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.
Can you imagine being at a place where you are in such a close relationship with the Lord that as soon as you hear His instruction of what is to be done, you are already keenly aware of the outcome, visualizing it in your heart? I call this Visionary Obedience. When one comes to this level of obedience, one goes beyond joy in obedience. Remember, obedience is expected at the Positional level, and at the Experiential level, obedience is given joyfully. But at the Visionary level, obedience becomes something that one lavishes upon the Lord. At this level there is an excitement about obedience that supersedes the joy of Experiential Obedience.
Visionary Obedience has grown to the place that when the instruction is given, the obedient vessel already sees the outcome in his heart. This is the level of obedience we see in Abraham when the Lord sent him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham was not hesitant in any way, for his obedience to the Lord was so proven by that point that he had already seen in a figure Isaac being raised from death and the ashes of the sacrificial fire. Experiential Obedience can be seen in Moses at the Red Sea where he was told to lift his rod over the sea. We have no indication that Moses was aware of precisely what would happen, but he DID know God would deliver Israel. That is how Moses could say to the people, “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” And with such powerful manifestations as these, let us not downplay Positional Obedience. When Peter had toiled all night, catching nothing, consider His response to Jesus when He said to Peter, “Let down your nets for a draught.” Peter responded that they had toiled all night, but “nevertheless, at Your word…” Peter realized Who it was Who was speaking to Him. This was the Lord speaking, not another fisherman.
Take a look at our Text for Today. Read the words, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Obedience pays off, my friend, regardless of the level at which it is performed; Positional, Experiential, or Visionary. Obedience is rewarded. It is the “willing and obedient” that “eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). Study obedience, my friend, and grow through it. When you obey God because He is God, and you’re not, it is Positional Obedience. When you obey God because you have grown to know you can trust whatever He says, it is Experiential Obedience. When you lavish obedience on the Lord because you can see the end from the beginning, it is Visionary Obedience.
Manna for Today – 1 Samuel 15:1-35; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; Mark 4:26-29; Hebrews 11:19