I’ve been reading in the end of Genesis about the life of Joseph and how obedient he was to the voice of the Lord. It really challenged me to look at my own life and reflect on how I was doing with the whole obedience thing. Then the Spirit led me to I Samuel 15 and I was able to compare Saul – a man of sacrifice, with David – a man of obedience.
Saul was Israel’s first earthly King. Before God made Saul King, HE, the Almighty One was King of the Israelites. One day the Lord gave Saul a simple command “to completely destroy the Amalekite nation – Men, women, children, babies, cattle , sheep, camels, and donkeys.”
Now your probably asking why God ordered such utter destruction on the Amalekites? The Amalekites were a band of guerrilla terrorist. They made their living by attacking other nations and carrying off their wealth and their families. They were the first to attack the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land, and they continued to raid the Israelite camps at every opportunity. God knew that the Israelites could never live peacefully in the Promised Land as long as the Amalekites existed. He also knew that their idolatrous religious practices threatened Israel’s relationship with Him. In order to protect the Israelites, God commanded Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekite nation.
I Samuel 15:7-9 says that “Saul mobilized his army of 200,000 men and slaughtered the Amalekites. He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. 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—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.”
Now, go back and read that paragraph again and tell me…was Saul obedient to the command God gave him?
If your like me, you may have glanced over it the first time. I read the first sentence “Saul slaughtered the Amalekites,” and then began singing his praise – “way to go Saul you obeyed God.” But if you read on you’ll discover that Saul and his men deliberately disobeyed God. They destroyed everything except the things that appealed to them, and then used the best of the sheep and cattle and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord.
I believe this is the important difference between Obedience and Sacrifice. God isn’t looking for more things we can bring to sacrifice to Him. He’s after an obedient heart. A heart that says yes to the things of God and turns it’s back on the things that so easily entangled. Like Saul, we can choose the easy way out and partially obey God. We can choose to sacrifice to God the things that are convenient for us or appeal to us, but in the end where’s that gonna land us – Saul lost his crown to an Obedient Shepherd named David. Because Saul rejected the Word of the Lord, God rejected Saul as King.
Obedience is better than Sacrifice!