1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV) – 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 listen than the fat of rams.
We have two golden doodles in our family. In the picture, Champ is laying down and Chief is sitting. They are so much fun. They fetch, at least most of the time. They listen and lay down when I ask them to, at least most of the time. They want to please me, at least most of the time. They listen to my voice, at least most of the time.
Sometimes Chief wants to do things based on what he wants. I’ll call him and he will just look at me like he is saying, “I’m good, are you?” When he does that, he really is doing his own thing and is not listening to my voice!
In the above verse Samuel is responding to the fact that King Saul had crossed over from being the King of Israel to taking on a priestly function. Saul decided that he would sacrifice a burnt offering on his own since Samuel wasn’t around. In other words, Saul did his own thing without regard to following God, even though burnt offerings were supposed to be a good thing.
What Saul did is an ongoing temptation for me. I want to do my own thing. I even think that doing “spiritual” things are always good. I think that is what Saul thought. Burnt offerings are good, right? For me, my spiritual disciplines like reading, praying, and pondering, are good, right?
Well, the verses from 1 Samuel challenge me in my thinking. Everything I do, even the “spiritual” things, are always a lower priority to obeying the voice of the Lord. That is not to say that I shouldn’t have spiritual disciplines in my life! I need them. But if doing my disciplines becomes more important than listening and obeying the voice of God, I am being disobedient.
Disobeying God is a big deal. Instead, I want to constantly focus on listening and obeying the voice of the Lord. I want God’s agenda, not my own.
Prayer: Dear God, it is so easy for me to be distracted and to do what I want to do, even when I think that what I am doing ought to please You. Lord, I want to listen to You. I want to obey You. I choose to let go of my own agenda and to embrace Yours.