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Obedience Better Than Sacrifice

I Samuel 15:22-23 NKJV

22 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.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”

The background to this passage (suggest you read the whole chapter) concerns King Saul's (Israel's first king from the tribe of Benjamin) disobedience to God's command to attack and kill all the Amalekites including their possessions and their king, Agag. Saul spared the best of the animals for his pretension of offering sacrifices to God and also spared Agag.  

When God told Samuel what Saul had done, and because of his disobedience, he was rejected as king even though he continued on the throne for 40 years total, Samuel was greatly angered at the rebellious king and wept all night for him.

Saul was so deceived that when Samuel met him he was gloating about defeating the Amalekites and even thought he had fully obeyed the Lord's command. Samuel chided him for his rebellious action and told Saul that OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WORD IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE AND TO HEED THAN THE FAT OF RAMS. 

Animal sacrifices were a major part of temple worship in ancient Israel particularly to atone for the sins of the people (Yom Kippur on the day of Atonement). Saul thought he was doing God a favor by sparing the best animals for a religious ritual. However, the more important thing was to obey the Word of the Lord in the exact manner in which God gave it. The Hebrew meaning of to heed is to prick up the ears or to pay careful attention to - the meaning has no place for carelessness. 

Samuel then tells Saul, rebellion or disobedience in fully carrying out the command of the Lord is the same as witchcraft or divination, which is another way of saying rebellion to the Word of God is of Satan and the demonic realm. Witch - craft involves casting demonic curses via divining omens. In essence, God told Saul  his actions were of the devil.  The very first sin committed by Satan causing him to fall from his high angelic position as an archangel was rebellion against the throne of God in heaven. God hates disobedience to His Word because it invites Satanic and demonic presence and activity. 

Samuel also said Saul's stubbornness was the same as iniquity and idolatry.  To be stubborn against the Word of God means to be stiff-necked as one that cannot be used by God. Iniquity is more than just sin for it means a self-determined lifestyle outside the will of God.  How is disobedience like idolatry?  It is self-worship, that is, believing man's thoughts and opinions are more worthy than the Word of God. 

In summary, God told Saul, I don't want or need your religious ritual. What I want is for you to obey Me.  Many professing adult Christians by virtue of spiritual immaturity are careless with the Word of God even though they may attend every service of worship and do all kinds of religious deeds.  We are better off if we train our spirits and minds to believe the written Word of God as we have it in our Bibles and to OBEY IT. 

I talk to many Christians that believe parts of the Bible, but not all of it or they will argue and debate the texts of Scripture particularly if they don't think it fits the modern culture. 

The modern translations contribute to this lazy carelessness of not fully obeying the written Word of God because of improper translations of the biblical text. Stay away from the thought-for-thought translations rather use the word-for-word translations such as the KJV, NKJV and the NASB.  If the biblical text is not important to you and you prefer the thought-for-thought translations such as the NIV and several others, the Word you are reading and studying may in fact be deceiving you.

If I use a text from the NIV or other thought-for-thought translations, you can rest assured that I have checked it against the original Hebrew and Greek to make sure it is the literal Word of God.   

There is an abundance of religious ritual carried out every Sunday in Churches all across America, but many of the participants are not obeying the literal written Word of God. Therefore, the body of Christ in many places is in rebellion to God and guess what, Satan and his demons show up at every worship service. 


If your pastor is loose with the Word and does not believe in the literal inspired text, go find a Church whose pastor is faithful to the literal written Word.