Thought for Today
“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned:
for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord,
and thy words: because I feared the people,
and obeyed their voice”
1 Samuel 15:24
The above scripture taken from the narrative of Saul’s life is one of a long and sad commentary on his reign in Israel. This event serves as a stern warning to us as to what the Lord considers obedience. Saul’s “partial obedience” is confronted by the Prophet Samuel concerning the Amalekites.
“And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?”
1 Samuel 15:18-19
“But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal”
1 Samuel 15:21
Saul had partially fulfilled the Word of the Lord to him. He had destroyed the Amalekites, but he kept the king alive and allowed the people to keep the spoils of battle to “sacrifice” them to the Lord.
“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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king”
1 Samuel 15:22-23
In God’s eyes partial obedience is sin and disobedience. Religious sin is when His ministers obey the voice of the people rather than God. It is one of the greatest of all sins for when those who are directly responsible for expressing God’s will and way in the earth corrupt their allegiance to Him, God’s name is blasphemed. Religious sin is always cloaked in the pretense of worshiping God, honoring God or serving God. Yet He who weighs the thoughts and intents of the heart sees it as disobedience and rebellion. The religious sin of appearing to serve the Lord (see the sin of Ananias and Sapphira Acts 5:1-11) is ever shrouded in deceit to appear spiritual to those around us. Things which should be destroyed or forsaken are instead offered up to God as a sacrifice.
Religious sin is found wherever and whenever men and women listen to the voice of the people rather than to God. When the appearance of a thing is more important than obedience, when that which the Lord has spoken is compromised with the desire to be pleasing in the sight of the people rather than in the sight of God, the result is rejection and sorrow.
“Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord,
he hath also rejected thee from being king”
Obedience is the highest and purest expression of true worship and sacrifice.
“For do I now persuade men, or God?
or do I seek to please men?
for if I yet pleased men,
I should not be the servant of Christ”