DON’T FEAR PEOPLE
Date: March 15
1 Samuel 15:22-23
"Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king."
This is really a sad story, but it's also a warning for us today. Samuel was Israel's first priest and Saul was Israel's first king. Samuel anointed Saul to become king and Saul did well at first. But as you read verse 24 it says, "And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." So Saul was a person who feared people and because of that, he sinned against God.
As the priest, Samuel was the one who could do the sacrifices for God. Saul was not supposed to touch them. But instead of waiting for Samuel, Saul did the sacrifices himself. As soon as he started doing what he was not supposed to do, Samuel came. Samuel said something to Saul so profound that we should all learn it from today's teaching.
Samuel said in verse 22, "Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." So God delights in our obedience more than He does in our sacrifices. But in this case, Saul didn't obey the Lord. He feared people instead and as a result, he lost his kingship. God didn't take Saul's kingship from him right away. After he sinned, Saul became a very miserable king, and over time, he began to lose everything.
The important thing to learn from this story is that obedience is better than sacrifice. So that means that it is possible for you to do a religious practice and still not obey God. It could be going to church, giving your tithes and offerings, or singing in the choir. You could be doing all of those things and more but still not obey God. You could attend church faithfully every week but still not have a personal relationship with God.
One thing God despises the most is disobedience. Notice what it says in verse 23a, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…" That's how bad rebellion is; that's what God thinks rebellion is like. Verse 23b says, "stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images)…" So being stubborn is like worshipping other gods, the Bible says. Disobedience is really self-destruction.
Another thing to learn from this story is not to be afraid of people. In this case, Saul was afraid of people and because of that, he fell into sin. When you have fear of people, you connect yourself with Satan. Out of that fear, you begin doing wrongful things. Instead of fearing people, we should have the fear of God in our hearts. Out of that fear, we will do what's pleasing in God's sight.
So fearing people is a trap. We should not make decisions based on fear of people. That is so important to know. You are going to fall into sin if you fear people. So when you make a decision, think of whether or not that decision is based on your feelings, on your mind, or on your spirit. Your decisions should always be based on what your spirit feels is right. But for your spirit to know what God wants, you have to read the Word of God. Fearing God is really obeying His Word. When we fear God, we will please Him. But if we fear people and try to please people, we will only lead ourselves to destruction.