“What is more pleasing to the Lord; your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
Submission surpasses sacrifices. I am far more delighted in passionate obedience to My will than any sacrifice you could ever make. Rituals without devotion are hollow—a waste of time. Hypocrisy is nothing more than play-acting—obedience is really all that matters. Dramatic productions may impress people, but theatrical religion does not amuse Me. Do as I say, and all will be well.
Humility is higher than haughtiness. You can never please Me by superficial externalities. Live in the holy land of the broken heart, and see My smile. Listen to gentle whispers from eternity, and hear My voice.
Right living exceeds rationalization. I am more pleased when you do what is fair and right, than by your tithing to make up for rebellion. You can never bribe Me into ignoring character flaws. Shaping up morally is far more critical than writing regular checks to your church.
Righteousness is better than rituals. Visiting the hospitalized and homebound, encouraging underdogs, defending orphans, and fighting for the rights of widows gains My approval—not just going through the motions of believing. Insincere ceremonies are ludicrous. Heartless church going is senseless. Faithless religion is hollow. Self-sacrifice is not the ticket to heaven—the Savior’s sacrifice is. The Sinless One made the only offering that can make us friends.
Obedience overshadows offerings. If you forget the reason behind your offerings, you are not honoring Me. I want lifelong service, not just money in the offering plate once a week.
Sensitivity is better than sacrifice. Knowing My heart and showing compassion to hurting people really count for something. Loveless sacrifices and heartless worship are meaningless ceremonies.
Doing right is more important than offering; being kind is more beneficial than sacrificing; walking humbly with Me is more critical than giving. A responsive life is better than elaborate rituals. A grateful heart—the sacrifice of praise—pleases Me more than any gift you ever place before My throne.
There is a better way than religion—it is called relationship.
Johnny R. Almond
Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity