Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
1 Samuel 17:45
To Obey is better than sacrifice.
Saul was told to go to war against Amalek. The LORD commanded to utterly destroy everything. What did Saul do? He disobeyed. Well, he only fulfilled that part of the commandment he was okay with. He did neither destroy the livestock nor did he kill king Agag. Worse, though, he blamed it on the people. He said that the people had brought back the sheep “to sacrifice unto the LORD.” In other words, he did not perform the whole commandment that was given to him from the LORD.
So Samuel said: “Has 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 heed than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22
God does not take disobedience lightly. In verse 23 we are warned that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Saul has rejected the Word of the LORD, so God has rejected him from being king.
Man: Outside vs Inside
In the next chapter Samuel is sent to the house of Jesse. David, who didn’t look much like a king to Samuel, would be anointed as the next king. The LORD tells Samuel that man looks on the outward appearance while God looks at the inside.
People are quick to judge a person by what they can see with their eyes. Of course, that’s not the best way. We have to remember this in our life, though. What do others, especially non-believers, look at when they see us Christians coming together? Do they see that we, as God’s family, are truly united in Christ?
No Neutrality — Either for or against the LORD
Music plays a big role in my life. Songs from the 80s do not have a good influence on me, I’m afraid. They arouse destructive feelings and behaviors: my emotions are captured and my actions are controlled by them. Unless I immediately refuse to listen to these songs, willfully turn off the source, and make a complete turn toward the LORD, I find it very hard not to go with the flow of that music style.
Since a few years, however, I’m using music in a good way. No, not by listening to the songs of the 80s but by listening to and singing and playing worship songs that direct my heart to God.
As with so many other things, music is either for or against our LORD Jesus. We have to be careful what kind of music we are letting into our lives. Is it overpowered by its rhythm; a rhythm that will make us feel good? Or does its melody come only second to its words that glorify the King of kings?
Battles, no matter how great or small, are also not neutral. We are either facing them “in the name of the LORD our God” or we are going into them in our own effort. If God commands us to hold back or do things a certain way will we listen? Do we obey Him no matter what? Or do we put His Word aside because we are leaning on our own understanding of how things should work?
Let go of your own way. Look up to Him. Listen, and obey His Word.