This passage of scripture is heartbreaking to me:
When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!”How often do I do this? How often do I say, "I'm obeying God, but in this area where I'm clearly not obeying Him, it's because I am still serving Him. Truly. Honestly. I have a good reason." What are your sheep and goats? For instance, I wonder about this in regards to how I deal with money. Do I really believe in Jesus' way of poverty (Luke 12:13-34), or do I convince myself that I am better able to serve God by holding on to the money I have? Where is the line of a servant's responsibility (Luke 19:11-27) versus my sinful, Saul-like excuses that I need to save the good plunder for God instead of doing what He told me to do with it? I wonder.
“Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.
“It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.”
Saul's actions lead God to reject him as king of Israel and to this beautiful verse:
What is more pleasing to the Lord:God wants our obedience and submission. He does not delight in our sacrifices, but delights in our hearts when we show mercy and seek His heart (Matt 9:13; Hosea 6:6). How often do we instead stammer out excuses like Saul before Samuel, convinced that we somehow are doing something better for God than simply obeying Him?
your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.