1 Samuel 15:22 ( NKJV )
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.
(We were blessed this week to have Pastors Wayne and Margaret Holcomb from The Door Fellowship with us this week. Their messages will be on our website shortly at WWW.Livingwordgreene.com/media.)
What’s wrong with duty? It seems that often in the church today we emphasize the “feel good” side of our Christian experience at the expense of the simple need to obey God. I am glad that God has not called us to an emotionless Christianity. As Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians we know that the presence of God is a very real and very felt thing.
We know that in our times praise and worship we can release our emotional love for God and experience the sense of His love in return. The bible teaches us to rejoice which is a definite release of emotions. One of the main strengths of our Christian experience is peace. When everything around us is out of control or when stress is the order of the day, we can have peace in our hearts that will enable us to go through any trial and see victory. Once again this is an emotion. Emotions are an important part of our Christian life, but they are not the defining part.
Too often we think how we feel is the most important ingredient to determine the state of our Christian walk. We are not defined by what we feel but by what we believe. Feelings are a byproduct of what we believe, but it is what we believe that will get us through the hard times. One way to determine what we believe is to look at when and how we obey. If we obey only when the feelings all line up correctly, we don’t really believe. If we obey the Word of God and the voice of God even when we don’t feel the best, then we really believe.
This brings me to my heading and my scripture. Saul had a duty. He was the King of Israel, but Samuel was God’s representative. God trumps a king every time. Samuel had given Saul a directive to destroy the Amalakites and everything they had. That was his duty before God. His emotions, however, told him that he should be allowed to celebrate this great victory. The people agreed with his emotions. (The people always agree with emotions.) As a result they decided to almost obey and almost do their duty. They just kept the best of the livestock as a sacrifice to God. They just spared the King so they could show how great a victory they had won.
Samuel is not amused. He makes this powerful statement, “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.” In other words, is it better to offer God some kind of sacrifice or to do your duty?
As Christians we have some duties. We have a duty to pray. We have a duty to worship God. We have a duty to love one another. We have a duty to honor the house of God with our attendance and our money. We have a duty to preach the Gospel to every creature. Feelings will come as we do our duty. Sometimes we feel that we somehow corrupt our service to God if we do it only out of duty. The truth is we honor God when we do what we should do because it is our duty and responsibility.
I am writing this to comment on and add my thoughts to the messages brought at LWCC by Pastor’s Wayne and Margaret Holcomb during our church services this weekend. However, I think it is appropriate that this message came on the weekend we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to do their duty for our nation. Where would we be today if those who have died for our freedom had given God some kind of “substitute” sacrifice. They answered the call of duty and never came home.
It is our responsibility to answer the call of duty from our King, our Father and our Creator. We need to do what needs to be done, no matter the cost and in spite of our emotions so that the Gospel can be preached in the earth, so that our children will grow up to serve God and so our own lives will be pleasing to the one who did His duty at Calvary and gave it all for you and me.