“But the people took from the spoil sheep and oxen, the chief of the things to be utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
Samuel said, has 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: 21-22
As we further our insight into gleaning some vital lessons of obedience through King Saul’s encounter with God, it is important you know at this point that your good intentions can be evil and contradictory to God’s will.
No matter how pure and sincere a motive is, God has never accepted it as a substitute for obeying His ordinances and principles.
Good intention is not what pleases God but righteousness; doing what is right in his sight, as well as obeying Him to the letter.
You can become evil in your actions towards God and yet be innocent with pure intentions in your own eyes. You cannot flaunt wickedness against God’s principles, will, and ordinances and not be guilty of evil doing.
Innocence, sincerity, and naivety are good, but not enough to please God. But an understanding of his will and action of total obedience wins the Lord’s approval.
Do you know that King Saul had some good intentions for sparing some of the things he brought in from Amalek?
”They have brought them… to sacrifice to the Lord your God…” (v 15).
Look, when obedience to God matters, the good intention you use to panel beat God’s instructions do not count, rather such actions are EVIL.
Please pray with me now: “Oh Lord, deliver me from Evil”
Evil is anything that is not in conformity with established divine standards, principles, precepts, and ordinance. Likewise, Wickedness is every evil disposition, action, or practice; actions portraying a departure from the rules of the divine law, instruction or principle.
What are those actions of yours that do not conform to God’s standard?
You may be innocent about them; perhaps you consider them good for you or good for God.
Have you ever pondered if your appearance as a lady impresses God or arouses men? It might be common and approved around, and in fact you may be comfortable in it, but is it bringing glory to God as His child?
What are your ideologies about total separation from the world; its music, fashion, and glamour, do you not still sing and dance, look, and seek the excitements of this world than you do of God?
Young man! Do you care about how you live your life?
Or as far you are able to give big and fat to support God’s work and attend church services; do you think the rest doesn’t matter?
Pause and think; the way you do business, your operations in the office, and what about the club, the beer and the girls?
Are you sure of your obedience to God in those areas?
Man of God! Is what you are doing in your church or with the mandate conforms to the principles of God who called you?
What you have allowed to go on as practice among the flock of God in your care, the way you raise money for the Lord’s work, and many of your doctrines, are you sure the Lord approves?
Have you ever bothered to look into the scriptures and seek God’s face for the pattern after which you should build the work? Or have you rather not been looking at men, building with human philosophies, and after pattern of this world?
I would that you pray this prayer in understanding with me right now:
“Oh Lord, open my eyes to every innocent evil in me, and expose all innocent acts of wickedness so that I can walk with you more acceptably”
No matter how pure a motive is, God has never accepted it as a substitute for obeying his ordinances and principles.
Every manifestation of godly zeal and good intention without an understanding of God’s will throughout the scripture has always resulted in casualties.
Let us draw a parallel lesson from King David, Uzzah, and the ark of the Lord:
“And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord with all their might, with songs, lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.
“And when they came to Nacon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled and shook it.
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for touching the ark, and he died there by the ark of God.
David was grieved and offended because the Lord had broken forth upon Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah [the breaking forth upon Uzzah] to this day.
David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”
2 Samuel 6:5-9
David was a man that burned with sincere zeal for God, and he demonstrated and maintained a good heart before God all his life. In his zeal for God, he desired to grant the ark of the Lord a resting place, and loved to honour God by carrying the ark with something befitting, contemporary, and ideal to him. As a result:
“They set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab in Gibeah. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.”2 Samuel 6:3,
Innocently against God long lasting instruction:
“And you shall put the poles into the rings by the sides of the ark, so that the ark may be carried with them.” Exodus 25:14.
David’s innocence, sincerity, and naivety were not enough to stop the outbreak of the Lord’s wrath; for God judges evil with vehement anger and wrath wherever and in whomever he finds it.
David got upset and perhaps wondered why God would not accept contemporary technique and modern day strategy in carrying the ark.
God made something clear to David, and he learnt a vital lesson from this experience that he NEVER again compromised in his entire life, and the lesson is this: God has His prescribed way of doing things, so men ought to inquire of him and ensure obedience is achieved.
“For because you bore it not [as God directed] at the first, the Lord our God broke forth upon us–because we did not seek Him in the way He ordained.” 1 Chronicles 15:13
God exploded in anger against David because he did not make proper preparation and follow instructions, and not because his intention was not good. He failed to seek the right way, the proper method, and chose to do as he saw fit.
God cannot be impressed with new systems in as much as He has not established it. Today we have produced many “new carts” through which we approach God, and in which we are “driving” His work. Thus far, it is the mercy and grace of God that has kept us away from His imminent wrath.
Dear friend, after David learnt this lesson the bitter way he wrote:
“I watch for your ancient landmark words, and know I’m on the right track.” Psalm 119:52
Today, will you seek the Lord as David did in contrition and genuinely inquire of the Lord how to follow, walk, and serve the way He ordained and prescribed?
Spiritual sacrifices and religious offerings are great, but they are meaningless and offensive to God without following His precepts
Remember dear friend, your motive may be pure and your intention may be sincere, but your action can contradict God’s will and be evil before His sight.
“Has 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