Sometimes we try to hide a sin by good actions, or we justify our misconduct by spiritualizing it. But that does not please God because He always prefers obedience.
Twice, King Saul did not obey the Lord. The first time (Genesis 13), he was in an uncomfortable position. His enemies threatened him and his soldiers began to desert him. All because the prophet Samuel was late. God had clearly said that only prophets could make sacrifices to attract God’s favor. But Samuel was late. What Saul wanted was late and the pressure was rising. A position in which sometimes we find Christian singles. They are waiting for a good Christian partner or the means to look, but no answer. And then, the family pressure begins to rise. Social influence is increasing and the biological clock is ticking. Like Saul, we are tempted to take matters into our own hands, much to God’s displeasure.
Sometime later, the Lord again clearly tells King Saul how to deal with the situation he was in, but he only half-obeyed (Genesis 15). Instead of destroying all that belonged to Amalek, as prescribed, he decided to keep some of the wealth. When the prophet reprimanded him, Saul pretended that he had done this to have something to offer the Lord. The beautiful excuse! “God does not want me to play the lottery, but if I win, I’ll give him the tithe of all my earnings!” “God does not want me to date a non-Christian, but I’m going to bring them to God once we will be dating.” But God did not like Saul’s gift. He would have preferred the king to obey Him instead of giving Him a present.
Here is another example, which may illustrate the subject. My husband and I told our 3-year-old daughter not to play with her painting kit without supervision. But she often ignores this rule. We arrive in the kitchen and all her painting stuff is scattered on the table. The first time I surprised her, she showed me to her work: “a gift for you mom”! There was paint everywhere, the kitchen table, and the floor! I still found her attention very touching and I cleaned the mess without complaining. But now, after having repeatedly disobeyed this rule, her “chef-d’oeuvre” is no longer so pleasant. “I prefer obedience instead of gifts”, I told her, cleaning the table and the floor again! It reminded me of King Saul’s story. “So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV).
Singles: God prefers your obedience over your gifts. We may have a good excuse for not doing what God says, but it remains disobedience. We are impatient or selfish, we act because of a lack of trust in Him or lack of submission. That does not please God because He is going to have to clean up all the mess that our carnal decision has created. The enemy is very good at this game, and you can count on him to give you arguments for sin. Remember, that’s the first thing he did in the Garden of Eden. And as for Adam and Eve, or for King Saul, disobedience may be more than messy, it could cause us to lose our calling or our intimacy with God.
So let’s stop justifying the impulses of our flesh. Let us trust God, He knows what He is doing and why He asks what He asks. Rest assured that the rewards He gives to those who obey are far greater than we could receive on our own.