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To obey is better than sacrifice.

It is becoming a rarity. We see the consequences all around us. Learning obedience was part of our upbringing at the time. In this “modern” age, however, obedience learning has fallen into disrepair. Not only with the youth do you see the decline taking place, also multitudes of God's children get lost and make little effort to investigate God's Word. To discover God's will. And who is there rubbing hands to offer them an “alternative”? No idea? No worries! That will be discussed below.

Saul's disobedience and doom.

He had a hard time dealing with it, the old Samuel. Had he ever anointed Saul as king over Israel, now he had to tell that same Saul that he would no longer be king. God Himself had put Saul aside and selected a substitute. Samuel was allowed to anoint that substitute as king. But first ... there was still some things to be done. And someone had to be called to order. That person was King Saul. He had been given a very clear assignment by Samuel, which turned out not to be clear enough for Saul or Saul simply did not want to listen to it. So that was stupid. He had dared to ignore the clear assignment he had been given by Samuel. Summarized: Saul was disobedient to the order which he received from God. This behavior is guaranteed to create problems.

In the Garden of Eden this was the case with the first humans. That we can notice the consequences on a daily basis is not surprising. That drama was so drastic at the time that the apostle Paul had to write in Romans 8:19-21 centuries later: “For with eager eagerness, creation awaits the revealing of the sons of God. For creation is subject to fruitlessness, not voluntarily, but in hopes of (the will of) Him who subjected it to it, because creation itself will also be freed from bondage to corruption to the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that until now all creation is groaning in all its parts and in labor.” In it we read three things:

  1. All creation longs for deliverance from the effects of the fall, which results from disobedience to God's words.
  2. There is a certain group of people who will play a role in that.
  3. The wicked in this world lead a fruitless existence that will end in a terrible place (Right now I will not mention its name). And the status in this world does not change that. Famous sportsman? Known politician? Honored scientist? In spite of all statues and praise: it is all firewood and has no eternal value. Because through disobedience to God, one is subjected to fruitlessness. And therefore is lost without any hope.

Anyway, I'm already ahead of things. First, we have to deal with King Saul. The rest of all those disobedient will come later. Our Heavenly Judge knows what to do with this, the Bible teaches us. In 1 Samuel 15:22-23 we find the judgment that the judge (and prophet) Samuel pronounces on disobedient Saul: “But Samuel said, Does the Lord enjoy burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as acting according to the will of the Lord? See, to obey is better than sacrifice, listening better than the fat of the rams. Verily rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry and serving of teraphim. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you so that you will no longer be king.”


Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

The words in this text: rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft I have not been able to comprehend for a long time. Of course the message as a whole was clear to me, but I could not make the relation between the words rebellion and witchcraft. Until I had a conversation with some of my family one day about placing objects with an occult background in our home, such as souvenirs that should serve as a memento of a “fun vacation” in a land infested with sorcery and occultism. Or like that funny Buddha statue you saw somewhere in a store. I would like to say that nowadays (completely in the spirit of these days) a deluge of this mess is offered for sale. Whoever brings this junk into his home will indeed find out that with the object concerned the accompanying evil spirits will also take up residence in the house concerned. With all miserable consequences!

During the conversation I quoted the words of Samuel cited above and as I spoke them the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and suddenly I saw the link between these two words standing before me. I will explain this:


This is also how the drama of the Fall in the Garden of Eden began. Man had received dominion over this world from God. Through Adam's disobedience to God, Satan took control of this world. We all notice the consequences of this every day. Disobedience to God equals obedience to Satan! Satan is therefore assigned property rights through sorcery. In the Fall, it was the disobedience of the first man to put the dominion over this world into the hands of Satan. Even now, in case of disobedience, the power of Satan is increased. So serious is our disobedience! What is happening on a daily basis in the world is that occultists, sorcerers or witches (in all shapes and sizes) also increase the power of Satan by their magic by giving him property rights. Summarized:

The woman believed Satan's lie and expected to obtain the knowledge of good and evil only by eating a forbidden fruit. She obeyed Satan by believing his words, and thereby disobeyed God by ignoring God's words. Her disobedience to God's words and her belief in Satan's words made this a reality.


God the Father demands obedience.

On the other hand, when Jesus died on the cross, He was obedient to death. Proof of this was provided by the combination of water and blood flowing from His side when the Roman soldiers used their spear to check whether He had indeed died. That was the obedience the Father wanted to see. As a result of which Jesus, as the first obedient man since the Fall, received from God the Father the power to restore the Kingdom of God on this world again, He Himself was the first inhabitant of it. And through which Jesus could also testify against His (still doubting) disciples in Matthew 28:18: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” The apostle Paul emphasized this again in Romans 5:19 where he writes: “For as by the disobedience of a man very many became sinners, so also by the obedience of one very many will become righteous.” So it is the obedience of the second Adam that opposes the disobedience of the first Adam. And this was the real reason for Jesus' death on the cross!! Only Jesus has the right to declare the (converted) sinner righteous before the Father. God the Father listens exclusively and only to Jesus. Therefore, “Whoever has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). There are many religions that, in their hypocrisy, came up with their own replacement. But whether it is a (historical) person or a stupid fantasy, they are just fantasies of lost sinners.

Incidentally, it once happened that a deceased Buddhist monk, shortly before his remains were to be cremated, suddenly sat up again on his deathbed and told his bewildered fellow monks what he had been through. “You must all repent to Jesus Christ!” He said, and continued: “I have been in hell and seen Buddha sitting there too.....!”

Back to disobedient King Saul. Wicked King Agag of Amalek heard old Samuel speaking and he expected he was being spared by old Samuel, but what King Saul had left behind therefore Samuel did in his stead: he cut Agag to pieces with a sword. At least this monster had received the wages for his wicked and cruel lifestyle. Maybe a little too gory? Many will follow in the end times!! Masses of God-deniers will suffer such a hopeless fate, because they chose to do it in their disobedience!
Jesus recalled this in Luke 19:26-27: “I say unto you, everyone who has will be given, and from him that has not, even that he has shall be taken away from him. But those enemies of mine, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slaughter them before my eyes.” God's patience never lasts longer than one human life. Whoever enters eternity as an enemy of his Creator will get to know His wrath. It is not out of nothing that we read in Hebrews 10:31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” And that, while Jesus has gone through so much trouble to spare us from this eternal punishment! More about that further on.


All this is a mystery to the ungodly in this world, they walk around like blind people. In Ephesians 5:8-10, the apostle Paul already wrote about it: “For you used to be darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of the light, for the fruit of light consists of mere goodness and righteousness and truth, and tests what is pleasing to the Lord.” Any person who does not want to know God lives in the spiritual darkness. Point. We do not need to have discussions about that. When sin came into the world, Satan's first thing was to blind man. Blind to the truth. This also happened to the judge Simson. Although this only yielded physical blindness to him, it is nevertheless an appealing example. We read this in Judges 16:21: “The Philistines seized him, put his eyes out, brought him to Gaza, and bound him with two chains of copper. And he had to run the mill in prison.” Samson had betrayed the secret of his supernatural power. He shouldn't have done that. We have just read the result of his disobedience. So are also with every unrepentant sinner in this world put out the (spiritual) eyes.

It is therefore the disobedience that has brought separation between the holy God and sinful man. He does not tolerate disobedience. Nevertheless, He is a tolerant God. We find this in Isaiah 48:8-9: “You have neither heard nor known, nor have you opened your ear from old, for I knew that you are very unfaithful and called a transgressor from the womb. For my name's sake I delay my anger, for my praise I restrain Myself for your good, so as not to cut you off.” This was a big problem for us!! Because we humans were not and are not as violators able to change that situation. We had no chance. However, the Creator had already provided for this because He knew that man would believe in Satan's lie and be tempted into disobedience. Jesus (our Creator!) intervened Himself.


Jesus remained obedient until death.

The apostle Paul wrote about this in Philippians 2:5-8: “Let that mind be with you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And in his appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even to the death of the cross.” Jesus was not born as a human to be defeated by Satan, as mockers mean and therefore turn their nose at Jesus' suffering on Calvary. And who think it is all a pathetic display. Or.... it is thought to be a failed attempt to deliver the nation of Israel from Roman rule. For what reason the Orthodox Jews are still waiting for their messiah. Because Jesus did not deal with Roman rule, those mockers dismissed Jesus as a failure. However, Jesus did not come to rescue that Jewish kingdom. He made that clear in John 18:36 to Pontius Pilate with the words: “My Kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom had been of this world, my servants would have fought so that I would not be delivered up to the Jews; now my kingdom is not from here.” He had come to save all humanity from eternal death. And not just a bunch of rebellious Jews. Their “problem” of being occupied by the Romans was only an afterthought for God!!

When Jesus finally died on Calvary, He fulfilled the Father's requirement. He had been obedient to death. In 1 Corinthians 15:22 we see it said: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ (the last Adam) shall all be made alive.” And a little further Paul writes in verse 45: “Thus it is also written: the first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam a quickening spirit.” In Romans 5:14, the apostle Paul speaks again of the last Adam when he writes: “Yet death has reigned as king from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in a way similar to the one transgressing Adam, who is an image of the coming (Adam).” And then we find in Romans 5:17-19: “For if by the transgression of the one (Adam) death has become king by that one (Adam), much more will they who have the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, living and reigning as kings through the one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, just as it was condemned by an act of transgression for all people (at the Fall), so it is also justified by an act of righteousness for all people. Because, right through the disobedience very many have become sinners, so also through the obedience of one very many will become righteous.” So it is the obedience of the second Adam that is opposed to the disobedience of the first Adam!

None of us could yet draw near to the Father, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” Only Jesus was able to do this. He had proved to the Father and to the whole realm of Satan that He had fulfilled God's requirement.


All or nothing.

From everything the Bible tells us about the events surrounding the crucifixion, the image of a supernatural event emerges. Pontius Pilate had already become convinced of this and at the time of Jesus' death his chieftain, who was responsible for the execution, also had to admit that a son of a god had just given up the Spirit. Mark 15:39 describes this as follows: “When the centurion standing before Him saw that he had given up the spirit, he said: Surely this man was a Son of God.” From the sixth hour to the ninth hour, as we read in three of the four Gospels, darkness came over the entire country. It can be guessed that this did not happen by chance. As David described in Psalms 22:12-21, Jesus was at the center of the legions who had been summoned by the ruler of this world to deal with his Creator. Had he succeeded, Satan would have finally gained control of this world without any remaining possible action on God's part. For as stated above: Jesus Christ was God's only answer to the illegal seizure of power by Satan. Jesus realized this all too well when He suffered mortal fears shortly before His capture in the garden of Gethsemane. This responsibility weighed on His shoulders like an unbearably heavy burden, which made Him say to His disciples in Matthew 26:38: “My soul is very sad, even to the point of dying; stay here and watch with Me.” Jesus had a mission to fulfill that would have profound consequences. The consequences were also profound and poignant for Himself. What is described, for example, in Hebrews 5:7-8: “During his days in the flesh, He offered prayers and supplications to Him who could save Him from death, with strong cries and tears, and He was answered for his fear, and so He, though He was the Son, was taught obedience by what He suffered.” There is mention here of the obedience that Jesus had to learn. Although this gives the impression that Jesus had to learn obedience, this is not the reality. Jesus is testified in Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things in the same way as we are, but without sin.” If Jesus has not sinned, He has never disobeyed the Father's plan. So Jesus knew what it is to be obedient, and those who are obedient need not learn obedience. That only applies to the disobedient. But even though Jesus was obedient, it still had to be proven. It was necessary to prove to Satan and his kingdom that Jesus remained obedient to the Father's plan. That obedience led to His death on the cross. He was given by the Father to the infernal powers of Satan's kingdom, but finally through His obedience until death He obtained all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).

The battle at Calvary was a battle of all or nothing for both God and Satan. To achieve his goal, the ruler of this world threw in all his available weapons, with the result that due to the enormous concentration of legions of demons, unusual phenomena also occurred in the natural world. This supernatural event caused the dense darkness mentioned in three of the four Gospels during which Jesus had to wage a hellish battle with the legions of hellish powers that had been summoned by Satan.


Jesus' blood as evidence.

As expected, the crucifixion was a bloody story. The blood that flowed on Calvary is evidence of Jesus 'obedience to death, and therefore, for God the Father, it is evidence of Jesus' obedience. By this blood is meant not only the blood that flowed during the whole length of the crucifixion, but also and perhaps especially the blood that came out of His side when the Roman soldiers, to determine whether Jesus had indeed died, stabbed Him with a spear in His side. We read this in John 19:32-34: “Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who were crucified with Him; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers stabbed his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” The combination of blood and water is caused by the fact that after the onset of death the blood flow stops and the red blood cells and other solids settle and thus separate from the blood plasma. This blood plasma is the water that John saw flowing from Jesus' side. The ultimate proof of Jesus' death was thereby provided, and thus Jesus' blood has become the proof of His obedience to death.

Incidentally, Jesus had a hard battle not only during but also before Golgotha. Of that He showed something in Luke 12:50 where He said: “I must be baptized with a baptism, and how does it hurt me until it is finished.” This was recalled by the writer of Hebrews in later years. We come across this in Hebrews 5:7-10: “During his days in the flesh, He offered prayers and supplications to Him who could save Him from the dead with strong cries and tears, and He was answered for his fear, and so He, though He Himself was the Son, learned obedience from what He suffered, and when He reached the end, He became a cause of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, addressed by God as high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” In Philippians 2:8-11 this is expressed in other words: “And in His appearance as a man he humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even to the death of the cross. Therefore God also exalted Him exceedingly and bestowed upon Him the name above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those who are in heaven and those on the earth and those under the earth, and every tongue confess: Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!


Our obedience.

Now it is our turn. Not to die on a cross like Jesus. That sacrifice was made once and for all. Whoever wants to please God will have to pay a price for his obedience to the gospel. Jesus was very clear about that. For example in John 15:20: “Remember the word that I have spoken to you: A slave is not above his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.” Satan will continue to try to pull us back into that pool of rebellion. Eden on repeat. So we will have to learn obedience. That is a growth process. And it is not something from today to tomorrow. It is an often very difficult growth process. That was summarized by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6: “For though we live in the flesh, we do not go to war in the flesh, for the weapons of our campaign are not carnal, but powerful before God to break down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every ramp who is thrown up against the knowledge of God, bring every thought as a prisoner of war under obedience to Christ, and be ready as soon as your obedience is complete to punish all disobedience.” As recalled here by Paul, it is not uncommon for a fierce battle to be involved. So be it. Who wants to go beautiful has to endure pain. Do we want to be beautiful in God's eyes? Then we will have to learn that obedience. There is no other way! That fierce battle is on the one hand the result of the often fierce attacks by the evil spirits, so we should not be surprised. That is why the apostle Peter also warned us about this in 1 Peter 4:12-13: “Beloved, do not let the glow of fire, which is for testing, alienate you, as if something strange happened to you. On the contrary, rejoice as you partake of the sufferings of Christ that you may also rejoice with joy at the revelation of his glory.”

However, there is another side to the story and it comes from God. Because we obtain:


No obedience without chastisement.

The fierce struggle that we face when we want to learn this obedience sometimes comes out of the blue in this case. About this the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-3: “Even you, though you were dead because of your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience - besides, all of us also used to be wrong in it, in the lusts of our flesh, acting according to the will of the flesh and of the thoughts, and we were by nature as much as the others, children of wrath.” That prince of the power of the air (= Satan, as you suspected) hates obedience. I remember the time in my own childhood when our parents did their best to give us a decent education. And when necessary, a strong blow was sometimes given. And it was sometimes necessary. However, I learned a lot from it. Now when I look around the world, I see a generation growing up that is raised by Satan in disobedience. A world in which lawless governments are used by Satan to destroy education for obedience. With all kinds of hypocritical inventions such as an alleged “child abuse”, the corrective tap is banned. Just as Satan likes to see it happen. The result can be seen in the deteriorating society in which the law enforcement officers have an increasingly difficult task to turn it into a livable society. People have deviated en masse from the wisdom in Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not withhold discipline from the boy; you strike him with the stick, he does not die from it; You strike him with the stick, but save his life from the realm of the dead.” And exactly that saving is hated by Satan and his evil spirits. He would like us all to descend into the realm of the dead!

Missing a proper education can therefore have absolutely disastrous consequences. Disobedience can also have dramatic consequences for children of God who regularly walk by the edges. For such cases, the Hebrew writer wrote the following warnings in Hebrews 12:4-11: “You have not yet resisted to the blood in your struggle against sin, and have forgotten the admonition that speaks unto you as sons, My son, do not despise the chastisement of the Lord, and do not relax, if you are punished by Him, for he whom he loves chastens the Lord, and chastens every son whom he accepts. As a chastisement you have to bear this: God treats you like sons. For is there a son who is not chastised by his father? But if you remain free from chastening, which all have endured, then you are bastards, and not sons. Moreover, we have suffered the chastening of our fathers to the flesh, and we looked up to them; shall we not then submit much more to the Father of spirits, and live? For they have chastised us to the best of their knowledge for a few days, but He is doing us good, that we may partake of His holiness. For at the present time all discipline does not seem to bring joy, but pain, but later it brings to them, those who have been trained by it, a peaceful fruit consisting of righteousness.”

Do we want to live a life that pleases God? Do we want to participate in His holiness? Then you have just read the conditions. It does not come from my imagination: God's Word taught us this. The point now is whether we want to obey this..... and stay. King Saul, on the other hand, was behaving disgraceful and thus he was disobedient. He was put aside by God. His so-called sacrifices did not change that. Because: to obey is better than sacrifice!

The gospel is far too complicated for adults.
Only a child can comprehend it. (after Matthew 18:3)