Obedience is Still Better Than Sacrifice
Funny, that’s almost like a cliché nowadays. Let’s talk about obedience and the dangers of not heeding God’s instructions. God will bless you and position you to be used and do great things, but we get into trouble when we fail to obey. When we walk in the calling God ordained for us, we have to be vigilant to maintain our integrity and remember that we serve Him first and foremost. Proverbs 22:4 says, “Obey the Lord, be humble and you will get riches and honor and long life”.
I was reading 1 Samuel chapter 15 yesterday when God spoke to me about obedience. In this passage, the prophet Samuel told Israel’s first King, Saul, that the Lord said to go attack Amalek and utterly destroy all they have – including women, children, and animals (1 Samuel 15:3). Saul gathered his troops, attacked them, but he didn’t kill their king Agag or any of the best animals.
When asked, Saul’s excuse was that they planned to sacrifice those animals to God and that’s when Samuel says, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22). Back in verse 11, God regrets making Saul King and says that Saul has not performed His commands. In verse 28, God tore the Kingdom from him.
Something I noticed during this study that I’ve never seen before. Even though Saul acknowledged his wrong (1 Samuel 15:24-25, 30), he seems to gloss over it and asks Samuel to pardon his sin, come back, and honor him in front of the elders and the people so that he may worship. Saul was still more concerned about the display – he didn’t sincerely repent or seem hurt by the fact that he had disobeyed.
Sometimes we don’t even realize the magnitude of our rebellion. We do what seems best in our own eyes despite what the Lord says. 1 Samuel 15:23 says, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”.
Obedience Protects Your Anointing
The interesting thing to me in this was that even though God tore the kingdom from Saul, he was actually still king for a while thereafter. God will remove your anointing even while you are still in the position He called you to. I don’t know about you, but I think I’d rather be demoted and removed immediately than operate without the Spirit. How challenging it must have been to be in a position that grace has promoted you to, then you blow it, and have to wing it for the remainder of your tenure! Having to do anything without the Spirit is the worst.
We cannot fully operate in our calling when there are things we refuse to kill! We can’t allow our flesh or mindsets that are not of God to live.
This was Saul’s mistake. He was to utterly destroy everything and when he refused, he lost it all. He ended up struggling with mental illness, fear, envy, and paranoia all while he held his office (1 Samuel 18). He had the job but was incompetent and weak. That is a scary place to be, Team. Obedience will save us a lot of trouble in the long run.
How many of us are trying to live out our purpose with areas of our lives that are less than godly? Living this way is torture! How many of us are allowing our responsibilities and duties to trump our sonship with the Father? How many of us are trying to walk the line and see how far we can get before complete surrender?
Are we constantly asking God to reveal purpose and strategy when there are things in our spirit that have gone unchecked?
God is more concerned with your spiritual development and relationship with Him than using you. Truth is, if you’re not mature in Christ, you will likely blow it anyway. One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that when we get to the next level, our foolishness will stop. What we do is only a manifestation of what’s already in us. Everything in the natural has its origin in the spirit. Kill it now!
I want to encourage you all that if you have been disobedient, stick with God and continue to pursue Him. Earlier in the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 12, Samuel is telling Israel about the sin they committed by asking for a king. In verse 1 Samuel 12:20-22, he tells them “Look, it’s okay, you messed up, but don’t turn away from God because He will not forsake His people. God says if you turn away, you will go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver.”
Sometimes when we are disobedient, we can spiral out of control by trying to get ourselves out of it or by covering it up and living double lives. We can unintentionally take over and begin doing our own thing which can lead to further devastation. So, let’s be sure to get back in the wagon sooner than later.
So, What’s the play call?
- Heed the voice of God and obey His instructions – save yourself some trouble.
- Feed yourself the Word of God – it will take root in your heart and produce the fruit of righteousness.
- Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands”. Our commitment and love for God are best demonstrated by our obedience.
- Struggling is okay, but never turn away from Him – keep fighting the good fight of faith.