1 Samuel 15:22
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat rams.
King Saul set out to do something seemingly good when he decided to take the plunder from the Amalekites with the idea of using the sheep and cattle to sacrifice them unto the Lord. But God had not told him to do that. He specifically told him not to take anything with him.
As we set out to accomplish our goals and dreams there are many sacrifices that are required. Such as, if you want to lose weight you have to sacrifice time to exercise, make better food choices, submit yourself to some sort of rigid discipline and subject yourself to self-consciousness and self-criticism if you fail. Now sacrifice is not at all bad. Notice that in the scripture it says, Obeying is “better” than Sacrifice. This tells us that sacrifices are ok, but ONE thing is better and that is Obeying God’s commands.
But why is it “better”?
It all comes down to where you put your trust. You see, sacrifice means independence from God. Sacrifices are seen, heard, smelled, touched. Sacrifices show the world our efforts in trying to DO good. And while this is noble in the eyes of man, it is also very blinding and threatens to pull us away from God. Blinding because in all our efforts to do good we are blinded by our own light which is pride. “Look what I did!” “I nailed it!” now this isn’t so bad either but eventually we can forget how “The Lord, is my strength and my Salvation”, “I couldn’t have done this without Him”.
Sacrifices are for the World to see. If King Saul would have obeyed God, he would have had to go back to the people empty handed and they probably would have questioned him and thought he was crazy. Having plunder and bringing it back to the people, holding a large celebratory feast and having something to place on the Altar sounded much more appealing and satisfying. “I didn’t go through all this, to have nothing to show for it!” I mean, after all he didn’t have Social media to post a Selfie with the defeated Amalekite Army behind him!
Sacrifices are hard work too. Imagine after this long war that the Israelites fought with King Saul and then having to haul all of those cattle and sheep and things back home only to be rebuked by the Prophet for your disobedience. Life is like that for us too. We set out to help ourselves and make a lot of sacrifices with the intension to be better and improve our temporary lives on this earth and fail to invest in the Eternal Being that we really are.
Working hard and doing the right thing is not bad at all, in fact it is necessary and noble but don’t get so wrapped up in this temporary life that we become tired, worn down and blinded by The Lust of the Flesh, The Lust of the Eyes and The Pride of Life for this comes from the world and not from the Father, as it says in 1 John 2:16.
Instead, Obey the Lord. He says, “Trust Me.” He says, “Do not boast about tomorrow…and let another praise you, and not your own mouth.” He said, “do not covet your neighbor’s house/ things.”
Obedience, requires patience, trust, stillness, obscurity. It may mean, that you will be rejected, unaccepted and misunderstood. It may mean that no one will ever know what you have had to go through. It may mean that no one will ever see what God asked you to “let Go” of or “sacrifice” for Him. But God said it’s better. He promises to fulfill His purposes in your life if you trust Him. His rewards, accolades and promotions are better when we Obey Him versus Sacrifice.
Are we sacrificing our Love for God to gain the things of this world, so that we can shine? Or are we leaning in to hear His heart for our lives and believing for Him to guide our steps into an Eternal Transformation that promises to make us shine by His grace and for His Glory?