Sacrifice: A Total Trade
1 Samuel 15:1-23
Saul had majorly messed up, and he knew it. God had given him a clear task: totally wipe out the evil Amalekites - their king, their people, their homes, and all of their possessions. God had grown tired of their wicked ways and wanted all evidence of their existence gone. But Saul was greedy and valued his own will above the Lord’s. So he got rid of everything - except the treasure and livestock he knew would add to his wealth. Samuel - being the savage, God-fearing prophet that he was - didn’t hesitate to call this rebellious king out and reveal his sinful nature.
Saul didn’t like getting a guilt trip, so he tried to persuade the prophet to see things his way instead. But it was of no use. Saul thought he could cover his mistakes by using the best of the forbidden plunder to make a sacrificial offering the the Lord. But the thing is, the sacrifices Saul made to the Lord as an effort of worship were shallow and meaningless without his full obedience and submission to back it up. You see, it wasn’t much of a sacrifice in the first place. That livestock was not fruit gained from from Saul’s hard work, but just stolen goods from someone else’s labor. Giving them up didn’t cost Saul anything - it was just a convenient offering. That’s not a sacrifice. A sacrifice has to cost you something. And because of Saul’s continuous disobedience and failure to admit his fault, he lost the favor of God and his place as king.
Many times, we feel we have a right to something God has told us to get rid of. We casually consider something God requires of us, and only follow through if we feel it’s truly necessary or if it’s convenient. And then in our sin, we try to make excuses to convince ourselves and everyone around us that “fill in the blank” is not that bad. There are even times when we can deceive ourselves into thinking that our disobedience is acceptable as long as we still partially give ourselves to God in some way.
But the truth is, the actual definition of sacrifice is: “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.” Sacrifice means you have to make a trade - a total trade. You have to walk away from one thing you treasure in order to prove your love for something greater. There’s no such thing as a partial sacrifice, just like there’s no such thing as partial obedience and submission. We cannot value the world and honor the Lord at the same time: our hearts are not capable of holding a place for both. And anything you do sacrifice for the Lord is done in vain if your obedience is out of place.
So if you’re like Saul and can’t give something up to follow God, you’re essentially saying whatever you’re holding onto is more valuable to you than He is... And you’re risking the loss of your place in God’s Kingdom. And if you’re trying to serve the Kingdom without being fully submitted to His commands, you’re working for nothing.
Without a total trade of your desires for His will, you cannot say you truly value the Lord, nor can you expect to keep His favor upon your life. So ask yourself: Is my life reflecting a love for the Lord, or a love for the world?
Pray: “Lord, I give my whole heart and my whole life to You. Create in me a heart that is set on your Kingdom. Let my priorities and my treasures be set on the things You desire for my life. And whatever You ask me to walk away from, help me to do so without hesitation.”