Slightly Obsessed #204: A Portrait of Faith: An Obedient Heart by Pamela Thorson on 2017-11-29 09:31:55
“Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice….”
-1 Samuel 15:22
In the Old Testament we read that soon after Saul was set into power as king of Israel, the prophet Samuel came to him with a command from God. This command was to go up against their enemies, the Amalekites, and destroy them completely. God instructed Saul to destroy everything belonging to them, as well. Saul took his army up to the city of Amalek and defeated them. But he spared the life of the Amalekite king Agag and the best of the livestock in the city. The victory degenerated into a looting spree as the men saved what they liked and destroyed the rest.
When God sent Samuel back to confront Saul, Saul explained that his motives were pure. He had simply saved the best of the flocks to sacrifice to God.
“To obey is better than sacrifice.”
The prophet went on to tell Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:23)
It’s sobering to realize that God equates the disobedience with witchcraft by attempting to place another god on His throne. It makes us the judge of the Lord's wisdom and is inherently anti-Christ in nature. Conversely, it’s fascinating to read the exploits of believers in Hebrews 11 and see what God describes as acts of faith. In every instance, God honored those who listened to Him, believed in His promises, and were willing to obey what He told them to do. The next quality of faith, then, is this:
3. A willingness to obey.
In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus rebuked those who called Him “Lord” but didn’t obey His commands. He went on to compare an obedient follower with a man who built his house on a rock. This house, Jesus said, would stand firm against the storms that came against it.
On the other hand, a rebellious person was like the man who built his house on the sand. This house would fall when besieged by life’s trials.
Obedience isn’t about following the rules. It’s not even about compliance. Obedience is the active response of an open heart to the voice of its beloved. There is nothing fake or feigned here. It engages all the qualities of trust and love and humility as we place our own will on the altar. It’s symbolized by a house built on a rock because it is the proof of our faith in Christ, the Rock that will never crumble beneath us when the going gets rough.
As always, God's commands are meant to build us up and protect us. By walking in obedience to Christ, we live in victory over every circumstance of life.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, released in 2014. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
A few short moments taken to restore a woman to health had kept Jesus from the bedside of a girl who lay dying. Messengers arrived with the news that Jairus’ little daughter was dead, striking fear in his heart as they destroyed the hope to which he clung.
Slightly Obsessed #209: Look Up
An ancient king faced certain destruction as enemy warriors amassed before him in a surprise attack. His response is our answer for the trials that threaten to destroy us today.
Slightly Obsessed #208: Scorched by Trial
In the gray dawn of another day, I am spent. I can pray no more. There are no more words I can say, no entreaty with which to reach my Master. As the night shadows fade before the rising sun, I open my Bible. In the space between darkness and light, I need to hear His voice.
Slightly Obsessed #207: The Real Avenger
The current popularity of Marvel Comic movies and spin-offs has brought a series of ancient mythical deities to prominence. People used to actually worship these flawed heroes, but the real Avenger is at the door.
Slightly Obsessed #206: A Portrait of Faith: Willing to Learn
Sometimes it’s hard to discern God's voice above the noise in our head and around us. The Bible encourages us to keep listening and keeping trying, because like anything else, we are trained by practice.
Slightly Obsessed #205: A Portrait of Faith: The Courage to Trust
Trust is a gift we give someone who has earned the right to ask for it. It’s the bond between two people who have a history between them. Trust is hard-won and easily lost.