What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  (Hos 6:6)

This Scripture verse states two things that God prefers over a burnt offering:

  • Mercy – God wants His people to show compassion and kindness to others, especially anyone who is in need.
  • Knowledge of God – God wants us to know Him, and one important way to do that is to read and to meditate upon His Word.  He has given us His Word in order to allow us to learn all about Him, and about His truth.

So Samuel said:  “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  (1 Sam 15:22)

God says clearly here that obedience is better than sacrifice.  He wants us to obey Him and His Word.  He asks us to live in agreement with His Word and His wisdom.

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3)

The Bible passage shown above teaches us that more than sacrifice, the Lord desires:

  • For us to live righteously – This means to live a holy, good, and moral life among men, a life that honors God and obeys the Word of God. 
  • For us to do justice – This means to live with a sense of fairness to all, and to treat everyone equally.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:14)

A Better Priesthood

A Better Priesthood

It was on the basis of the Levitical priesthood that the Law was given to the people of Israel. Now, if the work of the Levitical priests had been perfect, there would have been no need for a different kind of priest to appear, one who is in the priestly order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron. 12 For when the priesthood is changed, there also has to be a change in the law. 13 And our Lord, of whom these things are said, belonged to a different tribe, and no member of his tribe ever served as a priest.  (Heb 7:11-13 GNT, underscoring added)

Melchizedek’s lineage is not shown in Scripture, but his name means king of righteousness and king of peace.  So, he is considered to be a type of Christ.

The Scriptures say about Him, “You are a priest forever, just like Melchizedek.”  18 In this way a weak and useless command was put aside, 19 because the Law cannot make anything perfect. At the same time, we are given a much better hope, and it can bring us close to God.  (Heb 7:17-19 CEV)  This passage of the Bible refers to Jesus as “a priest forever.”

Here’s a pertinent quotation concerning Jesus’ priesthood:

In verses 4–10 of Hebrews 7, the author recounts how Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and that the Levitical priests (who were biological descendants of Abraham) would one day be commanded in the law to accept tithes from the people of Israel. The author concludes, “it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior” (v. 7). Given that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, and the Israelites paid tithes to the Levites, this is a strong argument that Jesus Christ’s priesthood is greater than that of the Levites. – Article by Kim Riddlebarger,
Source:  https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/better-priesthood/

Levitical priests could serve only until they died.  Jesus, alone, serves as our Priest forever even into eternity, as the Scripture says:

“The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ . . . ”  (Heb 7:21) 

Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant.  (Heb 7:22)  Earthly priests’ work is temporary, but Jesus holds his Priesthood eternally because He will never die.  (Heb 7:24)  Jesus, in His perfection and holiness, is unchangeable.  He always lives to make intercession for His people. (Heb 7:25) 

Jesus is a High Priest above all others:  holy, unstained, innocent, and exalted above the heavens.  (See Heb 7:26-28)  Glory to God most High!  We are so blessed that He is interceding for each and every one of us who have made Him our Lord and Savior.

His Unfailing Mercy

His Unfailing Mercy

Our God is a God of unfailing mercy.  Hallelujah!

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)

Nevertheless in Your great mercy, You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them;
for You are God, gracious and merciful.
  (Neh 9:31)

Has His mercy ceased forever?  Has His promise failed forevermore?  (Ps 77:8)

And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.  (Lk 1:50)

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  (Eph 2:4-7)

All of the Bible verses shown above attest to this truth; and there are many, many more Scriptures concerning God’s mercy than those that I’ve chosen to share with you here.

This is extremely important to us (human beings) because we tend to fail frequently in our efforts to live holy, obedient, godly lives.  When we sin, we know that we can confess our sins, and God will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 Joh 1:9) 

By the unfailing mercy of God, His perfect salvation covers and obliterates ALL of our sins:  past, present, and future.  The only requirements on our part are that we live obediently to the Lord and His Word; continue in a loving relationship with our Savior; and that we never renounce Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Despite the distractions of daily life, we must remember to focus on the goodness of God and His continuing, unfailing mercy upon us.  By His mercy and grace, we are enabled and empowered to bring Him glory and honor through our testimonies and our lives.  May His Name be exalted forever.

Be Watchful

Be Watchful

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (2 Tim 4:5)

. . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—  (Eph 6:18)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  (1 Pet 4:7)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  (1 Cor 16:13)

Often the Bible urges us to watch as well as to pray.  (Mk 13:33; 14:38; Lk 21:36; Eph 6:18)  It’s important that these two actions go hand in hand. 

Watch means to stay awake; to be sleepless.  We need to take this command literally as well as spiritually.  We are meant to be vigilant, on guard, alert, and intently aware.  Spiritual watching combined with prayer will give us the strength we need to resist temptation and to overcome difficult situations in life.

Staying awake is connected with righteousness.  (1 Cor 15:34)  If ever there has been a time to stay alert and focused, it is NOW.  Many scholars believe that we are living in what is called the “end times.”  We must focus on strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ and living a holy life, by the grace which He imparts to us.

Believers must be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ; we must guard against temptation; and we should pray without ceasing.  We should prepare for the completion (conclusion) of our salvation!

“Vigilant watchfulness is a manifestation of genuine spiritual life.” ~ Billy Graham

The New Self

The New Self

In Christ, we have been given a “new self.”  (Eph 4:24)  We have been born again.  (Joh 3:3; 1 Pet 1:23)  We must cooperate with the Lord and put on the new man. In other words, we need to make the effort to live through our new man by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24 and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.  (Eph 4:22-24 GNT)

The Bible tells us to “put on” a number of different things.  We are told to PUT ON:

  • The armor of light (Rom 13:12)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14)
  • Incorruption; immortality (1 Cor 15:53-54)
  • Christ (Gal 3:27)
  • The new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10)
  • The whole armor of God (Eph 6:11)
  • The breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14)
  • Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Col 3:12)
  • Love—the bond of perfection (Col 3:14)
  • The breastplate of faith and love (1 Thes 5:8)

We are being taught, through all of these Bible verses, how to live our born-again lives.  The Holy Spirit is tutoring us on the “normal Christian life” so that we may understand our responsibilities and be able to lay hold of our blessings and our inheritance. 

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  (1 Cor 6:19)

If we will rely upon God, trust His Word, and live obediently, we will be living the “new man life” which is upright and holy. 

Out of the Mouth

Out of the Mouth

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth [words], this defiles a man.  (Mt 15:11 NKJV – parenthesized word added)

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. (Mt 15:18)

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Cor 3:17)

The definition of defile is:  spoil, sully, impair, debase, or degrade; to desecrate or profane something sacred.  The words that come out of our mouths are capable of defiling us!

From the verses quoted above, we understand that our words can displease God, because we are His holy, sacred temple.  He never wants us to speak words which would degrade us.  Words are the heart’s reaction or response to people or circumstances.  He wants us to respond to all things as He would—with love and mercy.

Jesus is our example in all things.  (1 Pet 2:21-24; Jo 13:13-16)  He has called us to follow Him, as He leads and shepherds us. 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good . . .  (Lk 6:45a KJV)  Let us encourage ourselves to speak forth only words which are good and edifying—which bring glory to God and blessings to mankind.

What Do You Know?

What Do You Know?

Today, we’re considering what we can KNOW.

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  (John 9:31 NKJV)

Then he said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.”  (Acts 22:14 NKJV)  – Ananias spoke this to Paul after he prayed for Paul to receive his sight.

… having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself … (Ephesians 1:9 NKJV)

We may claim these promises for ourselves.  God has:

  • Chosen us (Acts 22:14; 1 Peter 2:4) – We’re precious to Him.
  • Caused us to know His will (John 9:31; Acts 22:14; Ephesians 1:9) – God shares mysteries with us.
  • Made us know His voice (Proverbs 20:12; Acts 22:14; John 10:27; 18:37) – What an honor it is to know His voice!
  • Promised that we’ll see the Just One – Jesus (Acts 22:14; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 7:22; 8:35) – This is a glorious promise.

We belong to the Lord Jesus; we are set apart and made holy because of that fact.  We may trust Him to reveal His will to us in every circumstance; and we can accurately and clearly hear His voice, if we will train our ears to listen.  If what you “hear,” agrees with the Bible, you can be reassured that you’ve heard from God!

How do you train your ears to hear Him?  Read, meditate, and study the Bible, which is the Word of God.  The better that you know the Word, the easier it will be for you to hear His voice, because He will never contradict His Word. 

Rejoice in your sweet relationship with the God who is more than enough!  Hallelujah!