TODAY’S MEDITATION – Obedience is better than sacrifice (Mark 12:28-34)

All of us want to do works to please the Lord. Many people are conscious of the call of duty the believers have received but what would it profit any of us if we served God without obeying His simple commands? My brother, my sister, we do reap spiritual rewards and blessings when we obey God first.
Unfortunately, sometimes, we fail to see and properly understand that God considers obedience, simple obedience, better than sacrifice. Let’s look at the Bible to clarify this: through Samuel, God instructed Saul to go and exterminate the Amalekites and all their livestock. But Saul and the people spared Agag, the Amalekite’s king, and all the best of the livestock. Then, when Samuel came on the scene, Saul claimed he had obeyed God and said it was the people who had spared the best of the sheep and oxen that should have been sacrificed to God. Hearing this, the Bible says: “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king’.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23) When we continuing reading in this chapter, we see the result of Saul’s disobedience: God rejected him from being king over Israel (1 Samuel 15:26).
Yes, my friend, God punished Saul very severely, not only for disobeying Him but also for thinking he could bribe God by making a great sacrifice to God that would cause God to forget his disobedience to His simple command to exterminate the Amalekites and all their livestock. You may say that this was a single incident that happened very long ago, but does the principle apply today? Of course, it does because God does not change. Therefore, when you are thinking of ways you can do great things for God, you should first ask yourself whether you are doing the simple things of obedience He is expecting of you. My friend, God expects us to do the simple day-to-day things He is asking us to do such as prayer, Bible study, fasting, tithing, honouring the Sabbath properly, controlling our thoughts and our tongue, working on our own personal weaknesses and getting along with one another. Remember these words of Jesus:“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24).
My friend, the simple things we know we should do every single day to please God and that we sometimes neglect mean much more than any great gift, sacrifice or service we might give to God. Sacrifices are good, but should never be used as substitutes for simple obedience. Also, remember the story of the scribe who asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment of all. Jesus said it was to love God and love your neighbour as yourself. The scribe agreed and added that those things were more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices (Mark 12:29-31). Then, Jesus said to the scribe: “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:33). Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.