Fields: To obey is better than sacrifice

Published 7:39 pm Friday, December 15, 2017

Saul tried to justify his failure to obey what God had commanded by saying they had brought back the best of the flocks as a sacrifice to God.

Even though God had commanded him to totally “exterminate” (1 Samuel 15:18) the Amalekites, Saul seemed to think that it was more important to save some of them for a sacrifice. Where did Saul get the idea that he should do as he did? It wasn’t from God! He came up with that on his own.

God expects us to do as he commands. If we have a humble and sincere spirit toward God then we will simply do as commanded without trying to “outthink” God. We have to remember that God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8). When we think that the way of our devising is better than God’s way, then we have set our feet on a path that leads to death (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; Jer. 10:23).

When Samuel said, “to obey is better than sacrifice,” he was making the point that we must do exactly as God has commanded. To do otherwise makes our worship vain (Matt. 15:9). We may think that accompanying the singing with instrumental music would make it sound so much better and really lift people’s hearts to God. But that’s not what God said!  He said “sing,” “make melody in your hearts,” “speak to one another,” (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). We may think that a “bake sale” would be a great way to raise money for the Lord’s work. But that’s not what God said!

He said to take up a collection on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). We may think that Mr. or Mrs. Great Person is a great “Christian” because they attend the big important “church” in town and they’re always doing “good works.” But that’s not what God said. God’s word is what defines and equips us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). God said that a Christian is one who belongs to Christ through obedience to the gospel (Rom. 6:3, 4; Acts 26:28, 29).

When it comes right down to it; it doesn’t matter what I think or what you think. All that matters is what God said. I will either obey God or I won’t.

But I can’t pretend to be obedient to God when I’m really just doing what I think would be good. God didn’t tell Saul to bring back sacrifices from Amalek, so — no matter how good Saul thought it would be — it was wrong.

Norm Fields is the minister for the Church of Christ Northside meeting at 1101 Hogansville Road in LaGrange.