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Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

The words “obedience is better than sacrifice” are written in the ancient Hebraic writings found in 1 Samuel 15:22. We read: But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” The word sacrifice, in this historical account, refers to animal sacrifices. However, the call to obedience in reference to sacrifice is spoken of many times throughout the bible. It speaks of the necessity of individuals to sacrifice their personal desires and ways in order to obey the call of God and His instructions.

Abram, later named Abraham, is an appropriate example that we read about in Genesis 12:1-3. In that account he was instructed by the Lord to leave his country, his people and his father’s household to go to a land completely foreign to him. He obeyed. Later he was told to sacrifice his only son Isaac, whom he loved dearly. In obedience, as he was about to sacrifice his son, the angel of the Lord called out to him not to lay a hand on the boy. His faithfulness to God, in each circumstance, was being tested. His obedience brought awesome results that opened unbelievable spiritual doors with countless blessings that were promised him. Those blessings ultimately were to be inherited by future generations. We benefit from his obedience to this day.

In New Testament writings we are told of John the Baptist who sacrificed every comfort in his life to answer the call of God. We are not told of any personal desires he may have had but if he had any he sacrificed them without question in order to obey his heavenly Father. Again his obedience opened the door for the Messiah who, through obedience, paid the ultimate sacrifice for each one of us.

Today many of us are called to obey God in our personal lives. It may be to stand strong in moral teachings God has given us or an invitation to do greater works to fulfill the purposes of God. Whatever the call, it is for us to faithfully obey. By doing so we will have to make sacrifices of one kind or another. Obeying our heavenly Father and His Word, from the heart, is better than any outward form of worship or service. Faith and trust are the pillars of true obedience.

Disobedience meanwhile is evident of unbelief. When we respond to God in obedience it reveals a heart that believes God. We’re persuaded that we are responding to truth that results in faith. In our great desire to obey our Creator, any sacrifice, whether physical, material, financial or perhaps even our way of thinking, is at times, most difficult to do. Self-pride can and will be a stumbling block in our willingness to obey. Suppose the Holy Spirit speaks to you to give $20.00 to feed the poor. Acting on that you will be sacrificing twenty dollars that could have provided for a personal need you may have had. This action takes a willingness to sacrifice anything that is important to you or gives you pleasure. Sometimes we wrestle with feelings of fear when dealing with any sacrifice. But scripture says that fear is useless, trust is what’s needed…trusting in a power higher than ours. The faith to obey no matter what the sacrifice, no matter what the cost, may be the reality of absolute obedience which is better than any sacrifice of any kind.

Mary Ann Kotch, Pastor © 2016

Footnote: The words sacrifice and obedience remain the same in the following translations:

New King James, King James, New American Standard, Gods Word and Amplified Written Word.

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