OBEDIENCE – better than sacrifice or ritual


 

1 Samuel 15:
22 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.
23 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.
Psalms 50:
16 But God says to the wicked:
Why bother reciting my decrees
and pretending to obey my covenant?
17 For you refuse my discipline
and treat my words like trash.
18 When you see thieves, you approve of them,
and you spend your time with adulterers.
19 Your mouth is filled with wickedness,
and your tongue is full of lies.
20 You sit around and slander your brother
your own mother’s son.
21 While you did all this, I remained silent,
and you thought I didn’t care.
But now I will rebuke you,
listing all my charges against you.
22 Repent, all of you who forget me,
or I will tear you apart,
and no one will help you.
Romans 12:
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (New Living Translation)
Was Samuel saying that sacrifice is unimportant? No, he was urging Saul to look at his reasons for making the sacrifice, rather than at the sacrifice itself.A sacrifice was a ritual transaction between God and man that physically demonstrated a relation between them. But if the persons heart was not truly repentant or if he did not truly love God, the sacrifice was a hollow ritual.Religious ceremonies and rituals are empty unless they are perofmed with an attitude of love and obedience.

“Being religious” is not enough if we do not act out of devotion and obedience to God.

Some people glibly recite God’s laws, but are filled with deceit and evil.

They claim his promises, refuse to obey his laws.

This is sin, and God will judge people for it.

We too are hypocrites when we do not live what we believe. To let this inconsistency remain, shows we are not true followers of God.

When sacrificing an animal according to God’s law, a priest killed the animal, cut it in pieces, and placed it on the altar.

Sacrifice was important, but even the Old Testament God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important.

God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals as living sacrifices – daily laying aside our own desires to follow him.

We do this out of gratitude that our sins have been forgiven.

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