Summary: The importance of obedience.
Text: 1 Samuel 15:1-3, 7-31 (22-24)
Introduction: The key verses to this passage are verses 22-24. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Actually, though, most of us don’t care that much for either obedience or sacrifice. If we had to pick one or the other, a little religious sacrifice is what many of us try to substitute for genuine obedience to God.
To make the value of obedience just as practical as possible, let’s play "Let’s pretend." Let’s pretend that you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a rapidly growing company. As owner of the company, I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until the new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family in the move to Europe for six to eight months, and I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization. I tell you that I will write you regularly and give you direction and instructions.
I leave, and you stay. Months pass. A flow of letters are mailed from Europe and received by you at the national headquarters. I spell out all my expectations. Finally, I return. Soon after my arrival, I drive down to the office. I am stunned! Grass and weeds have grown up high. A few windows along the street are broken. I walk into the receptionist’s office and she is doing her nails, chewing gum, and listening to her favorite rock station. I look around and notice the waste baskets are overflowing, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks, and nobody seems concerned that the owner has returned. I ask where you are, and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the hall and yells, "I think he’s down there." Disturbed, I move in that direction and bump into you as you are finishing a chess game with our sales manager. I ask you to step into my office (which has been temporarily turned into a television room for watching afternoon soap operas).
"What in the world is going on, man?"
"What do ya’ mean, Gary?"
"Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?"
"Letters? Oh, yeah -- sure, got every one of them. As a matter of fact, Gary, we have had letter study every Friday night since you left. We have even divided all the personnel into small groups and discussed many of the things you wrote. Some of those things were really interesting. You’ll be pleased to know that a few of us have actually memorized some of your sentences and paragraphs. One guy even memorized an entire letter or two! Great stuff in those letters!"
"Okay, okay -- you got my letters, you studied them, discussed, and even memorized them. But then what did you do?"
"Do? Uh -- we didn’t do anything."
Today, let’s look at three reasons obedience is better than sacrifice. Then, perhaps we will stop offering God a religious substitute for what He really wants.
I.Obedience, not religious sacrifice, is what God most desires. (22)
A.Let’s clarify what we mean by obedience and sacrifice.
1.Obedience is doing the will and seeking to please someone in authority over you.