Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice

The Oxford Languages defines the word obedience as, “compliance with an order, request, or submission to another’s authority”. For a believer of Christ, it means giving God a total “yes” and surrendering our will to Him. The Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice as, “to suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief, or end.”

As you see, there is a major difference between those two definitions. Sometimes, we get them mixed up. We believe that by making sacrifices in our life, that we are being obedient. In reality, that is not the case. When we make a sacrifice, we give up something and see it as a loss. When we are obedient, it is not because we think we are losing/giving something up. It is an act of submission to God. We’re not at a loss of anything when we are obedient. 

God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son in Genesis 22. Although Abraham was willing to literally sacrifice his son, God didn’t really want Abraham’s sacrifice. God wanted to see if Abraham would be obedient. After discovering that Abraham would be obedient, God told Abraham not to do it. It was only a test to check his heart of obedience. See, God doesn’t need our sacrifices. It is important to always do what He says, even when we don’t understand. We must ask Him to posture our hearts to say “yes” to His Will at all times.

It can be easier said than done. But with strength from God, all things are possible. We are entering a new season where extreme obedience is very vital. We can’t delay when God tells us to move. We can’t ponder on if/who will be upset, look at us funny, or think we’re weird. We have to act now. It is dangerous to be disobedient to God. We cannot expect our sacrifices to replace our obedience to the Lord.

We learn of a person in the bible who didn’t fully commit and be obedient to God. Saul was chosen to be the first king of Israel. God chose him for this position. Although Saul was somewhat obedient to God, he wasn’t 100%. God specifically told Saul to destroy all the Amalekites, but something within Saul didn’t want to comply with that order. Saul didn’t have his heart postured for surrendering to God’s will. Instead, he had his heart fixated on his own selfish will. He made sacrifices but didn’t obey God.

Therefore, instead of submitting to God’s order and destroying all the Amalekites, he did things his way. He destroyed the Amalekites but kept the king alive to make his own name great. Saul wanted to keep king Agag alive to honor his own victory. In modern times, Saul wanted clout instead of a willingness to obey God. He wanted his ego stroked for such a victory. We have to be carry to not try to bring glory to ourselves instead of to God. Saul even tried to be slick and spare some of the best animals for a prize of his own. Furthermore, he acted as if the animals were going to be sacrificed for the Lord. But here’s the thing, God didn’t need Saul’s sacrifices. God needed Saul’s obedience.

Because of this, God was not pleased with Saul. The prophet Samuel brought a Word to Saul that he would be replaced with a man after God’s own heart. This is evident once again, that Saul’s heart wasn’t postured right. The interesting thing is that Samuel was the same person who anointed Saul as king, but now he had to denounce Saul as king. See, Samuel was extremely obedient. Samuel had the right heart to comply with what God ordered him to do—rebuke Saul as the king for his disobedience (1 Samuel 13). 

Now, what does all of this mean in our lives? How can we sum things up? In simple times, we must obey God at all times. No matter what the circumstances look like. If God tells us to do something or not to do something, we should submit to His order. We read what happened to Saul when he didn’t obey. God replaced Saul with David. Why? Because David had a heart after God (1 Samuel 13:14). God knew that David would submit to Him versus offering sacrifices. See, when we don’t obey God, He will not beg us to. God doesn’t have to wait for us to get right in order to carry out His plans. God can “get someone else to do it” as the viral Tik Tok lady said. But on a serious note, He appointed David because Saul wouldn’t do what he told him to. 

Sometimes, we feel an urge from God to move on behalf of a situation (whether audible, through dreams, etc.). Other times, God speaks to us through other people (whether a prophet, pastor, friend, televangelist, stranger, etc.). When we know God has spoken to us, we can’t procrastinate. We do not have time to wait around when God tells us to act. We also cannot compromise, or half obey. Part obedience is still disobedience. It is either all or nothing with God. His Word says, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). That means, if you plan to serve God, you must be willing to surrender your will for his and be obedient. 

1 Samuel 15:22 NLT says, “But Samuel replied, “what is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”

This verse explains how Samuel posed an essential question for Saul after his rebellion. What sticks out to me is, “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. It is so true. God wants our obedience more than He wants our sacrifices. 

So, the next time God orders you to do something, do it. That may be to walk away from a friendship/relationship, speak a Word to a stranger in Walmart (yes, we’re ALL called to prophesy), pray for an enemy who has wronged/hurt you, open that business with the little money you have for the kingdom, go on a fast (and not a social media fast, but a “push the plate back” fast), write that song that is going to bring healing to others, pay for the grocery of that older man in the checkout line, change that major in college, sow a seed into someone’s ministry or life, etc.  

There are times when we are afraid to be obedient because we don’t know the outcome. But here’s the catch, we don’t need to know the outcome. We just need to submit to God. He knows the outcome. Furthermore, if He’s ordering us to do something, He will not steer us wrong. Proverbs 3:5 NLT says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” 

There have been moments in my life when God clearly spoke to me about a situation or person. God gave me direct orders to take. As frustrated as I was, I was obedient. I wanted to know why I had to do this or that, but I couldn’t wait around until I had an answer. I had to act quick and be obedient. Sometimes it was painful and other times it was a big relief. Both ways, I was at peace because I obeyed my Father. In the end, I can look back on those days (years, weeks, and months ago) and thank God that I obeyed Him. I can praise God that I moved on His behalf. 

Say this prayer with me:

Dear Lord,

Help me to submit to your plan and purpose for my life. Posture my heart to surrender and say “yes” to Your Will and Your Way. Teach me to obey you in all areas of my life. Remove any fear from my mind when you order me to do something. I know that all fear is of the devil. Your Word says in 1 Timothy 1:7 KJV, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and a of a sound mind.” I ask you to strengthen me in areas that I am weak, so that I can move as you need me to. Lord, help me to follow through with the instructions you give me. Psalm 19:7-11 tells me that there is a great reward for those who obey your instructions. I decree and declare in the name of Jesus that I will live a life that honors you and obey you.

Amen. 

Thank you SO much for reading my first blog of 2023. I believe that God has SO much in store this year. I am excited to share more Words from the Lord as I receive them. If this blog blessed you, please share it with a friend or loved one. Also, leave a comment below letting me know how it impacted your life. If there is anything I can pray for you about, complete the “Contact Me” form. See you soon!

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