“But God, what if I did this?”
From 1 Samuel: A 6-Week Devotional
Have you ever tried to negotiate a better way with God?
When we rely on our human understanding, what He asks us to do often leaves us confused, frustrated or scared. Those emotions can cause us to try to negotiate or only follow parts of His plan.
This happened to King Saul. In 1 Samuel 15:3, Samuel reported God’s instructions to Saul to “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them.”
Only verses later, we see Saul and his men obey part of the Lord’s instructions. Instead of killing everyone and everything, “Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs — everything that was good.” (1 Samuel 15:9).
"To obey is better than sacrifice." -1 Samuel 15:22
Saul brought back everything he considered good. But the plunder was not good in God’s eyes because it was the spoils of disobedience.
We do the same thing as Saul when God tells us to tithe a tenth of our income and we decide to tithe 5 percent and give the other 5 percent to charity. Is giving to a charity good? Of course. But we should not give at the expense of what God says belongs to His church.
We do the same thing as Saul when God asks us to volunteer our time to a Saturday ministry and we decide to volunteer two other days to keep Saturday open for what we had in mind. Doing more good things earlier in the week doesn’t please God like obeying Him on Saturday would.
In Saul’s time, sacrifices were pleasing to God, but that didn’t matter if Saul used animals he wasn’t supposed to take in the first place. In 1 Samuel 12:22, God’s truth is clearly given: “To obey is better than sacrifice.”
We may have various examples in our past of choosing to follow God on our own terms, but today let's choose obedience.
- Can you remember a time you disobeyed God’s instructions? How did you feel in the process? What was the outcome?
- Think about a time you obeyed God, even when it didn’t make sense or scared you. How did you feel? What was the outcome?
- What is God asking you to do today? How will you respond?