Good Friday evening to all. Please enjoy your weekend and keep God close to your heart. If you are available, join us tonight at 7:00 p.m. for a time of prayer. Dial 10605-562-8401. Access code is 670-7270.
See today’s message below:
I remember being in a church years ago when I heard a pastor make reference to the fact that “obedience is better than sacrifice.” He was encouraging the congregation to reach deeper into their pockets to support the cause. It was as if he was a dictator and the people were his puppets on a string. I can remember people leaving the service going to their cars and getting their checkbooks. Some giving their last dime. Some of the people didn’t know how they would pay their next month’s rent. I remember saying to myself, what fools, for they have misinterpreted what God says about obedience.
Samuel answered, “What pleases the Lord more: burnt offerings and sacrifices or obedience to his voice? It is better to obey than to sacrifice. It is better to listen to God than to offer the fat of sheep.”
One of the most difficult problems God had with his chosen people was disobedience. God was continuously punishing the people of Israel because of their hard heads and disobedient spirit. God kept them in the wilderness for 40 years because of their disobedience. Even a new generation was obedient for a while, but fell into the same pattern as the earlier generation.
Samuel was a prophet in the Old Testament who had a bold spirit and did not have a problem speaking truth to King Saul. When Israel’s army and King Saul had just defeated the Amalekites, old enemies constantly threatened the Israelites and how they lived. God told Saul to conquer the Amalekites and to totally destroy their flocks and possessions. However, Saul took it upon himself and destroyed the sick animals and possessions that were worthless. Saul and his army kept for themselves what was valuable. When Samuel confronted Saul’s disobedience, the king’s excuse was that he did not intend to keep the animals, rather he was going to sacrifice them to God.
Saul’s story was not convincing to Samuel, for he knew what was of most importance to God.
When we disobey God, He is not pleased with us. When we disobey God, we are falling into the trap of Satan. When we listen to God and do as he request, we are giving God a gift he appreciates and receives more than our sacrifice and praise. God wants our hearts more than he wants our sacrifices and praises.
Later God forgave Saul after his confession, but Saul still had to suffer the consequences for his disobedience. If we read this story more closely, we will find that Saul lost his throne because of his greed and deceitfulness.
Most of us will agree that there are times when it is difficult to be obedient to God, but he requires it of us. Just as a parent requires it of us when we were under their roofs, God demands it of us while on our Christian journey.
The dictionary defines obedience as dutiful or submissive compliance. For a believer, that means we surrender our will to God. To sacrifice is to give up, renounce, or destroy, especially for and ideal or belief. It is releasing something to God that has meaning and worth to us.
Tony Evan’s Bible Commentary says it like this: “In other words the Lord calls people to submit to His agenda, not to attempt to honor Him with our own agendas.”
When we are obedient to God, it proves that we love Him, honor Him and we are willing to follow Him so that He might be glorified.
1 John 2: 3 says, “Our obedience is actually part of our assurance that we truly know God for ourselves.”
One of the most heartbreaking observances is when a child disobeys and disrespect its parents, especially in public. It breaks God’s heart when we disrespect and disobey Him in private and public.
May we strive to be more obedient to the Word of God. Just imagine what the world would look like.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor