Points to Ponder: History and Religion and Their Dual Impact on Community Relations

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

Sacrifice is good but obedience is better. Always. In this story King Saul is commanded to utterly destroy the Amalekites but instead of obeying God Saul chose to obey those closest to him. Saul kept the best of the flock and other choice items. Oftentimes when confronted with obedience to God we choose what is easiest for us to accomplish in His name. We choose sacrifice over obedience and wonder why we never experience breakthrough. I'm not talking finances here. When we hear breakthrough stuff pops into our heads that have nothing to do with Fruits Of The Spirit. Breakthrough is spiritual.  Saul thought that partially obeying God was good enough to establish his breakthrough (financially) and was generous enough in his error to offer Samuel some of his holdings to sacrifice to his God. Notice Saul doesn't claim God as his own but acknowledges God as the God of Samuel. That is what sacrifice does to a person who chooses it over obedience. It clouds the intellect to the point you fail to Trust God and acknowledge Him personally  in your life. You see God is God over all whether you acknowledge Him or not. Saul had to learn this the hard way.

When meditating on obedience versus sacrifice I am reminded of another Bible Story. The story of Mary and Martha.  Martha busied herself preparing a meal while Mary sat at Jesus feet to learn and worship Him. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen that one thing that was needed and Mary's choice was best.

Burnt offerings and sacrifice was never commanded by God. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifice: Jeremiah 7:22.  Jeremiah 7:23 says:

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17:
Paul in his letter to the Romans says: beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. Romans 12:1.
 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.  To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Why is it that whenever Jesus commands not to do something Paul has a way to persuade his readers otherwise.  Godly sacrifices are broken spirits and contrite hearts not your body as a living sacrifice.  Paul makes another mockingly strange statement: That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:16. The only "offering up" ever needed was Jesus Christ on Calvary. Sacrifices are offered up. So, who is Paul offering up the sacrifice of the Gentiles to and why? As always Paul tells us why but only those free from eye scales can see.

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. Romans 15:20. The foundation is Jesus Christ. If the integrity of The Foundation Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ is not maintained we run the risk of falling to deception.

As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:9 Paul included.

Jesus despised traditions. Traditions are mentioned 14 times in The New Testament and is never mentioned in The Old Testament. Jesus spoke against traditions 8 times. Sacrifice is a tradition.

In Matthew 9:14-17   Jesus is confronted about ritual fasting. Ritual fasting like ritual of any sort is supposed to take place at certain times throughout the year. Any other sacrifice even fasting is not wrong just unneccessary.Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16“But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. 17“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”  Jesus here is simply saying that He is the new tradition. That through Him everything is preserved the old (traditions) and the new freedom under Grace. In Hebrews 13:5.  Jesus says if we remain obedient to Him He would never leave or forsake us.  We are only commanded to observe  Holy Communion as a tradition in remembrance of Him.  But when and if you must fast remember Isaiah 58 and don't do it believing God will notice you but do it while feeding the hungry, visiting the shut-ins, the sick, those in jail, caring for widows and fatherless children. Fasting this way has a promise attached based on obedience to His Word.  Stay Blessed...

In His Service

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