May 16

1 Samuel 15:22-23 22But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

After Samuel told Saul the words from God, Saul still justified himself and tried to shift the blame onto his men. He added that they wanted to sacrifice the animals to God. Caught in the act, he makes it increasingly worse with lies and pointing the finger at others.

Samuel cut to the chase. He was not going to let this man of God condemn himself anymore by the lies coming from his mouth. Obedience is what God desires, not sacrifices. God will provide the ultimate sacrifice that will please Him, but He does not delight in the blood of bulls and goats. It is an obedient heart surrendered to Him that pleases Him. Saul had gone from the humble man who didn't think he could do the job, to a cocky liar that defends his rebellion, even blaming those he leads to save his own skin.

God is not after our sacrifices either. He is after a heart surrendered to Him in humility. We often look for some way to please God with service or sacrifice, when God is just looking for a humble obedient heart. The work the Spirit guides us to is rarely some great sacrifice, but often many little ones. Say a word here, lend a hand there, or give a hug or an encouragement at God's direction. We often don't realize when we are being obedient in a way that is pleasing the heart of God. That is true humility.

Meditation: A new creation in Christ will find it natural to obey, but even a new creation can harden his or her heart.