Obedience and Sacrifice
37, 2003)
Olubi Johnson

1 Sam 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.

Here we see God rebuking Saul through Samuel the prophet, who was telling him that obedience is better than sacrifice.

Many times we try to substitute sacrifice for obedience, but God will not receive it because God cannot be bribed.

We must have obedience first, and then our sacrifice will be pleasing to God.

What is best and what God desires is obedience and the sacrifice that is necessary for obedience to be complete.

In many cases it takes sacrifice to obey God.

It took a sacrifice of feelings and desires for Abraham to obey God to take Isaac to mount Moriah to offer him as a burnt offering.

So the sacrifice of self-denial is a necessary path to obedience.

Furthermore, the Bible calls our praise, worship and thanksgiving a sacrifice to God.

Heb 13:15
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Many times Christians try to substitute the sacrifice of praise worship for the obedience of prayer and study, meditation, confession and obedience of the Word.

So you find them spending very little time in prayer and plenty of time in praise and worship or listening to Christian music as a form of worship, thinking that the sacrifice of worship will substitute for the obedience of prayer and the Word.

They do this because praise and listening to music is easier on the flesh than praying in the spirit and studying, meditating, confessing and acting on the Word.

Of course this will not work: it only produces lazy, weak, deceived and conceited Christians.

Yes, God wants our praise and worship but He wants it on a foundation of a life of obedience by the Spirit through prayer and the Word.

That is why Jesus said in

John 4:24
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

We must worship God not only in spirit: by singing and praise, but in truth or sincerity, which implies a life style of obedience.

Praise and worship is a powerful weapon but it works most effectively when there is a background or foundation of prayer and obedience: we see this with Paul and Silas in Acts 16.25 and Jehoshaphat in 2 Chr. 20.1-23.

So let us endeavour to give God obedience by the spirit and then the sacrifice of praise and worship that will be well pleasing to Him.