Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

 In Daily Devotional

1 Samuel 15:22-23

“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. 23 For 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.’”

God spoke through His prophet, Samuel, to the first King of Israel, Saul. Saul understood that the Word of the Lord came to him in this manner. In 1 Samuel 15, Samuel gives Saul very specific instructions from God about an attack Saul was to undertake upon the Amalekites on God’s behalf.

Against God’s instructions to destroy everything and everybody, Saul allowed his men to keep the best of the herds of sheep and cattle. Saul knew better, but he was afraid of his own people and gave in to their desires. They tried to justify their actions by promising to sacrifice some of them to the Lord.

By the time Samuel confronted Saul, he was erecting a monument in his own honor in Carmel. Rebellion, pride and arrogance, along with fear of the people, caused Saul to disobey the Word of the Lord.

Witchcraft and divination deliberately circumvent God’s law and natural order. Rebellion does too. Arrogance and pride are compared to idolatry because we are essentially making ourselves god in our lives.

God values obedience over religious rites, and punishes rebellion and pride. Will you obey?


Ask the Father to show you areas of your life where you are rebellious, disobedient or prideful. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal where you are more concerned with what men think rather than God.

Dive Deeper: Study 1 Samuel 15.