It is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit lately.
Obedience: “the willingness to carry out the orders of another” (Webster’s Dictionary); “dutiful or submissive compliance”; “compliance” (dictionary.com).
We are taught obedience from a young age. We will teach our pets to obey. Some spend money on “obedience school” to get it done properly. It is no easy feat yet, it is a most important trait for us to determine to become.
Saul was King of the Israelites. The time came that the Lord instructed them to attack their enemies, the Amalekites, “totally putting to death men & women, children & infants, cattle & sheep, camels & donkeys” (1 Samuel 15: 3 NIV). They were told “Do not spare them”.
What does King Saul do? They attack “but Saul & the army spared Agag (King of the Amalekites) & the best of the sheep & cattle, the fat calves & lambs – everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised & weak they totally destroyed.” (verses 8-9 NIV).
Perhaps King Saul thought partial obedience was not the same as disobedience.
When approached by the prophet Samuel, King Saul adds to his problem, he lies. Samuel comes to him & Saul tells him that he has carried out the Lord’s instructions. Samuel counters him that he hears the bleating of the animals in his ears. Saul knows he has now been caught. As a poor leader will do, he passes the buck off onto the soldiers. King Saul goes on to explain that “they spared the best of the sheep & cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God” (verse 15). Wait! When had God become only Samuel’s God? And if we noticed in verse 9, they were unwilling to obey.
Disobedience for reasons that may seem right, religious even? It still equals – disobedience.
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15: 22.23 NLT).
Today I realized that the best offering I can bring to the Lord is obedience.
May He give me a heart & a mind that is always willing to obey Him. No matter how difficult. No matter the cost. Obedience is better. Submission is better.