June 21: To Obey God Is Better Than Giving Him a Sacrifice

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 21:3-4, 27

“To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)

When King Saul disobeyed the Lord’s commands, the Prophet Samuel rebuked him and 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” (1 Samuel 15:22).

God was very grieved with Saul because of his disobedience. He said to Samuel, “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night” (1 Samuel 15:11).

Saul’s sin was three-fold:

  1. He refused to obey God’s commands to him.
  2. He lied about it to Samuel.
  3. He saved the enemy’s cattle, which God had ordered to be slaughtered (probably because they were diseased), and wanted to sacrifice them to God.

What a fool he was to think he could please God by giving to God that which God wanted destroyed!

He was not an honest man. So he could not know how evil his heart was, and so he opened the door to the devil. That is why he became demon-possessed.

How much better if he had been honest and dealt with justice before the Lord! How quickly he failed after he was anointed to be king! His life is one of the greatest tragedies in the Bible.

“An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” (Proverbs 21:4)

There is something strange about a proud man that is expressed and revealed by “body language.” A man’s haughty look is his “signal” of the wickedness that is in his heart. It identifies his wickedness (pride is wickedness). A person doesn’t need to “do” things to be wicked. Pride, in itself, is wickedness before God, and He hates it.

It matters not what work or deeds a proud man does, whatever it is, pride is the motive behind it. So all his deeds, even his so-called philanthropic ones are wicked.

What is the use of a man giving great donations and gifts if he does it out of pride, rather than compassion? Even his giving is a sin because he desires the praises people give him.

And this is true in whatever we do, whether it is in giving or in doing, if it is done so that we can obtain honour, fame, and prominence, it is wrong.

King Saul had a proud heart, and that tainted all his deeds. Even his sacrifices to God were defiled by his pride.

Samuel rebuked Saul for his pride, “And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” (1 Samuel 15:17).

Many who were anointed when they were humble become proud after God begins to use them. As a result they bring great shame to the Lord, and they lose all their eternal rewards.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Proverbs 21:27)

When a wicked man brings a sacrifice to God it is contaminated because everything a wicked man touches is defiled with a curse.

Abraham refused to accept so much as a shoestring from the King of Sodom because Sodom was exceedingly wicked and sinful, and everything in the city was cursed.

So the sinners “sacrifice” is contaminated with a curse. That is bad in itself, but if the wicked man brings his sacrifice for wicked reasons, that is even a greater sin and abomination. And God, who knows what is in every heart, knows just why the wicked man wants to give a sacrifice, and what his motives are. Perhaps it is because he wants to appear to be righteous when he is not.

Cain brought an unacceptable sacrifice to God and it was rejected.

When the Children of Israel made a golden calf they offered sacrifices to it (Exodus 32:8).

King Uzziah was a good king, but pride entered his heart and he usurped the priest’s office and insisted on entering the Temple and burning incense to God which the Lord said only priests could do (2 Chronicles 26:15-21).

The important thing is not the sacrifice we offer, it is the attitude of the heart when we bring our sacrifice.

Two things must be without blemish:

The sacrifice we bring to God.

The state of our heart when we bring the sacrifice.



Gems of Wisdom by Gwen Shaw
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