God gave specific instructions for how we are to live our lives. God also has specific things assigned to our lives for us to fulfill through salvation and a relationship with Him. We often think that when God requires something from us it’s optional, but the truth is, it’s not.
Let’s see what God says:
“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have and do not spare them (1 Samuel 15:3).
So 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 heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
God gave strict instructions to Saul while being king of Israel, but he did not follow the Lord’s instructions. In the above scripture, we see Samuel give him his consequences as commanded by God.
We think we can do life our way. The truth is that when God gives us instructions it’s not optional. We need to follow His instructions. God commanded me to stay in a certain city until my time was up. It got hard and I was in fear of losing my place. I stopped trusting God. I doubted He would sustain me. I moved before my time and I suffered many consequences for not obeying God. God still had a plan for me but I should have followed His instructions. I would not have faced the rough patch I endured.
Life is full of choices and decisions and sometimes it’s hard to decipher what God is asking us to do. Sometimes it’s hard to know if we are hearing from God. I knew God wanted me to stay in the city but when it got hard I doubted what God had spoken to me a few years prior. God knew that test was coming and He wanted me to trust Him. Though I did not follow God he still made provisions for me. Though God regretted making Saul king over Israel He was still going to provide for Israel and Saul did not lose His anointing. God knows what we will do before we have to make the decision. He wants to follow His command to protect us.
Obedience is better than sacrifice because obedience keeps us from harsh consequences. God sees afar off. He knows our lives from beginning to end. He sees our future before we do. It’s not optional with God, It’s a command.