“To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice”

Categories: 1 Samuel, Choices, Disobedience, Judgment, Obedience, Obey, Punishment, Sacrifice, Salvation


“And Samuel said, ‘Has 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).¹


God gave clear instructions for Saul to devote to destruction all the Amalekites for their opposition to His people (1 Sam. 15.2-3). Unfortunately, Saul did not obey God’s word (8-9). The prophet Samuel asked, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (14) “Saul said, “‘They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction’” (15).

The problem is God did not say “spare some sheep and oxen to sacrifice to me.” Instead, He commanded them to devote to destruction all that had life; to completely eradicate the Amalekites from the face of this earth for punishment of their sins (18)*. Therefore, God punished Saul that day by ultimately taking away his kingdom (26, 28).

While God enjoys fragrant offerings and sacrifices to Him, He does not tolerate disobedience to His word. One cannot choose to disobey part of a command to try and please Him with part of another command. In other words, the end does not justify the means or “to obey is better than sacrifice.”

If you’re interested in learning more about fully obeying God, then e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.


*For additional study of why a loving God would devote whole nations to destruction under the Old Testament please click here.

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