Read I Samuel 11:1-15:35
What Matters Most
Then 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 is better than the fat of rams.”
I Samuel 15:22
Go Deep: Unfortunately for King Saul, this sad account of his fall from God’s favor was one of the lowest low points of his life, and the beginning of the end of his once promising rule over Israel. Fortunately for us, reading this story with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, his example brings us to the bottom line of what it means to walk in intimacy with God.
What is that bottom line? That God wants our hearts more than anything else!
When we substitute duty, service or sacrifice, as Saul did, for a love relationship with God, it will always lead to disobedience, and therefore it will lead away from divine blessing. But when we obey God out of love for who he is and gratitude for what he has done, then God will pour out his blessings upon us in immeasurable ways. Everything that we hope our duty, service and sacrifice will bring, will be, at best, a poor substitute for walking in loving obedience to God. At worst, the very things we thought would bring God’s pleasure upon us will turn around and cause it to be forfeited.
Do you want a revival of God’s favor in your life? Begin to obey him. Don’t obey merely out of duty—because you have to obey to be blessed. Don’t merely obey out of fear—because you know punishment awaits if you don’t obey. Do not obey from some sort of manipulative motive—trying to maneuver God to get him to give you want you want. Obey him out of love. Obey him because you are so grateful for all that he has done for you that obedience is simply the only option for you. As the great revivalist Charles Finney said, “A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.”
The best sacrifice you can bring before God is your obedience. Offer it to God, early and often, with the right heart and the purest of motives, and watch what God will do for you. The obedient heart is the one in which God takes the greatest delight.
Just Saying… Oswald Chambers wrote, “The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience.”