Weekend, January 13, 2024

What God Wants from Us

“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT)

Things were going from bad to worse for King Saul. He already had disobeyed God by offering a sacrifice instead of waiting for the prophet Samuel to do it. And now he had partially obeyed God in another matter.

God commanded Saul to go against His enemies, the Amalekites, and destroy them. So, Saul went out and defeated them in battle. But instead of destroying what they had, he kept the spoils.

When the prophet Samuel arrived, Saul went out to greet him, saying, “May the Lord bless you. . . . I have carried out the Lord’s command!” (1 Samuel 15:13).

Samuel replied, “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” (verse 14 NLT).

In effect, Saul told him, “I was just getting to that. We saved them for the Lord. We’re going to sacrifice them to Him. Everything is good. Don’t worry.”

But the prophet said, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams” (verse 22 NLT).

In other words, God is more interested in our actions than our words. Sometimes we’ll try to justify what we’ve done and even make up for it.

Let’s say, for instance, that you had someone in your life who claimed to be your friend, and one day you tell this friend about some personal struggles you’re having. Then you ask them to keep the matter private. But the next morning, you discover that your friend has posted it on social media.

Right away you call this friend and say, “I told you that in confidence. Why would you do that?”

“I know,” your friend says. “I don’t know what came over me! I’m your friend, and I’ll never do it again. Will you forgive me? Let me take you out to dinner to make up for it.”

So, you decide to forgive your friend.

But the next day, your so-called friend posts even more of your secrets online. So, you confront this person and say, “If you’re my friend, then show it by your actions.”

God has a lot of friends like that. They say they love God, but then they go out and blatantly, willfully, and continually break God’s commandments. Afterward they say, “I will make up for it. I’ll give a little more in the offering. I’ll sing a little louder in the worship service.”

What God really wants from us is obedience. He’s interested in what is going on in our hearts. We can be worshipping outwardly but sinning inwardly. But with God, the heart is everything.

Are you a true follower of Jesus? Are you a friend of the Lord? Then do what He tells you to do. In John 15:14 Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (NLT)—not whatever you personally agree with.

If we’re friends of God, then we will obey Him, even in the smallest matters.

Copyright © 2024 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

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new believers growth book greg laurie devo offerIn thanks for your gift, you can receive a copy of Ben Born Again's New Believer's Growth Book by Greg Laurie

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