had carried out and had completed every single task that was allotted to him, he had checked off the list as it were and there was nothing anywhere on it incomplete, it was all ticked off, crossed out and done.

Paul also encouraged Timothy, and even us today with a wee string of words, “but unto all them also that love his appearing.”  That is something that transcends all time and is available to everybody, and that includes you and me, so are we in a situation that this applies; “but unto all them also that love his appearing,” do you want Heaven or are you actually happy in the wee tiny world of your own existence. 

I certainly am not content with any existence here in this world as I have caught a glimpse of a far better and a Heavenly Land, and I have fixed my sight on it, I have programmed it into my life’s Navman and I am daily steering heavenward.  King Saul certainly fell well short of this mark and steered way too low, but St Paul gave us this admonition as found in Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

What made the difference between Paul and Saul, Paul ended up ceasing his “Kicking against God’s prodding” and became obedient to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and then made amazing advances in spreading the Gospel far and wide.  On the other hand, King Saul only obeyed that which suited himself.  When asked to conquer a nation, he was only too happy about that, more Territory for him, Money, Slaves, Crops, Flocks and Herds; Yes, that suited him well, and then he could swan on up to Church with a big fat Offering (booty from battle and not from his own pocket) and people will praise him for his abundant generosity, what an amazing King we have; when actually is a lazy almost thief in taking other people’s stuff and passing it off as his own.  King Saul had minimal dedication and commitment and that was reflected in his actions, and his charges certainly stuck well because they were true.  St Paul has this admonition for us all as found in 2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Dear Reader; “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  2 Corinthians 13:5.