How can I please God? Here is the most important question for each of us who have been saved by grace. Our whole lives belong to Him by the double right of creation and redemption. Yet, how often do we pause and ask ourselves this question?
Perhaps, even if the query is made, the answer is far from satisfactory. Even those who are children of God seem sometimes to have a very hazy idea as to what is pleasing to Him. Alas, this condition is due to our indifference and carelessness rather than to any indefinite statements on the part of the Lord.
Are we not all guilty at times of taking the path that Saul trod - doing our own will and then seeking to appease God by a sacrifice of some sort? Saul in his disobedience claimed that his motive was to bring back that which he could offer to the Lord, despite the fact that he had been instructed to destroy the flocks and herds of the Amalekites. How can we hope to have our sacrifices accepted when the evidences of our disobedience are all about us? Scripture is very plain on this point and leaves no doubt as to the mind of God. Obedience must come first! Without that all else is worthless. The most pretentious sacrifices are an abomination to Him if there is a heart and life of rebellion behind them.
Does this word, "to obey is better than sacrifice", brought by a faithful servant of the Lord to the king, search our own hearts? Every one of us, if we were honest with ourselves, would plead guilty to this very same fault to a greater or lesser degree. Obedience costs us the surrender of our will to God, and the natural man rebels at such a thought. But there is the crucial test of our love for the Lord, expressed by His own words, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (Jn 14.15). Surely, that cannot be called love which does not beget obedience. Let us, by the grace of God, seek to put first things first and render to Him that obedience which is in itself a sweet sacrifice.