Day 139 – May 19, 2021
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 15-16, Titus 3
“But Samuel replied: “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)
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3:4–8)
There is a tension between our texts today. There is Saul, who has made the mistake of turning away from the Lord, and there is Paul, who is calling us towards obedience. Paul says, “Be careful to devote yourself to doing what is good.”
Saul’s failure is our failure. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Paul says of this, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy.”
It’s not about our sacrifice, it’s about the sacrifice of Jesus pouring out generously his love for us.
The connection here is significant. Samuel taught Saul that God desires obedience over sacrifice.
Jesus teaches us that his obedience, that led to his sacrifice, is so that we may have a new birth into a new life, devoted to God.
The connection here is important. Jesus’ sacrifice ends all sacrifice. We have forgiveness and new life in Christ. The OT took seriously sin and obedience and the sacrificial system. In this account of Saul’s failures we are given a hint of things to come. It leads us to see a righteousness that is not of ourselves, but given us through the love of Christ.
Devote yourselves to what is good!
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.