I Samuel 15:10-34- Obedience is better than Sacrifice.

Read I Samuel 15:10-34

In this portion of scripture, we read more about the battle directives that Saul did not fully obey. This is not a nice story. But in case you didn’t know, the Bible is not a nice story book.  There is a lot of controversy and talk about this passage. I have read and read and read, and of all the reading, the  most concise explanation was from a commenter on a blog. Here it is:

The line of reasoning presented here (in this other blog) is generally valid, but I am wondering if there is a better approach to addressing this issue than trying to take on every instance of genocide in the OT. It seems to me the very first case of genocide mentioned in the Bible – the flood – provides all the elements necessary for discussing it. Here every living creature that was not on the ark was killed – men, women, children and animals, the most complete genocide ever to be unleashed by God. And why? “God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to all people. I will destroy them completely, because the world is full of their violent deeds” (Gen 6:13). So it is a matter of judgment. There was no foreseeable end to the violence. Even the children of men must perish. When Jesus came, he said, “As it was in the time of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). Is Jesus justified in bringing this kind of judgment on the world? As much as the world thinks otherwise, he is. The world has rejected God and his gift of life through Jesus. As for subsequent cases of genocide in the OT, if God in his wisdom should decide to end the perpetuation of evil before the appointed time at the end, is he to be questioned? Ultimately it is a matter of covenant. Just as God made a covenant with Noah, so he makes one with those of us who follow Christ. He said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). This is the language of covenant, and the world will continue to hate us, our God, his mercy and his judgments because of it. Yes, genocide is a tough issue in light of modern sensibilities, but let’s not lose sight of God’s patience as well as the grace that is shown us through the covenant he has initiated with his people.
 That said………
This chapter contains one of those verses that I hear in my sleep.
Obedience is better than sacrifice.

I know this to be desperately true in my own house. When I ask one of the children to do something, they can sometimes find creative ways to be disobedient, and some ways can even be disguised as helpful. But often, even if they are trying to be helpful, it ends up being most UN helpful, as now the thing that I really needed done is left undone. Confused? Don’t be. It’s a recurring theme in this book. Obedience. So often I have to then explain to the children “Now do you see? Do you see why I needed you to obey?” And sometimes they do see, and understand, lending me more credibility for the next time. Comparatively, how patient is our God with me, when he says so similarly, “Do you see? Do you see what I am trying to accomplish in you and through you?”
 The reason quite often for my kids disobedience, is that their knowledge and point of view is so limited. They try to make sense of my directions, but sometimes the command might not make sense to them because they lack perspective. How foolish would it be for them to just then give up, and walk away entirely because they don’t agree. But  mostly, even if they don’t understand, they will obey. Why? Because they know me enough to know that I love them and always always have their best interests at heart.

And I know God.  I absolutely know Him enough to know He always has my best interests at heart. And He loves me. Oh how He loves me.

Especially on a day like today when I just couldn’t make the clock slow down, and I was late for one thing after another. Then finally arriving “late” at our final destination, in a crowd of 18,000 plus, we run smack into our closest friends just in town for a visit after having moved away 3 months ago. You can’t plan that stuff. But God knew, the whole day, how it would play out. He knew that making that U-turn, missing that light, all the things that went “wrong” would lead to very right timing for the perfect encounter.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. And I pray that our eyes would be opened, that our perspective would be clear, and we would walk in obedience in big and in small as we trust His hand and His heart.

What ways have you seen God’s plan unfold when you obeyed, even though you didn’t understand?

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