Many times, most Christians are comfortable with doing what they want to do rather than doing what God has asked to them to do.
Love those we want to love.
Forgive those we want to forgive.
Live our lives the way we want to.
When Samuel made this statement to Saul, it was to address his partial obedience. Partial obedience is still disobedience.
1 Samuel 15:22
22 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.
Saul had been asked by God to go to the Amalekites and destroy them, destroy the whole city, animals, kings, everyone no one was to be spared.
1 Samuel 15:2-3
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
Saul went and attacked the Amalekites, but he and the people returned with trophies of war.
When Samuel visited Saul, Saul was quick to say to Samuel that he had performed the task the Lord had commanded him.
Then Samuel heard the bleating of sheep and oxen and asked Saul what that was, Saul answered Samuel that they were animals he had brought back from the task he was asked to perform, as his sacrifice unto God.
The question is, did God ask Saul to bring animals back for sacrifice? No!
He was supposed to destroy everything, nothing was exempt. To crown his partial disobedience, he brought back the king as a trophy.
The attitude of Saul towards God’s command exemplifies the life of most believers.
Partial obedience means hearing what you want to hear and not what God is saying.
Most Christians today live a life of partial obedience, we do what we want irrespective of what the word of God says.
Yet on Sunday we are in Church, on Wednesday we are in the bible study group, we are in everything, praying, singing, weeping before God, but we only do what we hear and not what God is saying.
Partial obedience is diluting God’s word to suit our purpose. “This is the way I have always done things and no one is going to tell me what to do”, not even my parents or my leader.
Many Christians today live a life of
- Selective Obedience – I prefer this scripture to that
- Incomplete Obedience – I will do what I can do for now
- Delayed Obedience – When I am ready
- Half-hearted obedience – I will only do it because I am forced to do it.
- Partial Obedience - I will do some of it and leave the rest, God understands.
The truth however is that, disobedience is still disobedience, whether it is partial, selective, incomplete or half-hearted.
God wants complete obedience from us and gives us His son Jesus as an example of complete obedience.
8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus even though He was God’s only begotten, He knew what His suffering was going to be, He knew He was going to be crucified and killed, yet He learnt how to be obedient in order to obey His father even though it meant He had to die.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus on earth was a man like us yet learnt how to obey God.
Obedience to God and those he has placed over us as leaders is a sign of humility.
God is not asking for your sacrifice; God is checking out how obedient we are prepared to be.
Abraham was ready to obey God and sacrifice the son he had waited years for, in obedience to God’s request. And this is what God said to him.
Genesis 22:15 - 18
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Saul’s partial obedience cost him the throne and the Kingdom.
Abraham’s complete obedience brought him blessing to all his descendants forever.
In the middle of the word “OBEDIENCE” is a simple word “DIE”.
God does not want our sacrifice; He wants our obedience and obedience is simply dying to ourselves in order to please God.