Tag Archives: burnt offerings

Fat of Rams

Saul disobeyed the command of the Lord to utterly destroy the Amalekites. He saved the best sheep, oxen, calves and lambs. Anything that was good he kept. Anything that he saw as worthless he destroyed. But God commanded everything was to be utterly destroyed.

Saul said the best was spared to sacrifice to the Lord, but that was not what God requested. His disobedience he tried to justify with sacrifice. Samuel said what pleases God is obedience and submission more so than sacrifices. As Hosea 6:6 states: “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know Me more than I want burnt offerings” (NLT). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15 ESV).

What God wants from each of us is for us to know Him, to love Him and to obey Him. If we love Him, we will want to know Him more and to obey Him. If we know Him, we will love Him more and want to obey His Word. Sacrifice is important. Sacrifice is part of obedience. But the fat of rams is nothing compared to a loving, obedient heart for God and an intimate relationship and growing personal knowledge of Christ Jesus.

“But Samuel replied, ‘What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams’” – 1 Samuel 15:22 [NLT]

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Love That Lasts

It is so easy to get caught up in a routine. Even with our relationship with God, we can get into a routine. In time we might even start to consider the fulfillment of this weekly routine as what matters. Well I attended the elder meeting and I made it to the prayer meeting. Well I tithe every Sunday. Well I made it to choir practice and I even have the solo. Well I have perfect attendance for this quarter. Well I have done my daily devotion each day this week.

Your relationship with Christ is not about meetings and checking off a list. Your relationship with Christ is not about works. Your relationship with Christ is not about offerings and sacrifices alone. We should want “a love that lasts.” Hosea 6 says, “I want you to KNOW GOD.” To know God.

God wants you to know Him and to show love. Yes we should aim to read our Bible daily, to attend church, to tithe, and to serve the Lord however He leads. There are works; however, there is something else that is more important. Relationship. Knowing God. Loving God. Never take your focus off of those things. When this is your focus, everything else comes with it. When you are focused on the meetings, on the offerings, then it becomes less about God and more about something else.

“I’m after a love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know GOD, not go to more prayer meetings.” – Hosea 6:6 [MSG]

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]

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Know and Love

We tend to complicate things as humans. I have seen so many writings and videos providing instructions that seem unnecessary. The problem is we overcomplicate things even to the point of piling on extra baggage. In Hosea, it says that God does not want sacrifices above all else—he wants us to show love. Further, he doesn’t want burnt offerings—he wants you to know him.

Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the price for our sins so that once and for all there would no longer be this separation between us and God. Nothing ever again can get in the way of the relationship we have with God—that is unless we allow it. Unfortunately we often overcomplicate things. Some of us are legalistic. Some of us focus so much on sacrifices and offerings, but we lack the love. We put other things above knowing God.

You might love things and love people, but do you show love? Consider how you showed love this week. Is it a daily thing? Is it a way of life? You might know your neighbor but you don’t know your neighbor like you know your spouse. You know a spouse differently. God wants for you to know him in this type of way. That requires time. That requires a desire to know him. But it’s not a complicated thing to show love or to know God. Focus on him. Complications are just stumbling blocks.

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]

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Run First, Pray Later

The story of Jonah and the big fish is surely told so very often that it has lost its kick for some people. We like to shake our heads at Jonah, and some people even chuckle at his attempt to run from God. The sad thing is that we are all like Jonah at some point in our lives for we all have moments when we try the “run first and pray later.” Who has not liked what God was asking and held off and did something else? Who thought their way was better than God’s way? Who was directed to do something, but waited to do it or never did it at all? Who does not even listen to God at all to know the plan He has for them?

In Jonah 2, the first verse says, “Then Jonah prayed.” He was already inside the fish. THEN he prayed. See he ran from God, took off in a boat, and the boat was going all over the place in the water. He could have prayed then. I wonder if he foolishly thought perhaps that he could still make it away. He was not praying, and yet the people on board feared they would sink to their doom. The waters had to be rough and showed no sign of letting up, but Jonah went to sleep.

Now when the people tossed Jonah overboard and he is swallowed, perhaps then it was a reality check. I guess I’m not able to hide from God. Perhaps he recognized that there was no hope to get away now. Since there is no hope for him to do something on his own, for him to get away, for his plan to work— THEN he prayed. He got himself into trouble, THEN he prayed. He disobeyed, THEN he prayed.

We run first and then pray later too often. We make our decisions without asking God for His will. We think that by chance we will be able to do something on our own. We hope that our way will work out. When we realize we need God, when things are falling apart, when we do not have everything in place– then we want God to help. It is part of our human nature. We sadly think we know best. For some reason, we think that we have a better plan.

Disobedience is something we all partake in, but there’s hope. As Jonah noted in verse 2:2, God heard him and answered. He goes even further than simply listening, and saves Jonah from the mess he got himself into from not following Him in the first place. He forgives him and helps rescue him so that Jonah can do what he was initially supposed to do.

Life is filled with decisions. We can chose to run first and pray later, or we can decide to pray first so there is no need to run. I do not know your life story, but I know that my own story gives me example after example of the times when I went out for a run, only to come back to pray later. Without God, there is no satisfaction in life. He knows our needs; He has designed our purpose. With praying first and seeking His will, there is no need for our legs to run. Instead, I find that when we do this, instead of our legs getting the work, we are lifting our voices in praise. His plan is so good. He is so good.

“But Samuel replied: ‘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 [NIV]