But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
Jesus Christ came into the world some 2000 years ago, lived a sinless life, ministered powerfully and miraculously for 3 years, then was arrested, beaten, refused trial, mocked, publicly shamed, paraded, crucified… Crucified for our sins. Isaiah 51 says He was ‘wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities… All we like sheep have gone astray'… In terms of whether or not we needed a saviour to pay the price for our sins – make a sacrifice to God to bring us back in right relationship – we all, every single person, in times past and to come, need a saviour.
I used to think of this verse in 1 Sam 15:22 and feel condemned because I always ended up needing the sacrifice – I found it impossible to maintain complete obedience. We all needed Jesus to make that sacrifice for us, replacing the Old Testament sacrifice of a lamb to atone for our sins. A more eternal, final, complete sacrifice – once and for all, for all mankind. As we walk out our life with Christ from the moment of salvation, it's His Grace that enables us to be obedient. We will always need to access mercy and forgiveness, but as a disciple of Christ, He empowers us to grow in our choices and strength, to obey His word and call.
Obedience is better than sacrifice… It is better for us to grow our character and moral strength with obedience, than to continue to be trapped by sin and constantly seeking forgiveness. We first glorify the moment we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, then we glorify Him as we allow His Word to work its way into our hearts and then out through our living. Accept His sacrifice with all your heart and call on it the moment you need it, but live obediently, overcoming your flesh and sins, and being empowered by Grace. Love you guys.