Obedience: The Best Sacrifice

( [email protected] ) Jun 01, 2004 11:51 PM EDT

Despite what mundane life may sometimes mislead us to believe, everything does not recur like in repetitive and circular fashion. People may have their 9 to 5 and seasons may have their yearly cycle, but living a life that does not progress is not what is pleasing to God. Just look at the life of Cain and Abel. What was the difference? Why did God accept the sacrifice of Abel and not that of Cain’s? Was it because God preferred Abel’s sacrifice over that of Cain’s?

In Genesis 4, the Bible records that “Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.” A person who keeps flocks is, in other words, a shepherd while a person that worked the soil would be involved in an agriculturally-based occupation.

Each brings what he has to offer to God. “Cain brought fruits of the soil” while “Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.”

One could think God preferred lambs to fruits as sacrifices. Apostle Paul identified the ultimate sacrifices as being the bodies of man, urging believers to offer up their “bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.”

It was the life God accepted then the sacrifice produced from that life. The Bible records: “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” It was first the person God looked to and secondly, the offering.

What kind of offering or life does God accept as a pleasing sacrifice?

Samuel once told Saul after Saul disobeyed the words of God by not destroying everything in the battle against the Amalekites: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.”

Obedience is the most pleasing sacrifice to God. A life of a Christian should imitate that of Christ. Jesus was the atoning sacrifice who lived following God's Will until the end with absolute obedience. We are called to walk that same path.