God Wants Obedience Not Sacrifice
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Samuel 15:22
God wants obedience not sacrifice is really what He desires, and if this is so, then why does the Hebrew Old Testament say that God wants animal sacrifice done with a certain ritual ?
We believe that it is because the corrupt people of the world wanted animal sacrifice, because they believed that it was the only way to appease God, for that was what their pagan ancestry taught them, and God wanted to limit the killing until they learned better.
Bible scholars, who study language, also believe that the Israelites returning from Babylon brought these sacrificial pagan rituals with them, as did Abraham when he left that region, and they wrote them into the Bible about 400 BCE, which means that the Exodus passage we will look at shortly contains an addition from this time period.
It is also very interesting that following the first coming of Jesus and the destruction of the Temple, the entire sacrificial system ended and continues that way up until this present day.
Today, unleavened bread and wine take its place in ritual gatherings and meals, but other than that, the Jewish people pray directly to God, as do Christians.
Let’s take a look at what we are told in Exodus 12:1-14, and see if we can relate it to the way things are today.
1. Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
2. "This month shall be the beginning of months for you ; it is to be the first month of the year to you.
This is speaking of a new beginning for the Israelites, and it has nothing to do with the need for animal sacrifices that follow, for God wants obedience not sacrifice as we are told in 1 Samuel 15:22…
22. And Samuel said,
"Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
And while we are thinking about this, let’s take a look at Isaiah 1:11…
11. "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me ?"
Says the LORD.
"I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams,
And the fat of fed cattle.
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.
This is in total contradiction to what we are told next.
So, why would Isaiah say this if it wasn’t true ? The simple answer is, he wouldn’t, because he knew that there was no death in Eden and there is no death in heaven, and that is in the heavenly will of God.
3. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ’On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.
4. ’Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them ; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.
5. ’Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old ; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
Don’t you think that these lambs and goats want to live just as much as we do, and they would be in great fear of being killed, and since there is no pain or death in heaven, why would God want these animals to suffer ?
We don’t believe He does.
6. ’And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.
7. ’Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
God does not need blood to protect anyone from evil, He can do it all by Himself.
God wants obedience not sacrifice, and part of being obedient to the heavenly will of God is to be loving, compassionate, and empathetic.
8. ’And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
9. ’Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.
10. ’And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.
11. ’Now you shall eat it in this manner : with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand ; and you shall eat it in haste — it is the Lord’s Passover.
All of this ritual is not needed ; all that was needed to be ready to leave Egypt would be to get ready to leave and eat the unleavened bread, as they do today.
12. ’For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast ; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments — I am the LORD.
Again, if this is what God desired, He could have accomplished it without sacrifice, for He knew the Jews from the Gentiles.
Think in terms of the heavenly will of God.
13. ’And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live ; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Again, God knew who they were and He could have passed over with or without the blood.
14. ’Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD ; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.
Then why don’t we still have animal sacrifices today ?
The people, today, aren’t really following this celebration feast as God supposedly desired, are they ?
Because it’s not in the heavenly will of God.
God wants obedience not sacrifice.
It’s not obedience to this sacrificial ritual that God desires ; it’s obedience to His heavenly will, which is based upon unconditional love ; love for the whole of creation.
Before we close this discussion, let’s think about what Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:7…
7. "But if you had known what this means, ’I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
And the innocent are both humans and other animals ; in fact, we believe that relatively few humans are truly innocent, but all the animals are truly innocent.
Furthermore, it is not just animal sacrifice we are talking about, for every time someone eats or wears an animal product, they are expressing a lack of compassion and empathy for the animals, for they are really condemning them to a life of suffering and death.
Is this really what we want to do deep down in our hearts and souls ?
And if the answer is no, then we are expressing a desire to be vegan and live in the heavenly will of God, which includes remembering that God wants obedience not sacrifice.
Also, think about something else ; isn’t eating and wearing animal products really a sacrifice to human lust and greed ?
If we understand this, then it’s another reason to become vegan in the heavenly will of God.