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It is better to obey than to sacrifice(?)


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I don’t understand this line As it relates to our own lives

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

 

 

 Come follow me also asks a question that I have no idea how to answer:

“What are some good things we do in our lives that we sometimes choose instead of obeying God? Why is obedience to God better than those other good things?”

The only thing that comes to mind is when I hear young men justify not serving a mission by saying “I will be serving a mission at college as a play on the college basketball team”.

thoughts?

Edited by Fether
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12 minutes ago, Fether said:

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

“What are some good things we do in our lives that we sometimes choose instead of obeying God? Why is obedience to God better than those other good things?”

Perhaps the confusion lies in knowing what is an external command from deity and what is an inner thought about what the right thing to do in a given situation might be. 

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2 hours ago, Fether said:

I don’t understand this line As it relates to our own lives

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

 

 

 Come follow me also asks a question that I have no idea how to answer:

“What are some good things we do in our lives that we sometimes choose instead of obeying God? Why is obedience to God better than those other good things?”

The only thing that comes to mind is when I hear young men justify not serving a mission by saying “I will be serving a mission at college as a play on the college basketball team”.

thoughts?

The answer to your question is very simple: In the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel was condemning the fact that the Lord’s people had descended into a dead religion based on the observances of spiritually empty liturgical formalities, such as the outward Mosaic ordinances of animal sacrifices and burnt offerings, while simultaneously rebelliously refusing to obey God’s greater commandments, such as loving God with all one’s heart and similarly loving one’s fellow man. In other words, ‘your animal sacrifices will mean nothing to me until you repent and keep my greater commandments.’

22 And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams?  (1 Samuel 15)

 

Edited by teddyaware
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I think the lesson is its better to obey a commandment, than to premeditate both your sin and repentance for breaking it, and expect it to be a net zero.

Will God forgive me if I skip going to church to spend time with my non-member nephew whose come into town for a visit? Or go out to eat with my Mom on Mother's Day... both which I have done. I have no illusions that in the midst of my small-time rebellions, that God may still hold it against me, even if I go through the motions of repentance, one has to be truly sorry about it, don't they? You shouldn't take it for Greenwich.

Its a good moral lesson if one could extrapolate one from an episode of genocide. Though some think that Deuteronomist history displays more zealotry and xenophobia than the reality. You can't have hated all non-Israelites in Israel when there were still so many non-Israelite and Canaanite cities left well alone in the land, living in peace as the subjects of Israel.

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Edited by Pyreaux
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2 hours ago, Fether said:

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

I think this scripture might relate to where we make bargains with God, we will give up something in exchange for him blessing us a certain way or at least to avoid his anger.

A fuller interpretation of pulling it in the modern era could be God doesn’t want us just choosing to give something up or make ourselves suffer as a sacrifice to him; he wants us to listen to him first and foremost and then choose to follow him, but even more to want to follow him.  Many times when it becomes something we want to do in and of itself and not just because God told us we need to do it, what we do is not a sacrifice, not something hard or painful to endure, but the action itself is a blessing to us because we enjoy doing it.  In giving a meal to a neighbor in need, we don’t look at the cost and time it took to prepare it, we just have fun putting it together because we are happy about the prospect of their enjoyment of our gift.  In fact, our sacrifices in the end—if done with full obedience where our hearts and minds have become aligned with the purpose of God—become a joy and what we want to do.

It requires a change of mind, change of perspective.  I have recently been going through my home and getting rid of a number of things I have collected over the years.  In the past it was a yearly ritual of putting my home in order to keep things under control, but there were many things I allowed myself to hold onto because I didn’t want to give them up even though by keeping them I have to give them my time and space and often got back only a sense of satisfaction in the possession because they were packed away since I don’t have room to have them all out. This past year I have been committed to decreasing my inventory…the less I have, the less time and effort I will need to care for them and very important, the less my kids will have to deal with if I go suddenly (why carry stuff for another 20 years if it is only going to get tossed by my kids after that?).  It has been a real hardship dealing with the accumulations of my parents after my dad suddenly died and left Mom holding the bag, who had mild dementia which meant me holding the bag, especially since before Mom herself passed, I didn’t allow myself to purge stuff she wouldn’t purge herself even though I knew she would never ask for them, even remember them, but if I asked her, she would say keep it.  I am not going to do that to my kids (I honestly think it can be abusive at times given children will be having to process their parents’ deaths and mourning while caring for the baggage or worse having to both care for a parent and their baggage because the parent can no longer care for themself when just doing one could be a full time job).

Anyway, with my new, more trim perspective on why I want to keep things around, which is first, are we using or enjoying it now or will be soon and second, is this something my children or grandkids will want, I have gotten rid of at least half the stuff I had been holding onto, sometimes for 40 years (I started gathering books for my kids as soon as I started supporting myself because I was so, so bored as a kid at times at my grandparents’ home with only a handful of books to read and less toys to play with and no places we were allowed to explore).  

And now my point…it was so much shorter to get here in my head when I first thought of it… In the past giving up what I gave up this past year would have been a sacrifice, I would have seen the absence as a loss, my life lessen in some way, but still a good thing because I knew it would make my life easier.  This year because I am seeing having less as a good thing in itself and even more so, I truly want and desire to have so much less in my life, even of nice, beautiful, happy things, I just want to keep the truly special, what was once a sacrifice is now a joy.  Finding something I can part with makes me happier than keeping something right now, lol, and definitely happier than I would have been in the past if I was giving stuff up because I thought I needed to have a simpler life instead of wanting, begging to have a simpler, clutter free life.

So living a life of true obedience to God, who desires us to fill our lives with good things that bring us to him, results in a more joyful life for us…which is what God wants for and from us rather than us suffering and giving up what we love or want to keep because we believe God asks us to give it up (which he often does as sacrificing can often teach us what we really need, so by sacrificing we learn a better way and end up desiring it always, which turns sacrifice into obedience).  The case of tithing is a great example…it can be a sacrifice, loving sacrifice even, if we give tithing while thinking of all the things we could have done with the money if we didn’t give it to God, but still feel it is right to give it up to show our gratitude for everything that we are given by God.  This is a good way to live discipleship.    Or we can live a higher discipleship be becoming fully obedient in hearts and minds if we learn to give tithing and no longer see what we can no longer do, but see with joy what can be done with our tithing by the Church (which includes for me putting the Church in a financially strong position because that gives it more control over what comes next, which is important in my life to me, so I like the Church having that strength).

Edited by Calm
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The above reduced to a one liner:  Life is a lot more fun and meaningful when we make good choices because we want to rather than because we have to (which is better than making bad choices).

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4 hours ago, Fether said:

I don’t understand this line As it relates to our own lives

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

 

Here is the full verse for context

“And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.”

As part of the Law of Moses a sacrifice was offered as part of the repentance process.  Samual is saying that the Lord is more pleased in the people’s obedience than in their sacrifices to receive forgiveness.

 

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3 hours ago, ksfisher said:

As part of the Law of Moses a sacrifice was offered as part of the repentance process.  Samual is saying that the Lord is more pleased in the people’s obedience than in their sacrifices to receive forgiveness.

Iow, it is better to ask for permission than to ask for forgiveness.

(The other is more accurate as “it is easier to ask for forgiveness, etc.” anyway.)

Edited by Calm
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8 hours ago, Fether said:

I don’t understand this line As it relates to our own lives

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

 

 

 Come follow me also asks a question that I have no idea how to answer:

“What are some good things we do in our lives that we sometimes choose instead of obeying God? Why is obedience to God better than those other good things?”

The only thing that comes to mind is when I hear young men justify not serving a mission by saying “I will be serving a mission at college as a play on the college basketball team”.

thoughts?

It is worth looking at the whole passage to gain insight in to the context rather than assign meaning to a sentence.

Samuel expands later in the text: “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry” (1 Sam. 15:23). Disobeying God is rebellion against Him. Samuel equated it to paganism and witchcraft. In Saul’s case, it was also connected to his pride. Saul decided he knew better than God. All rebellion is idolatry, a form of self-worship. Samuel said, “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” God took away Saul’s throne and cut his dynasty short (1 Samuel 13:14; 15:28).

Rebellion wasn’t Saul’s only wrongdoing. For Saul, fear of man—and desiring their praise—offset God’s priority of obedience. We see that in his confession in verse 24: “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.” Saul was afraid of losing people’s adulation. Even when he said, “I have sinned,” he also said, “please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel” (1 Sam. 15:30). 

Saul then, usurping the priestly privilege of the prophet Samuel decided to stage a sacrifice in an effort to offset his transgression. The prophet rejected it and thus stated that obeying the word of the Lord is better than and outward show of piety. God and the prophets have always rejected the outward performance of the law when used in exchange for a truly contrite heart and humility. "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting." Isa. 1:13

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4 hours ago, ksfisher said:

Here is the full verse for context

“And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.”

As part of the Law of Moses a sacrifice was offered as part of the repentance process.  Samual is saying that the Lord is more pleased in the people’s obedience than in their sacrifices to receive forgiveness.

 

This makes perfect sense. When the law was fulfilled by Christ, we stopped sacrificing and started repenting (which includes sacrificing our mind and heart to God).
 

A modern interpretation may read “it is better to obey than to repent”

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12 hours ago, Fether said:

A modern interpretation may read “it is better to obey than to repent”

That  how I taught it yesterday when I subbed for a youth sunday school class. I did emphasize that repentance is wonderful and we all have to do it and we should be extremely grateful for repentance. Nevertheless, obeying in the first place so as to not need repentance is still better.

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I always read it as it being better to obey God's commandments than to do something God asked us not to do--or wouldn't want--in His name or for Him.

For example, my 17 year old son forgot to get his dad a father's day card until Friday morning when we were pulling out of our house with a 40 foot camper on the way to go camping for the weekend.  He wanted his dad to stop by walmart on the way out of town so he could run in and get one for him.  

I convinced him that asking his dad to drive through extra Utah traffic towing a giant camper, and then navigate the walmart parking lot, and find a place to park, was not worth the Father's Day card for him.  It was more loving to not get the card than to get one under those circumstances.

Likewise, for it would have been more worshipful for Saul to obey God's commandments, than to disobey them by doing something for Him that He did not want done.

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Saul’s intentions were wrong. During the sacrifice, part of the animal was given to the Levite performing the sacrifice for him to eat. Usually part of the shoulder and head. The person offering the sacrifice was given the rest for his family to eat.

Saul and his army spared the sheep and oxen so that they could offer them as sacrifice. This meant that they could consume the animals after they had been brought to the altar. Is was going to be quite a feast for the Israelites. Sort of a “spoils of battle” victory feast.

Obviously this was not what a sacrifice was intended for. So in this case it was better that Saul and his army should have destroyed the animals in the first place instead of sacrificing them with unrighteous intentions.

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20 hours ago, Fether said:

A modern interpretation may read “it is better to obey than to repent”

I think I understand the idea, but I think we must be very careful with this idea. Most of the "damaged good" ideas for sin (like the licked cupcake or chewed gum or similar used in chastity lessons) begin with the idea that it is better to have never sinned than to have sinned and repented. Sometimes, they come off as if God's grace and mercy through Christ's infinite atonement are not really all that infinite. If this is the direction we have taken/are taking this lesson, I hope we are very clear about what we mean and do not mean when say that it is better to have obeyed rather than sinned and repented.

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5 hours ago, filovirus said:

Saul’s intentions were wrong. During the sacrifice, part of the animal was given to the Levite performing the sacrifice for him to eat. Usually part of the shoulder and head. The person offering the sacrifice was given the rest for his family to eat.

Saul and his army spared the sheep and oxen so that they could offer them as sacrifice. This meant that they could consume the animals after they had been brought to the altar. Is was going to be quite a feast for the Israelites. Sort of a “spoils of battle” victory feast.

Obviously this was not what a sacrifice was intended for. So in this case it was better that Saul and his army should have destroyed the animals in the first place instead of sacrificing them with unrighteous intentions.

It kind of was. God gave the Israelites the blessing of family barbecues. You take your sacrifice to the temple and the priests take some as a religious offering and compensation for doing the butchering and the family gets some really nice cuts and has a feast.

I mean, in this case it was wrong but imagine if offering a fast offering got you some steaks.

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

I think I understand the idea, but I think we must be very careful with this idea. Most of the "damaged good" ideas for sin (like the licked cupcake or chewed gum or similar used in chastity lessons) begin with the idea that it is better to have never sinned than to have sinned and repented. Sometimes, they come off as if God's grace and mercy through Christ's infinite atonement are not really all that infinite. If this is the direction we have taken/are taking this lesson, I hope we are very clear about what we mean and do not mean when say that it is better to have obeyed rather than sinned and repented.

I’ll be honest, I have learned that there is no way to make everyone happy while also saying what the lesson is. There are people out there that will find shame in everything someone says and I am somewhat done preaching the gospel in a way that caters to such people.

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

I’ll be honest, I have learned that there is no way to make everyone happy while also saying what the lesson is. There are people out there that will find shame in everything someone says and I am somewhat done preaching the gospel in a way that caters to such people.

 

2 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I think I understand the idea, but I think we must be very careful with this idea. Most of the "damaged good" ideas for sin (like the licked cupcake or chewed gum or similar used in chastity lessons) begin with the idea that it is better to have never sinned than to have sinned and repented. Sometimes, they come off as if God's grace and mercy through Christ's infinite atonement are not really all that infinite. If this is the direction we have taken/are taking this lesson, I hope we are very clear about what we mean and do not mean when say that it is better to have obeyed rather than sinned and repented.

I think that you are both right, and to me that means that both "sides" have to give some charity to the other, while doing their best to try not to become a stumbling block to anyone struggling or dealing with a wound.

Because  how we present our personal experiences with God can go a long way towards either being useful or being a jerk.

I like this story from the Liahona about a woman who suffered difficult losses, and how she learned to find peace with the imperfect but loving people around her during those times.  I especially loved the end of the article--

Quote

 

I decided, with the help of the Savior, to listen to people’s intentions instead of their words, to extend more mercy and forgiveness. While their comments stung initially, I ultimately knew that people meant well. I knew they were simply trying to “mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9).

I turned to the Lord and spent time giving words to their unspoken intentions. Their intentions said:

“I’m sad that you’re sad, and I want to make you happy.”

“I care about you and wish I could make this go away.”

“I want to help, but I don’t know how.”

Sometimes I would even repeat these phrases in my mind when someone shared a comment that, while given with a good intention, caused me some pain.

With that change of perspective, I found myself feeling only love for people when they attempted to comfort me. With the Savior’s help, I was able to hear their love louder than their language. He helped me filter the imperfections from their comments, leaving only their love to sink in. And I found myself even feeling happy that they had not experienced miscarriage themselves.

Listening to their intentions made me feel deeper love for others. The results felt liberating, like a secret “life hack” unknown to anyone else. At its core, listening to intentions rather than taking offense is a form of forgiveness, and it is made possible by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I discovered that I didn’t need everyone to understand my pain perfectly in order for me to accept their love. I stopped placing unrealistic expectations on other people’s comments as the source “to make me whole.”

Ultimately, the only person who truly has power to offer lasting peace and understand perfectly is the Savior. “Who, who can understand? He, only One.” The Savior offers peace “not as the world giveth” (John 14:27). His peace transcends the limits of worldly peace. When I relied on Him to understand and sought His help in extending mercy to others, only then did I feel “the quiet hand to calm my anguish.”

 

 

Edited by bluebell
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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I think that you are both right, and to me that means that both "sides" have to give some charity to the other, while doing their best to try not to become a stumbling block to anyone struggling or dealing with a wound.

Because  how we present our personal experiences with God can go a long way towards either being useful or being a jerk.

I do agree completely.

I am the kind of guy that gets energized when someone calls me out for being weak. I just get pumped and it gives me a new sense of energy toward whatever it is I am working on. I find it relieving when someone can point out to me, with great clarity, what my issue is. It gives me a map, a light at the end of the tunnel. It tells me what I need to fix and I am excited to do so.

I understand that phrases like that are harmful to some. I have just decided that in my life, I am going to stop catering my words to such people and speak more towards people like me.

This of course will change when talking one-on-one with people. I will seek to speak in whatever helps them best. But when speaking to the masses, I am going to speak my language.

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7 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Most of the "damaged good" ideas for sin (like the licked cupcake or chewed gum or similar used in chastity lessons) begin with the idea that it is better to have never sinned than to have sinned and repented. Sometimes, they come off as if God's grace and mercy through Christ's infinite atonement are not really all that infinite.

Agreed.

Seems to me that if "I the Lord will remember [their sins] no more", we mere mortals legitimately have the option of not looking upon one another as licked cupcakes. 

I think we are here to lighten one another's burdens, not add to them. 

 

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On 6/19/2022 at 8:23 AM, Fether said:

I don’t understand this line As it relates to our own lives

It is better to obey than to sacrifice

 

 

 Come follow me also asks a question that I have no idea how to answer:

“What are some good things we do in our lives that we sometimes choose instead of obeying God? Why is obedience to God better than those other good things?”

The only thing that comes to mind is when I hear young men justify not serving a mission by saying “I will be serving a mission at college as a play on the college basketball team”.

thoughts?

Obedience to God is always in response to God commanding us to do what he tells us to do.  Sacrifice is sometimes about us choosing to give up something which God has not told us to give up. 

So what good does it do when we choose to give up something which God has not told us to give up?  We could instead choose to keep that thing instead of giving it up while still doing whatever God tells us to do.

Edited by Obehave
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19 minutes ago, Obehave said:

Obedience to God is always in response to God commanding us to do what he tells us to do.  Sacrifice is sometimes about us choosing to give up something which God has not told us to give up. 

So what good does it do when we choose to give up something which God has not told us to give up?  We could instead choose to keep that thing instead of giving it up while still doing whatever God tells us to do.

I feel like your description of “sacrifice” is extremely limited and does t really  encapsulize what is being said

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11 minutes ago, Fether said:

I feel like your description of “sacrifice” is extremely limited and does t really  encapsulize what is being said

I think a sacrifice is generally understood to be a voluntary surrender or loss of something believed to be good for what is believed to be a good reason.  Not something people voluntarily surrender or give up because they don't like it.

Does that contrast with what you think a sacrifice is, and if so, how would you describe what a sacrifice is?

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