“Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?’ And Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, … but the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.’ 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 hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.’” (1 Samuel 15:19-23)
Our first reading this morning contains a rather painful episode of Saul’s rejection as king of Israel. From this reading, we can see that there is no such thing as partial obedience. It is either we obey or do not obey. Avoid giving excuses. For Saul, his excuse for disobedience was to offer the booty as a sacrifice to God. However, as Samuel would clarify, obedience is better than sacrifice.
Indeed, obeying God’s commandment is in itself a sacrifice. It is not easy to keep these commandments. It is not easy to turn against the current of the world today especially in the area of morality. It is not easy to deny the flesh of the pleasures it craves especially when the people around you are constantly pressurizing you to give in.
Before you make up your mind to fall to sin, think of Saul and let the words of Samuel ring a bell again in your heart: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice …Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23. Sin removes our Kingship.
Sin always appears like enjoyment, sin presents itself to us as something worthwhile, something palatable but in the end, we soon realize that sin is self-cheating. It is shutting ourselves out from the real enjoyment, the real fun, and happiness that God himself has ordained for us.
This is the start of a new week, Jesus wants us to always put new wine into new wineskins. Let us resolve this week to be new in thoughts, new in words, and new in actions. Let us strive to put sin aside, trust God more by obeying his voice to the latter and rise above human pressure. Let us move away from being people-pleasers to God-pleasers.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my trust in you. Amen
Bible Study: 1 Sam. 15:16-23, Ps. 50:8-9,16-17,21,23, Mark 2:18-22).