On this sermon, we are going to look at obedience is better than sacrifice in the light of it’s meaning.
Supposing it’s 25th December when we usually celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; and you are in your sitting room watching the evening news; suddenly your son comes in and handing you a phone says, “daddy, this is the Christmas gift I have for you”.
You joyously collect it and thanks him. But when you inspect the phone and realize that it is your own cell phone; How would you feel?
Beloved, this is exactly what happens anytime we try to offer what life can afford to God; Because He is the One that owns the world and all that is in it.
Psalm 24:1 says that the earth and everything in it including humans belong to God.
But it’s sad how humans often try to offer the things on earth to God in the hope that it will please him.
Meaning of obedience is better than sacrifice.
So 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 than the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22.
In order to understand the meaning of obedience is better than sacrifice, we are going to use the only method we recommend on this blog to interpret the bible.
And that method is reading the bible in it’s whole context.
Now from the context where we have the above scriptural text 1 Samuel 15:10-22, we realize that God had formerly told Saul to go and fight the Amalekites.
He however warned him to destroy everything in that land, including human beings.
But because of greed, Saul took the King; including the best sheep and cattle.
And God sent Samuel to Saul, he responded that he took the best sheep and cattle to offer as a sacrifice to God.
Thus, Saul was thinking that if he offers the sacrifice to God, he will allow him to keep the loots he took.
But God did not receive Saul’s sacrifice and instead rejecting him as King.
Therefore, obedience is better than sacrifice means that we should not try to disobey God and try to get away with it by means of offering or sacrifice.
Examples of obedience is better than sacrifice.
Before we move further on this sermon on obedience is better than sacrifice, let us look at two great examples of obedience is better than sacrifice in the bible.
1. Adam and Eve tried to please God with sacrifice instead of using obedience.
Adam and Eve did not understand that obedience is better than sacrifice, that was when they were pursued out of the garden, because they disobeyed God; they tried to make offerings and sacrifices, hoping it will please God and make Him return them back to the garden.
We have this understanding from seeing Cain and Abel performing sacrifices in Genesis 4.
But as we all know, instead of God accepting their offerings and sacrifices; He offered His only begotten Son as the sacrifice which was able to make that reconciliation possible.
2. Jesus was obedience to God and was even used as a sacrifice for human sins.
According to the bible in Phillipians 2:8-9, our Lord Jesus was obedient to the point of agreeing to sacrifice Himself for humans.
And because of his obedience to sacrifice Himself, God exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every other name on earth.
How can we receive from God if we do not give to Him?
God sacrificed Jesus in order to show us that He is the One at the giving end; while we, human beings, should be at the receiving end.
But some persons might ask: hasn’t the scripture said that it is only in giving that we are worthy to receive, how then can we receive from God if we do not give to Him at first?
Now such a person should think about a parent and child relationshi; and realize that it is in the parents place to provide for and take care of their children.
The children in turn should walk according to the parent’s directive, and also always be thankful for all they are able to provide for them.
From this illustration, we can understand that it is God; Who is to provide for human beings.
And human beings in turn should obey all His instructions, and also always be thankful for all He keeps on doing for them.
What we offer to God are consumed by humans.
Now when you read through the book of Numbers chapter 18, you will realize that all the offerings and tithes that God commanded the Israelites to pay was allocated to Aaron, his sons and the Levites.
And in Deuteronomy 26:12, you will again discover how the tithes were further allocated to the strangers, the orphans and the widows.
And God did that in order to show us that whatsoever He commands us to bring to His house was meant for other human beings like us, whose duty in His house will not allow them the chance to go out and work, and also those who are less privileged amongst us.
But its however sad that most of this so called ‘people working in God’s house’ fail to feed us with the truth that whatever we bring and offer to God in His house will at the end benefit them, their families, and the less privileged.
Propet Micah and Amos viewpoint on obedience is better than sacrifice.
Now let us go scriptural to see what our first two texts has to say about this issue:
With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you O man what is good; and what does the LORD requires of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.(Micah 6:6-8)
“I hate, I dispise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.(Amos 5:21-24)
And as we can see, the two texts above confirms what I was all along trying to explain.
The second one brings us to another reality that even though we try to thank God through praise and worship; that He will not accept it unless we do justice to each other and practice righteousness.
Rmember He made it known to us through the apostle John that we should not be deceived, because he who practices righteousness is righteous just as He is righteous 1 John 3:7.
Illustration from the earthly father.
Of course we know that an earthly father wants all his children to obey him and also treat his other siblings well, which means no quarrel, no fighting among brothers and sisters of the same house hold.
And since we are all from God’s household, He wants us to behave as the earthly father above wants his earthly children to behave.
And as He has given us the rules of how we are to live here on earth through His words, all He requires from us is to obey those rules and not trying to bring anything in life as an offering or sacrifice to Him, since all those things already belong to Him.
That was why He spoke through Samuel that he does not take great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord. And that to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).
And the preacher in the church (Ecclesia) specifically warned us to be careful when we come to the church, and that we should go there with the aim of hearing His words and not to offer sacrifices, as done by fools.
Walk prudently when you go to the hose of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.(Ecclesiastes 5:1).