“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.” – 1 Samuel 15:22, ESV
There is a difference between obedience and sacrifice.
In 1 Samuel 15, we read that King Saul did not obey God’s command (through His prophet, Samuel) to follow a specific battle plan. This was not the first time Saul failed to obey. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul offered an unlawful sacrifice to God. He knew it was the wrong thing to do, but he did it anyway. And now in verse 22 of chapter 15, Samuel spells it out for Saul, “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
The time, place and manner of a sacrifice can be usually be determined ahead of time, and often by us. A sacrifice can often be a matter of our own choice and will. This is rarely, if ever, true of obedience. Sacrifice can be a matter of our initiative. Obedience is always a matter of our response to God’s initiative. Obedience may require sacrifice, but Saul’s sacrifice was not an act of obedience.
BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) is the 6-month SEAL training course held at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, CA. SEAL candidates start with five weeks of “Indoctrination” and “Pre-Training”, then go through the 3 phases of BUD/S. The 1st phase is the toughest, consisting of 8 weeks of Basic Conditioning that peaks with a grueling segment called “Hell Week” where candidates are tested to their limits. Continue reading