“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of the rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
King Saul, the first anointed King of Israel led the Israelites to many battles against their enemies and one such battle was the battle with Amalekites. Through Prophet Samuel, God commanded Saul to destroy all the Amalekites with all their belongings (1 Samuel 15:3). Saul destroyed everything, but spared King Agag, the best of the sheep, cattle, calves and lambs- everything that was good. God grieved over Saul for his disobedience and rejected him as the King of Israel. When Samuel asked Saul about his disobedience, he justified his disobedience by saying “I took it for the sacrifice unto the Lord” (1 Samuel 15:21-22). It was then Samuel replied “To obey is better than Sacrifice”. Firstly, Saul didn’t take God’s command seriously and so disobeyed him. We who are chosen in Christ are expected to do God’s will on earth. Sometimes we get tempted as Saul got tempted seeing the best of the sheep and cattle. If Saul had known what he would lose His kingdom by disobeying God he would not have dared to disobey God. He did the same mistake Eve did to disobey God, choosing what was good in his own eyes and eventually lost his kingship. Saul forgot that it was God who gave him the authority and He would take it away if he disobeys him. In the same way, we who are saved by God and been given the authority to be called His children lose the promises that He has kept for us when we don’t take His word seriously and disobey (Matthew 7 21-23). Secondly, Saul didn’t seek God’s mercy. A parallel verse in Hosea clarifies, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6). God is a merciful God (Psalm 25:6) and throughout the Bible we see that He is a merciful God. He expects us to desire mercy when He reminds us of our sin against Him (Psalm 28:6). When Prophet Nathan rebuked David for his Sin against God after he killed Uriah for Bathsheba, David’s instant reply was “I have sinned against the Lord”. The same is the case with the people of Nineveh when Jonah warned them. But here Saul was trying to justify his sin by saying it was a sacrifice, doing the same mistake Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden justifying their act by blaming each other. Saul’s attitude was wrong and He was rebellious against God. It reflected when he treated David and his people mercilessly after that (Matthew 5:7). As Christians, we should be able to yearn for God’s mercy through His son Jesus Christ when he rebukes us of our sin (1 John 1:8-9). It is through David who desired mercy, His everlasting Kingdom was established. Remember that no sacrifice/ Offerings (Act of Worship) that we could offer unto God would be able to replace the importance of our commitment to obey His word and His voice. It is through obeying we can do God’s will on this earth. And nothing is nobler than desiring God’s mercy through His son Jesus Christ when we fail. God can be pleased only through our obedience. He gives priority to an obeying heart than hearing ears, giving hands, singing and preaching lips. Because everything finds meaning only through obedience and not our offerings to Him in any form. Obedience and Desiring Mercy manifests our faith.