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1 Samuel 15:22-23Common English Bible (CEB)

22 Then Samuel replied,

“Does the Lord want entirely burned offerings and sacrifices
    as much as obedience to the Lord?
Listen to this: obeying is better than sacrificing,
    paying attention is better than fat from rams,
23 because rebellion is as bad as the sin of divination;
    arrogance is like the evil of idolatry.[a]
Because you have rejected what the Lord said,
    he has rejected you as king.”

Not everybody shows love the same way.  Some folks want to give and receive gifts to show love. Some folks love by giving of their time.  Others show love by their words. Some people really do live out that actions speak louder than words.  And others, well they prefer to give and receive hugs. (My summary of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages)

The bible reveals God to us.  It also shows the long history of a loving relationship and it’s up and downs.  One of the keys to any great relationship is communication.  That involves asking for what we need and listening to what the other person in the relationship needs.

Here in 1 Samuel 15, Samuel the prophet is speaking to King Saul, who has not done as God had instructed him.  God had instructed Saul to take no plunder when his army destroyed the Amalekites, but Saul and his men didn’t follow orders.  They thought they were doing good, they kept some of the best cattle and sheep to sacrifice to God.  That’s where Samuel comes in and speaks these words. (1 Samuel 15: 22-23)

Ultimately doing good things his own way and not God’s way, will get Saul replaced as king.  What does God want?  God doesn’t just want us to go around doing good things, like making offerings and sacrifices.  What the Lord wants is our attentiong and our obedience.  Can you see the heart of The Father as the Ultimate Parental?  A parent doesn’t need provision from the child, but obedience, well that’s a different story.  Obedience will bring opporutunity to teach you how to live.  Listening is the start, following is the heart.  Obedience may seem like a bad word these days, but it is a biblical word.  Here, obedience is how God wants to be loved.  God wants us to listen and follow.

God loves us. (John 3: 16-17) The question becomes how do we love God?  Yes, bring your offerings of your time, your treasure, you good deeds, you words of praise, but most of all bring your ears and your heart.  We show God our love first and foremost by listening and following.  That’s how God wants us to be loved.

“Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far to small, Love so amazing so divine, demands my life my soul, my all.” – Isaac Watts ,When I Survey the Wonderous Cross


1.  Where do you need to surrender to God, (Obedience)?

2. Where do you struggle with obedience to God?  Finances?  Relationships?  Time?  Something else?  This is a great question for growing as a disciple.

2.  Where are you doing good on your own, but finding struggles?  This is good place to check if this good thing you are doing is your will and your way or God’s will and God’s way.

Prayer: Lord, Ultimate Parental, Your love longs for what is best for us.  Today, help us to be better than good by helping us to lay aside our selfish goodness. Today let us be great in loving You by following Your will and Your ways. Thy will be done.  Amen.