But Samuel replied [to King Saul]: “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. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:22-23, NIV* (emphasis mine)
When I read these verses the other day at Other Food: Daily Devos, four words jumped out at me:
It all comes back to attitude, doesn’t it? God asks for a trusting, obedient heart, for a person who will love, listen and live under His authority.
Contrast this with King David’s prayer:
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12, NIV*
I wonder from his word choices if David isn’t remembering God’s words to Saul. The difference in the two men’s hearts is what pleases God:
David has committed a series of sins that we might judge as worse than Saul’s. But David pleads for God to renew their relationship, and I think his prayer for “a willing spirit” is key.
What will enable us to make the ongoing choice to heed and obey God? To trust His character enough to do it His way rather than our way? A willing spirit.
Father, I can’t thank You enough for saving me—and for Your promise never to leave me. I confess it’s easier to walk by sight than by faith, to follow my own understanding rather than trusting You. In Your mercy, please keep working to change me. Because of Your Son, forgive me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, so that I can follow You.