“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. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT
In this passage, King Saul was being corrected by the prophet Samuel because of his disobedience of a direct command from the Word of God.
King Saul was commanded to destroy everything when attacking the Amalekites, but he decided he would only destroy what he thought should be destroyed and then save the other things to sacrifice unto the Lord.
Although that sounds good, it wasn’t right!
Half obedience is not obedience. It is disobedience.
And then here is the famous line, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.”
God would rather you say “YES” to his Word, than for you to bring stuff to sacrifice with your “NO.”
The story of Naaman is an interesting story of a great mighty warrior and a commander of an army….but he had a very serious disease.
You will see in this story, he is told that he could be healed by the man of God. However, he is challenged by his flesh and pride and he wants to be healed on his terms.
Pride will keep you away from the promises of God.
You and I must be willing to submit ourselves unto God and His Word. His Word is the same for the King that it is for a servant. His word is the same for the rich as it is for the poor.
You can’t buy this–it is all about obedience.
“The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:1 NLT
But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.
But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!
Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”
So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!”2 Kings 5:8-14 NLT
When Naaman finally said yes, the Word of God was activated in his life.
Guzik writes about this story, “Naaman had it all figured out. In his great need, he anticipated a way God would work, and he was offended when God didn’t work the way he expected….. and, because his request was easy to do and humbling, Naaman first refused.”
I will say it again…. don’t allow pride to keep you away from your promise!
Spurgeon saw Naaman attacked by two enemies: Proud Self, who internally demanded that Elisha come out and see him, and Evil Questioning, who questioned why he should wash in the Jordan when he had better rivers back in his homeland. Naaman overcame these two enemies and did what God told him to do.
You can overcome “evil questioning” and “proud self” by submitting to the Word of God.
Philip and the Eunuch is another great story of a man with authority and influence.
As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship,
and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.Acts 8:26-38 NLT
Obedience is better than sacrifice.
Don’t allow any obstacles to keep you from what God wants to give you today. Hear His Word and fully respond.