July 22 – Listen First, Then Obey


“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 listen than the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)

It is in this history lesson about Israel and their King that we find our promise. Given in today’s verse the promise is timeless in its application. King Saul, the first king of Israel in the time of Samuel the prophet/judge, also became the first king rejected by God for his disobedience to God’s command. The King heard and knew what God wanted of him – “Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.”(1 Samuel 15:18). But Saul saw and wanted some of the banned spoils from the battle. He helped himself and Samuel had to confront him. Trying, as we often do to rationalize our actions, Saul claimed with some excuse of how his disobedience was purposed to offer sacrifices to God. The lesson is clear and a promise from God of what he desires above all else – our obedience. God wants and even commands that we not just hear but listen and obey Him in all things. It is not easy and we need God’s help in order to do it. First we listen, then we do what is obedience. God is our sovereign and He blesses faithful obedience.

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May 15 – Listen, Know, Follow


“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)

The life and work of a shepherd was a well known occupation from Old Testament times. When Jesus was on this earth walking among the people he used familiar words to describe Himself – one of them was to described Himself as the Good Shepherd. Those who followed Him were His sheep. Like the sheep cared for by their shepherd, followers of Jesus know and listen to His voice. That means, of course, that Jesus speaks to His followers. We hear his voice as we read the Bible or as we listen to others reading from it. He has so much to tell us. When we read in the Old Testament we can sense Him speaking to us. He speaks to us in the New Testament too.  We can hear Him in His teaching to the disciples and the people as recorded by the Gospel writers. We also hear his voice in the letters written to the churches. Jesus also speaks to us in our hearts through our consciences and He uses the Bible to confirm what he says. Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Let’s be sure we’re listening.

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