Obedience Is Always Better Than Worship

In 1 Samuel 15, God instructed King Saul to attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything that belonged to them – men, women, children, and ALL livestock. (You can read about God’s reason for this in Exodus 17:8-16, Deuteronomy 25:17-19, and 1 Samuel 15:1-2) So, in response to God’s instruction, King Saul mobilized his army and attacked the Amalekites. However, verse 9 tells us that King Saul and his men spared Agag’s life, the Amalekite king, and kept the best of the livestock, destroying only what was worthless or of poor quality. When the prophet Samuel confronts Saul, Saul tells Samuel that the livestock is going to be sacrificed to the Lord. We find Samuel’s response in verse 22.

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

The Israelites worshiped God by bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices to Him. Today, we worship God by singing songs of praise, praying, studying God’s Word, and taking our ordinary everyday lives and placing them before God as an offering. Having said this, 1 Samuel 15:22 tells us that God does not want nor delight in our “acts” of worship if we have not obeyed Him. The Lord delights in an obedient heart. Our worship is never intended to function in place of living an obedient life. Our worship should always be an expression of our lives of obedience.

The obvious instructions God has given us come directly from His Word. Love the Lord your God, love your neighbor, be kind to one another, don’t let any corrupt communication come out of your mouth, have faith in God, don’t worry about anything, and instead pray. There are many instructions in God’s Word that we need to obey and regularly make life adjustments when needed.

God also gives us instructions through the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit inside us. He may have asked you to pray for someone specific. Maybe He has been prompting you to eat better, or exercise, spend less time on social media, and more time with Him or your family. Maybe God has been dealing with you about the amount of activities you have committed to. Have you recently heard God’s instruction through the voice of the Holy Spirit? Have you obeyed?

How much easier it is for us to worship with religious acts than with a life of obedience! Though God delights in our songs, hymns and spiritual songs, how much more is He honored by the music of our submission to His will? May God be truly praised by the harmony between our words of worship and our deeds of obedience.

Obedience before worship,
Pastor Tom

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