1 Samuel 15:22 – And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.
Take a moment to read our Text for Today again, especially the last two phrases. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Realizing that the Old Testament was one of regular, if not consistent, blood sacrifice of animals, and accompanying offerings, including but not limited to, grain, herbs, spices, and the like, the phrases I have referenced are staggeringly poignant.
Though commanded by the Lord for so many actions and functions of life in the Old Testament, perhaps the greatest being the sacrifices commanded for Passover and Atonement, we observe the very New Testament concept set forth through Samuel that obedience is “better than sacrifice.” We see in the New Testament that Jesus was made the final sacrifice for sin. There is no more day of atonement, but we have now come to redemption by the blood of Jesus who became the ultimate sacrifice “once and for all.” Yet the walk of love, which is the overriding commandment of the New Testament is synonymous with obedience, for “this is the love of God, that you keep His commandments.”
Our salvation is not of works, for we have received it by grace through faith. If our salvation were of works, we could boast in it, but we can boast in nothing but the works of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. We still have sacrifices we are commanded to offer, but in the New Covenant, it falls into the category of the sacrifice of praise, or service to others. As great as sacrifice may appear to those who are observing us, still the Word of God is true. “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” If our sacrifice is not preceded by obedience to the Word, our sacrifice becomes little more than a “sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.”
Obedience to the Word of God is love lived and wisdom in operation. It is the spiritual force by which our faith is empowered to achieve all the Word says it can do. It is when the believer is both willing and obedient that they eat the “good of the land.” It cannot be stressed too much. Your greatest act as a believer will always be obedience to the Word of God, willfully and joyfully carrying out the will, plan, and purpose of our great Lord God Jehovah. OBEY!
Manna for Today – 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; John 15:7; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; Matthew 7:24-27; Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Isaiah 1:19