ram’s fat

1 Samuel 15:22 |   What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?  Obedience is far better than sacrifice.  Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.  NLT

Well, at first glance I think very few of us struggle with offering ram's fat.  I can't say that's a real temptation.  We don't find ourselves on Sunday mornings preparing a jar of ram's fat to bring in and offer before the assembly.  But I believe we do struggle with the impression that "going to" "church" or giving some money to "church" will somehow make us okay in God's eyes.  Our hand in the offering plates are the equivalent today of ram's fat. 

Now, it is important to gather together with other people and praise God and to hear teaching from his Word… and it is important to dedicate our money to the Lord… important for our souls and important for the encouragement of others.  But God isn't impressed with cultic religiousity.  God doesn't have much time for a church-attender who is tuned out in his heart… or a money-giver who is just looking for tax-deductions.  God doesn't think much of a socialite who goes to church in order to be seen or to make business contacts… or an attention-seeker who displays his giving to the coffers.

What God desires is a humble heart and an attentive ear.  What God wants is our "attendance" to him (and as a result, to others) on Sundays… and every day for that matter.  What God wants is our unselfish giving for him (and as a result, for others) on Sundays… and every day for that matter.  Obedience to God's voice is priority.  Listening to God is much better than anything else we could ever do.  In fact, nothing we could try could ever earn us God's pleasure except to gather before him and listen.

Today… give listening to God's voice a try.

One Comment

  1. I’ve been reading some excerpts from Henri Nouwen, and he presents a crucial parallel between listening and obedience. He says: “A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear. When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives.” from Making all Things New
    Interestingly, the word ‘obedience’ comes from the Latin word audire which means ‘listening.’ Nouwen illustrates Jesus’ life as one of obedience because he was always listening to God. God asks of us the same obedience; open ears, open heart before God. I think we sometimes forget that following God requires all of ourselves, and this takes training and discipline, just as Paul talked about in the ‘race’ we are running(Phil 3). As we purposefully pursue those qualities needed to fully run the race, they become a part of us, a part of the transformation through Christ.
    I like the idea in Jude from the bible study Thursday, about ‘keeping ourselves in God’s love,’ because to me it’s the same idea of obedience. It’s an active discipline on our behalf.

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