Is Obedience Better Than Sacrifice? by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye

Is Obedience Better Than Sacrifice? by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye

Text: I Samuel 15: 22 – And 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 listen than the fat of rams


The sentence in the biblical text above was spoken by Prophet Samuel to King Saul.

Though Samuel told Saul that God wanted him to utterly destroy all that the Amalekites had, but Saul spared the fat rams and fat oxen. It was God Himself that instituted the ordinance of sacrifice from the Garden of Eden as a way of worship to Him, and for atonement of sin; which He later issued as a command to Moses. So can God resist the sweet odours coming from fat sacrifices? Was Samuel right?

What is obedience?

  • Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority. (Oxford)

  • Doing, or willing to do, what you have been told to do by someone in authority. (Cambridge)

Who should I obey?

  • God

Deut. 11:1 (RSV) – You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and keep his charge, his statutes, his ordinances, and his commandments always

  • Biological Parents

Colossians 3: 20 (KJV) – Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

  • Spiritual Leaders

Hebrew 13: 17 (NLT) – Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God.

  • Elders

I Peter 5:5 (KJV) – Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

  • Rulers

Romans 13: 1 (GWT) – Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn’t been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God.

  • Your own husband

Ephes. 5: 22 (GWT) – Wives, place yourselves under your husbands’ authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord’s authority.

Why should I obey them?

  • God – For blessings (Example Abraham)

Deut. 28: 1-2 (ERV) – Now, if you will be careful to obey the Lord your God and follow all his commands that I tell you today, the Lord your God will put you high above all the nations on earth. 2 If you will obey the Lord your God, all these blessings will come to you and be yours:

  • Biological Parents – For long life and to please God (Example Isaac)

Exodus 20:12 (KJV) – Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

  • Spiritual Leaders – For prosperity and success (Example Widow in 2 Kgs 4:1-7).

2 Chro. 20: 20 (KJV) – And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper

  • Elders – To avoid errors (Example Rehoboam)

I Kgs. 12: 14 (KJV) – And spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

  • Rulers – To avoid punishment (Example Obed-Edom)

Rom 13: 2 (ESV) – Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment

  • Husband – To win him for Christ and to obey God (Example Elizabeth)

I Peter 3:1 (KJV) – Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

What is sacrifice?

  • The offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.

  • The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

Types of sacrifice

  • Old Testament – Meal offering; Peace offering; Burnt offering ; Sin offering ; Trespass offering ; Tithes ; Duties.

  • New Testament – First fruit offering; Thanksgiving offering; Vows ; Love offering ; Praise & Worship; Tithes; Duties.

Why is obedience better than sacrifice?

  • While sacrifice seeks to appease God and make one acceptable; obedience already achieves these purposes (Mt. 21: 28-32) – parable of two sons.

  • While sacrifices are meant to re-enact the intermittent breaks in relationship with God; obedience guarantees a continuous intimacy with Him.

Benefits of Obedience – Abraham

  • Become a friend of God

  • Become holy as God

  • Earthly blessings

  • Eternal rest

Why do men prefer sacrifice than obedience?

  • They think it will make up for their personal in-adequacies

  • They may think they are doing God a favour

  • It gives a hypocritical impression that such people are godly

2 sacrifices God will not refuse

  • A broken and a contrite heart (Genuine repentance).

Psalms 51: 16-17

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart —
These, O God, You will not despise

  • Body presented as a living sacrifice (Life of holiness).

Rom 12: 1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 

The sermon, Is Obedience Better Than Sacrifice? by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye, was delivered on March 12, 2017