- Religion and Philosophy
God's Rules Of Engagement: Obedience is Better than Sacrifice
Table Of Contents
- 1 Samuel 15:22
- God’s Rules of Engagement on a Mission – A Test for King Saul’s Obedience
- King Saul's Excuse
- Do We Fear God or Man?
1 Samuel 15:22
‘Obedience is better than sacrifice’ is a famous Bible quote found in 1 Samuel 15:22. What is God’s principle of ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’ and what does it really mean? In this hub, I share my thoughts on what obedience is better than sacrifice means.
To understand any scripture verse in its entirety, it is important to read the whole chapter or chapters in which it occurs to understand the context. In this case, it is 1 Samuel chapter 15.
God’s Rules of Engagement on a Mission – A Test for King Saul’s Obedience
In 1 Samuel 15, Prophet Samuel tells King Saul to heed the voice of the LORD and co-operate with Him to punish Amalek for what it did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came out of Egypt. God gave specific instructions on how that mission was to be accomplished, and that is to “utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them”.
Saul attacked the Amalekites and utterly destroyed the people. “But Saul and the people spared Agag (king of the Amalekites) and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed”.
The rules of engagement for this mission regarding the spoils of war was breached and even though King Saul saw that God’s command was disobeyed, he did not do anything and everything in his power to stop it. This is where the principle of obedience is demonstrated. Saul chose to obey the people or “go with the crowd” and did not obey the invisible God who anointed him king over Israel.
Do we remain true and faithful soldiers to God’s rules of engagement in our lives?
King Saul's Excuse
Saul’s response to Prophet Samuel shows arrogance and rebellion. Saul plays down the fact that God is the higher authority and he did not submit to Him by fully obeying what He commanded. Saul’s response also indicates he is not a God-fearing and responsible leader.
Saul is blaming the people for bringing back the best of the spoils of the war. Then he tells the prophet the reason for this, “to sacrifice to the LORD your God”. It is interesting that Saul says "your" God! Was He not the God of Saul and Samuel?
God is expecting us to simply obey Him, obey His Word. But many times, we do not stick with our rules of engagement and our mission on earth. We do things contrary to His Word and expect God to be pleased with our good deeds that we accomplished. Once again, obedience is better than sacrifice.
Do We Fear God or Man?
Saul said he “feared the people and obeyed their voice”, instead of God. The Bible says “the LORD regretted that He made Saul king over Israel”. This is a very strong statement. Do we do things God forbids in fear of man or what man would say?
The Bible is full of promises of the many blessings that comes with the fear of the LORD. Saul chose to fear man and not God, and therefore he was dethroned and eliminated early in battle. The same is true for us today. We can reject God’s blessings, even without knowing it, if we do not have the fear of the LORD in our lives.
In order to be obedient to authority, the obeying person has to accept that it is the legitimate (i.e. rightful, legal) for the command to be made of them. God and His Word is our final Authority. If we do not accept that God is the Author and Finisher of our faith and He is the Ultimate Authority, it will be living a life of rebellion.
Our quest for obedience to God must therefore be fueled by a genuine love relationship with our Creator, Who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.