I was reading through the Bible recently and came across a passage that I have read many times before.  This passage is where Samuel and Saul were having a discussion about the Lord’s displeasure in how Saul had been going.

But Samuel replied, “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 that offering the fat of rams.”   (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT)

Obedience is better than sacrifice.  obedience_dog-cat_350

I have heard that phrase many times before.  I have even used that phrase and passage in preaching and teaching many times.  This time reading through it, one thing stood out more than before: obedience over mindless rituals.

God desires our obedience more than anything else including our religious rituals that we perform. Sacrifices are events that were set up to show one’s trust in God.  As important as they are, God desires one thing more: our heart.

We can do all the sacrifices in the world – church attendance, giving, serving, – but if God does not have the loyalty of our hearts, then it is pointless.  We can walk through the motions of religious duty all day long and completely miss the whole point.  Any person can learn how to do the “routines.”  It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to change a person’s heart and get it involved in the acts.

Are we truly obeying the Lord today, or are we just going through the motions on a religious checklist?