“To do what is right and just is more
acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
Today I want to remind you of a crucial truth that can mean the difference between life and death. It is easy to believe the lie that God is primarily interested in our religious activities (church attendance, giving to church, praying before meals, etc.) rather than who we are and what we do in our day-to-day lives.
King Saul, who was king of Israel before the wise man Solomon, learned this truth the hard way when he disobeyed God but thought that it would be acceptable because he offered animals as sacrifices to God. Samuel, God’s spokesman, told Saul:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
God also made His heart about this known through His prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah chapter 1, God said that He had more than enough of their sacrifices, took no pleasure in the blood of animals, thought their incense was detestable, and hated their feasts and festivals with all His being. Strong language! Keep in mind, Disciple, that God told them to do those things. So why did He reject their religious activities so vehemently? Because their hands were “full of blood”. They weren’t showing kindness and mercy to the oppressed, the fatherless, and the widow. They weren’t doing what was “right and just” because they thought that God only cared about what was done at the Temple. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
We are in danger of making the same mistake, of course, in the New Covenant. It is who we are and what we do in our everyday lives that are of greatest concern to our Father. He actually sees it as more important that we forgive people and reconcile with them than that we offer tangible sacrifices (see Matthew 5:23-24). Which would please our Master more: to give a big check to our church, or to humbly seek healing in a relationship that has been broken? To preach a sermon, or to be kind and gentle towards one’s spouse and/or children?
The point of all this is not that religious activities are unimportant or to be neglected. Rather, we want to be very clear in our minds that our Master is seeking to see obedient trust in His words and commands more than to see public displays of our supposed religious devotion. He is not fooled; He knows our hearts. May we continually seek to please our Master in the small decisions as well as in the big ones. In relationships as well as in church services. He is Lord of every area of life, and so let us honor Him in every area of life!
Learning to do what is right and just with you,