Our God being a merciful and righteous one continuously revealed to us why obedience is better than sacrifice. God cannot be bribed nor deceived. He is a right and holy God and therefore he expects his children to be holy too. It is our duty to obey God’s laws and commands before anything else. It is pertinent to know that our God searches our heart before accepting our sacrifices and that’s why he made it easier for us by giving us his laws and decrees. Deuteronomy 11:32 “Be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today”
Abraham was among the people in the Bible that God used to show us why we need to obey him first. God tested Abraham’s obedience and faithfulness to him by instructing him to sacrifice Isaac his only son whom he love so much to him as a burnt offering. Abraham being a faithful man obeyed God and was about to slay his son when God then instructed him not to do so but rather provided a ram as an alternative to the sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-13). It was indeed a true test of faith and obedience which Abraham passed and therefore God being pleased with him rewarded him. Genesis 22:15-18 ” The angel of God called Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possessions of the cities of their enemies, and through your offsprings all nations on earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
On the other hand, failure to obey God’s command brings about curse and regrets which may not be appeased by any level of offering or sacrifice. This can be seen in the case of Saul whom God commanded to go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy all that belonged to them. Saul disobeyed God by sparing the best of the sheep and cattle in order to sacrifice it to God. Samuel made it known to him that he has been rejected as the King of Isreal because he failed to obey God’s command accordingly. And made it known to him that God does not take delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices but rather obedience to his commands. (1 Samuel 15:1-21). This was the reply that Samuel gave to Saul; 1 Samuel 15:22 “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.” This led to the rejection of Saul as the king of Israel because he rejected the word of God.
Having said all these, let me give you a brief summary of the sacrifices of those that God is pleased with and the sacrifices of those that he is not pleased with.
Sacrifices of people that God is pleased with
Sacrifices of the righteous people
I earlier said it that our God is a righteous God and he accepts the sacrifices of righteous people. He expects the unrighteous to be righteous before offering him their sacrifices. Psalm 4:5 “Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.” Strive hard to always do good to God and other people around you in order to make your sacrifices acceptable to the Lord. Hebrew 13:16 ” And do not forget to do good and share with others for with such sacrifices, God is pleased. Also Proverbs 21:8 “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
Sacrifices of those that loves him and their neighbours
Our God is a God of love, therefore we should love God with our whole heart and also our neighbours so that our sacrifices will be pleasing to him. Mark 12:33 ” To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. We demonstrate our love for God by obeying his laws and commandments which also include showing love to people around us.
Sacrifices of Faithful People
Don’t approach the altar or sanctuary of the Lord with disbelief. God abhors the sacrifices of faithless people. Have strong faith in God and believe that your sacrifices have been accepted. Hebrew 11:4 “By faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as a righteous man whom God spoke well of his offering. And by faith, he still speaks even though that he is dead .”
Sacrifices that God is not pleased with
Sacrifices of disobedient people
God abhors the sacrifices of disobedient people and that is why he instructed us to be obedient in order to obtain his blessings. God expects us to be obedient in all things. Jeremiah 6:19 ” Hear o earth, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet Calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” God still demonstrated to us that he is not interested in the sacrifices of those who does not obey his command by instructing the Israelites to eat and take their sacrifices and burnt offerings and that what pleases him more is obedience to his words. Jeremiah 7:21 “This is what God Almighty, the God of Israel says ” Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves . For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt, I did not give them command about burnt offerings, but I gave them this command: Obey me, I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in the ways that I command you that all may go well with you.”
Sacrifices of the wicked
Our God is a good God. He detests wickedness, hatred and also keeping of malice. Proverbs 15:8 “The Lord detests the sacrifices of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.” He does not accept the sacrifices of people with evil minds and intentions. Isaiah 1:13 ” Stop bringing meaningless offerings; your incense is detestable to me. New moons, Sabbaths and convocations I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
God expects us to obey him in all things and at all times as this will strengthen our relationship with him thereby making our sacrifices acceptable and pleasing to him. 2 Corinthians 2:9 “The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.”
Also Read; Benefits of Living a Life That Pleases God