Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
22 And Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice
and to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is no less a sin than divination,
and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”
24 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. 25 Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin, and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” 26 Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this very day and has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you. 29 Moreover, the Glory of Israel will not deceive or change his mind, for he is not a mortal, that he should change his mind.” 30 Then Saul said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
Here we are just about in the middle of Lent, the forty days prior to Easter. Many people choose to celebrate Lent by giving up something in their daily lives. Sometimes it might be sugar, or coffee, or sodas or maybe a bad habit like biting your nails or cursing. The idea behind this is to “get ready” for Easter. Every time we give up something, we are preparing for the special time in our church year when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Several years ago, I was introduced to the idea of not cutting out something for Lent but taking on something—adding a good deed or activity. I have tried this, and it is a fulfilling and meaningful practice to me. Some years I add helping a homeless person. Some years I add forgiving anyone who has wronged me. One year I added giving away at least $5 a day to random people. In the passage today, Samuel says to Saul, “It is better to obey than make a sacrifice.” Saul had disobeyed God and Samuel was very angry with him. When we take on the idea of obeying God rather than making a sacrifice, perhaps we, too, could benefit.
Dear Lord, Here we are in the season of Lent where we try to prepare for the greatest gift ever given to mankind—the miracle of grace. Whether we use this time to give up something we would be better off without, or add something we need in our lives, help us to remember and celebrate your sacrifice for us. Amen.
Go with God.
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