22 And Samuel said,
â€œHas 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 listen than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22 ESV
How easy is it to sit back and read the story of Saul and judge him? He was ridiculous from the beginning. He was insecure and yet prideful. His greatest concern as the first leader of the nation of Israel was how the people would see him. He was a narcissist who built a monument to himself after winning a battle under God’s strength while disobeying a direct order from God.
But look a little deeper and you’ll see any one of us at any given time. How many times do we find the motions of rules and sacrifice easier than obedience because that obedience is uncomfortable? And yet, just as in Samuel’s day, the message is the same. Jesus doesn’t demand of us a litany of rules. The law did not die with Him; indeed he came to fulfill that Law and give us grace for our failures and the Holy Spirit to strengthen us.
This week I encourage you to unshackle yourself from the burdens of any rules that you have set for yourself without Christ’s guidance, and instead rely on the relationship you have with Him to guide you. Indeed, it is not empty sacrifice that He is asking for; it is our obedience that He truly seeks.