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. (1 Samuel 15:22)
In over seven years as pastor of Berean Baptist Church, I have made one goal the primary purpose of my ministry. Most of you know what the goal is because you have heard it over and over again in the sermons. The goal is the glory of God. Every part of the ministry must focus on God’s glory. I do not see how we can reach this goal unless we are very careful to do God’s work God’s way. Many people think they can substitute a better plan; they can serve God their way and the end result is still pleasing to God and will glorify Him.
King Saul used this reasoning when he disobeyed God in the matter of the destruction of Amalek. Saul was told very specifically through the prophet Samuel that he was to completely obliterate every living thing that belonged to Amalek. The entire population of men, women, and children were to be destroyed including even their livestock. Why such a command was given is a subject left for another day, but it is sufficient to say the incomplete obedience of Saul nearly resulted in the complete extinction of the Jewish race a few hundred years later. Saul decided that it was in the best interest of God not kill the king of Amalek, nor to destroy the best of the livestock. Instead, these would be used for sacrifice and thereby Saul could show his supreme devotion to God.
The plan seemed reasonable enough, but it was contrary to God’s commandment. This led to those famous words from Samuel, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” God knew the outcome of this disobedience and as just mentioned if not for God’s hand of protection Israel would later have been destroyed. Saul tried to do God’s work, but he didn’t do it God’s way.
I see many Christians that try to do the same. They try to glorify God with alternate methods that seem good on the surface. At first those methods might even produce good results. But in the end doing God’s work God’s way is the only method that will glorify Him. I can relate this to church attendance, to worship styles, to prayer, to preaching, to relationships between members—there are multitudes of ways that seem good at first, but in the end they are harmful because they are not God’s way. We must return to strict obedience to God’s commandments. Jesus said that those who love Him are those that keep His commandments.
Take a look at your service. Are you ignoring the plain simple commands of God’s word? Have you found what you believe to be a better way? Obedience is the only way to glorify God.
Pastor V. Mark Smith