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Heard – Obedience over Sacrifice

1 Samuel 15:22 NLT “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

Today, let’s look at the Old Testament to King Saul.

Saul was chosen by God to do great things for Israel and to lead them in many victories against their enemies. Saul was an amazing King in the beginning, but, unfortunately, the end of his reign was a disaster!

Pride and disobedience were two main factors in his downfall. 

The old saying is so true, “It is not how you start, but it is how you finish.”

For some reason, many people change when they are promoted, or exalted, or they go to the next tier of wealth. They allow pride to settle in their hearts, believing that no one can tell them what to do. They become self-sufficient and “need” no one, including God.

This is where Saul found himself.

There was a direct word from God to Saul. He knew that when they went to fight the Amalekites, they were to keep nothing and destroy everything.  

But Saul decided to NOT LISTEN to this direct command from God.

I am sure there are many reasons why this could have happened. There were times God allowed the Israelites to keep the spoils for themselves when they went into battle. Maybe Saul could justify within himself because of this.

Let me stop here for a moment. Anytime we justify going against a direct command of the Word of God, we start down a slippery slope. 

If you open that door just a little bit, eventually it will be wide open. Because, if you can justify one thing, you will begin to justify a lot of things.

So, either Saul was doing some justification, or he was just plain ignoring a direct command from God. Either way, he decided to do it his own way instead of God’s way.

1 Samuel 15:9 NLT, “Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everythingin fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.”

We see this sin at the very beginning of time with Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes….”

Adam and Eve fell for a lie from the enemy and disobeyed God’s voice because the devil made something look good.

I want to remind you today THAT SIN WILL ALWAYS LOOK GOOD.

Just because something looks good does not mean that it is good for you. 

Saul fell into this trap and obeyed only SOME of God’s Word instead of ALL of it.

This is so dangerous and puts us right into the hands of the enemy. 

Deuteronomy 4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Saul diminished God’s word in obeying only a portion of what God said.

This is where we come to our text.

We see the prophet Samuel rebuking King Saul.  

1 Samuel 15:22 NLT “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

What has God been talking to you about through His Word that you have chosen not to fully obey?

Has He asked you to give something up?

Has He asked you to do more of something?

Has He asked you to make a bigger commitment to him in your time, talents, and treasure?

What next step have you diminished or dismissed because you have justified your way out of it? Maybe you’ve said to yourself, “I really don’t need to obey it.”

Remember the words from Samuel to Saul – Obedience is better than sacrifice!

You and I cannot sacrifice our way out of obedience. 

God loves when we sacrifice, but not when we sacrifice over obedience!  

I say to all of us today, OBEDIENCE OVER SACRIFICE.

When God says go, just say “Heard.”

When God says stop, just say “Heard.”

When God says stay, just say “Heard.”

Kent Elliott

Senior Pastor | Faith Tabernacle | Manchester, CT

Sr Pastor at Faith Tabernacle / President & Lead Consultant, FAITHWORKS Image Consulting. Husband to Crystal & father to Kaylea, Johnny (SIL) & Chase.

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