God Desires Obedience
There’s kind of a common expression in the Old Testament that God desires obedience more than sacrifice. If you’ve ever wondered about why that is, perhaps we can touch on that here.
Why is obedience more important to God than sacrifice? And in the same sense, mercy is more important to God than sacrifice. The point is that anyone can offer a sacrifice. Sacrifices are supposed to be costly, no doubt about that. The unblemished, firstborn lamb, the best of the litter is what God desires. He always wants us to sacrifice our absolute best. Obedience is something that we can’t really plan. It’s not something that’s in our control. A sacrifice is something we can plan for, it’s something that we can offer to God on our own schedule. It’s similar to a person that can stand up in a pulpit or attend a bible class or be religious on a particular day of the week with an evangelistic program.
Those are sacrifices that one might make, and even though they may seem valiant or spiritual, the fact is obedience is a higher calling than sacrifice, because obedience is out of our control. Sacrifice we can do on our own time, in our own way. We can, in a sense have control over that. Obedience says that when we are offended, we grant mercy instead of more religious sacrifice. We are not willing to hold any bitterness in our heart, we are not willing to allow temptations to overcome us or disobedience to God to enter into our lives without addressing it and dealing with it vigorously.
Obedience is more important to God than sacrifice. Samuel in the Old Testament addressed Saul and pointed out that he was cut off forever and forever. The reason why he was cut off from his kingship and the authority that God had granted him was because he was willing to make a religious sacrifice, to do the religious things, but the simple commands of God were overlooked because it wasn’t convenient for him, it wasn’t what he wanted. It didn’t make sense to him. That’s the nature of much of the religious world or the religion that we can find in our own heart, is doing the right thing when it’s in our control, giving sacrifices to God that seem meritorious, but God demands obedience beyond sacrifice. More important than sacrifice is obedience and giving total control over to God rather than maintaining it ourselves.