The Way of Obedience – I Samuel 15:22-23

“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. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.” King Saul was successful in defeating the Philistines and Amalekites, but he also tried to accomplish God’s will for Israel in his own way or the way the people wanted even when it was contrary to the word of the Lord that was told to him. Instead of totally destroying all the spoil—sheep and oxen—from the battle with the Amalekites as God commanded, Saul justified taking the spoil from the Amalekites saying the animals would be used as sacrifices to the Lord. Samuel tried to make Saul understand the importance of obeying God on God’s terms and not on Saul’s terms. Samuel told Saul that obedience to God was more important to Him than performing religious rituals. Samuel told Saul that disobedience or rebellion was like the sin of divination—when you don’t obey God’s command it’s like consorting with evil spirits—and compared presumption to idolatry—assuming you know better than God is like making an idol of yourself. For Saul the consequences of his disobedience were severe—he lost his kingdom and his kingship. Learning to obey God’s will in our everyday lives is often as hard for us today as it was for Saul. God’s will defines the relationship we have with Him, so obedience to Him and His will is a lesson we must learn to be effective followers of Jesus.

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