Season 3, Episode 10
For Friday, April 22, 2016
“What God Wants More Than Sacrifice”
HOST: Wade Webster
God instructed King Saul and the Israelites to utterly destroy the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:3). However, they spared the best of the flocks and herds. The reason that they gave for sparing these animals was that they planned to use them for sacrifices (1 Sam. 15:15, 21). Their intentions trumped God’s instructions. Samuel made clear that God desired their obedience more than their sacrifices (1 Sam. 15:22). In a day and age where many are changing God’s instructions concerning worship, I think it is good to remind men that God wants obedience more than anything else. No matter how good their intentions might be, they do not trump God’s instructions.
In the fifteenth chapter of First Samuel, God instructed Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:3). As you know, Saul didn’t do that. He spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and “the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good” (1 Sam. 15:8). Saul and the people changed God’s commandment. They decided that God didn’t mean for them to destroy the best of the flocks and herds. They decided that God only meant for them to destroy what was vile and refuse. Of course, this determination was left solely up to them. Why did they think that it was okay to change God’s instructions? Evidently, they thought that it was okay to spare the best of the flocks and herds because of what they planned to do with them. Two times Saul told Samuel that these animals had been saved for sacrifices (15:15, 21). Evidently, the thinking was that since they were going to be sacrificed to God, it was okay for them to change God’s original instructions for these things to be utterly destroyed. In other words, man’s intentions trump God’s instructions. Wouldn’t this kind of thinking make all of God’s commandments subject to man’s approval? I think that you will agree that it would. Samuel was quick to point out that man’s intentions, no matter how good, do not trump obedience. We read, “And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22). Samuel further characterized Saul’s actions as rebellion and stubbornness. We read,
“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 Sam. 15:23).
Today, these instructions are sorely needed. Many are changing God’s commandments concerning worship. For example, they reason that God didn’t mean for every kind of music except for singing to be left out of the worship; even though, His instructions are extremely clear (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). They reason that God was only talking about that which was vile or refuse. Of course, the final determination is left up to them. Since these individuals deem mechanical instruments to be good, they keep them. No doubt, they further justify their actions because they plan to use these instruments to praise God. Can’t you see Saul’s thinking in their reasoning? Saul’s disobedience cost him his kingdom. The disobedience of men today may cost them an even greater kingdom – heaven.
As we get ready to worship this week, let’s make sure that we are doing exactly what God has commanded. Let’s never forget that God desires obedience more than sacrifice. Anything other than what God has commanded, amounts to rebellion and stubbornness.
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