But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols… 1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT)
In our relationship with the Lord, it’s not so much about how much we give to or do for Him but hearing Him and willingly acting on what He has told us.
No one ever lived a life that pleased God like Jesus did. Everything that Jesus thought, said and did in all His life on earth pleased Father God.
John 8:29 (NKJV) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
How did Jesus, living as a human being like us please God on earth? It wasn’t by offering a lot of sacrifices, money, or material things to God. Neither was it doing a lot of things for God.
During Jesus’ time there were religious people who outwardly seemed to be giving a lot to God. The temple was still there and the system of offering animal sacrifices was still going on. The Jews were doing all these things strictly and diligently. They were observing the law, keeping the Sabbath but on so many occasions they missed out on what really pleased God.
When Jesus healed on the Sabbath these people who thought that through their zealous law keeping were pleasing God became angry accusing Jesus of breaking God’s law by doing work on a sabbath. Jesus replied that it’s lawful to do good, heal and save life on the Sabbath. Luke 6:6-11.
Jesus pleased God in His life on earth because He always sought to hear what God was saying to Him and obeyed or did what He was instructed.
John 5:30(AMPC) I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord–but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.
Hearing the Lord and making decisions in line with what He has told us is the life of obedience that pleases Him.
Obedience to God in the seemingly small things such as being kind and nice to those around us, taking a few minutes to thank God for what He’s already done for you can please God more than the sacrifice of a hundred days of prayer and fasting to get God to give you more things, the sacrifice of one day giving millions of money to be seen or respected by others.
The Lord speaks to us from His written Word as we read, study, confess and meditate on it. The Word instructs us on what God wants us to do.
The Lord also speaks to us from our hearts – the witness, the knowing, the peace, on the inside of us tell us what He desires for us to be involved in.
Yielding to and following the instructions of God’s living Word and the promptings in our hearts is how we live in obedience to God and it’s how we please Him.