To obey, the Bible says, is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams - 1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV). In this article, we will delve into the greatest book of all time; the Bible, to learn why it says that obedience is better than sacrifice.
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Obedience is better than sacrifice NKJV
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.
Difference between obedience and sacrifice
The Oxford dictionary defines obedience as:
"Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority."
The same dictionary also defines sacrifice as:
"An act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity."
From the above definitions, we realize the great difference between obedience and sacrifice. Obedience is to carry out an instruction or request of an authority and sacrifice is giving something one owns to a god.
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God delights in obedience
Why does God delight in obedience? From the scripture in 1 Samuel, we learn that God, who is the creator and ultimate authority in the universe, prefers that we obey him because it shows our trust and dependence in Him alone. Obedience to God opens doors for many blessings. He is the God who delights in rewarding His people with good things. He himself said he has no pleasure in punishing sinners.
In the 1 Samuel 15 setting, there are some lessons to be learnt there. What it means to obey and what it means to disobey.
Why God dislikes disobedience
1. Disobedience shows misplaced fear
In 1 Samuel 15:24, Saul who was the king, confessed that he disobeyed God because he feared his people more than he did fear God.
2. Disobedience and the sin of divination are alike
Divination is the quest or search to know what to do without consulting the word and or counsel of God. This is exactly what disobedience is established on. God says do this, and we say, I will consult another source of guidance which is one's self.
3. Disobedience Is idolatry
When God asks us to do something and we consult our own wisdom and then choose to do things in our own ways, we become idolaters. We have chosen to consult ourselves as an alternative to God and we esteem the counsel of our own mind better than God’s word and direction and become guilty of idolatry.
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Obedience is better than sacrifice sermon
Why must we as Christians, wear obedience like a collar around our necks? The answer is because across the entire Bible, there are many scriptures that talk about obedience and the reward it brings.
Exodus 19:5 (NLT)
"Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me."
Exodus 23:22 (ESV)
“But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries."
Deuteronomy 11:27 (NLT)
"You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today."
Deuteronomy 28:1 (NIV)
"If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth."
Leviticus 26:3-4 (ESV)
3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,
4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit."
Psalm 25:10 (NLT)
"The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands."
Isaiah 1:19 (NIV)
"If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;"
The above scriptures highlight the benefits of one or a people who choose to obey God. In the scriptures, you will see that God promised to forgive them, bless their land, make them prominent people and let them enjoy the good of the land they lived.
Deuteronomy 11:28 (NASB)
"and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known."
Ephesians 5:6 (NASB)
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."
Jeremiah 12:17 (NASB)
"But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it," declares the LORD.
Leviticus 26:14-16 (NIV)
14 “But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands,
15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,
16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it."
God severely punishes disobedience as shown in the scriptures above.
Obedience is better than sacrifice commentary
"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice".—In this answer it would seem that the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Samuel, and that he gave utterance to one of those rapt expressions which now and again in the course of each of these Hebrew prophets’ lives these famous men were commissioned by the Divine power to give out to their fellows. The words of Samuel here were reproduced, or at least referred to, by other prophets and teachers of the old dispensation; for example, see Psalm 50:8-14; Psalm 51:16-17; Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 6:20; Micah 6:6-8; Hosea 6:6. Our Lord himself, in His words recorded in Matthew 13, if not actually referring to this passage, makes substantially the same declaration.
Irenæus, Haer. 4:32 (quoted by Wordsworth), sees in this great saving of Samuel’s a plain intimation that the day would come when the burnt offerings enjoined on Israel would give place to a simple worship of the heart. Wordsworth also quotes a weighty comment from St. Gregory (Moral. 35:10): “In sacrifices (per victimas) a man offers only strange flesh, whereas in obedience he offers his own will.”
Obedience is better than sacrifice quotes
Some obedience quotes
- "Obedience is an act of faith; disobedience is the result of unbelief." - Edwin Louis Cole
- "If you tell God no because He won't explain the reason He wants you to do something, you are actually hindering His blessing. But when you say yes to Him, all of heaven opens to pour out His goodness and reward your obedience. What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit." - Charles Stanley
- "God's promises are all on condition of humble obedience." - Ellen G. White
- "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men." - Harry Day
Speech on obedience is better than sacrifice
Robert A. Millikan, a highly decorate and noted physicist who spent most of his life bringing science and society together, wrote in 1922: “The salvation of the world is to be found in the cultivation of science together with the cultivation of a belief in the reality of moral and spiritual values”
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. [1 Samuel 15:22–23]
Saul replied to Samuel with words that are all too familiar: “I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24). What he feared of the people was imposed by the Lord. Individual accountability and responsibility are key factors in our ability to return to the presence of the Father. Quoting from the second article of faith: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.”
Obedience is better than sacrifice proverbs
Proverbs 21:3 (NASB)
"To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice."
This scripture buttresses 1 Samuel 15:22 which reiterates that God loves and blesses the obedient person and the disobedient person is cursed.
Look through the Bible at scriptures about obedience and you will see why obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience and blessing go hand-in-hand!