Friday, November 7, 2014
In a well-known biblical account found in 1 Samuel, Chapter 15, God gave King Saul explicit instructions to utterly destroy the Amelekites and everything they had, in retribution for what they had done previously to His people. Saul did his own thing by deciding to spare the Amelekite king and all the choice sheep and oxen. Samuel, the spiritual head of the Israelites, upon being notified by God concerning Saul’s actions, confronted him and asked him why he had disobeyed God’s instructions. Saul replied that they had only spared these animals because they were going to sacrifice them to the Lord afterwards. He was probably lying, but even if he wasn’t, the Lord had commanded him to do otherwise. Before notifying him that God would remove him from being king, Samuel uttered this eternal truth to him: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
Many centuries have passed since that incident and millions of people today are just like Saul, including many who profess to be Christians, not you, of course. They are very much aware when they willfully go against the will of God, but make up excuses, just like Saul did, as to why they did things slightly different. Judas played the same game on the day he complained about the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with an expensive perfume. He indignantly spoke out declaring that it could have served a better purpose had it been sold and the money given to the poor. John 12:6 very clearly states that Judas cared little for the poor; he was the keeper of the money bag and often helped himself from it.
I wrote recently about the fault many of us have about making excuses for others who disobey God. It is even worse when we make excuses for ourselves. The eternal truth Samuel uttered on that day holds true today. Many Christians are high when it concerns saying all the right holy phrases and worshipping God in church; obeying Him and His Word, not so much. Remember the old adage, “actions speak louder than words”? To share the gospel with others, to heartily sing to Him in worship, and to testify of God’s love to the world is a great thing and is something we should practice at every opportunity. However, if we don’t live a life of obedience to God to go along with these things, our works become pointless, even detrimental. Of course none of us are perfect and we will mess up from time to time. Nevertheless, as God’s children, we all have the same grace, strength, and courage at our disposal. If nothing else, lets all ask God to help us to be honest and stop making excuses for ourselves the next time we fall.
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 15:58) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”