1 Samuel 15 … Consider His Delight Defined

Originally posted: 12/02/2019

“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,”
(1 Samuel 15:22).

A hasty perusal of 1 Samuel 15 may lead us to conclude this is a story primarily concentrating on sin, judgment and the removal of the rejected and soon to be replaced king of Israel. But as we dig deeper beneath it all, we discover something altogether different… in reality it is a story of love. But as we all know, not all love stories end in happily ever after.

Love… there’s nothing like it to completely transform an entire way of life. It consumes our every waking moment, filling our thoughts with ideas and ways to bring delight and joy to the one we so adore. But it can also be very challenging when left in the dark about what would truly please our loved one.

God has called us to the most superb of love relationships, a love story guaranteed to end well, a truly happily ever after love story.

Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end, (John 13:1).

He has called us to His happily ever after story, and in His unending love He has not left us to ourselves to wonder how to love Him in return. He has given us all we need to know in His Delight Defined.

Consider His Delight Defined

“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,”
(1 Samuel 15:22 emphasis added).

With a desire to learn what is truly pleasing to Him, a visit to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to define the original Hebrew words underlined above will help to broaden our understanding of His Delight Defined.

Delight: 2656. חֵפֶץ ḥēp̱eṣ: A masculine noun meaning delight, pleasure, desire, matter. The root idea is to incline toward something.

Obey: 8085. שָׁמַע šāmaʿ: A verb meaning to hear, to obey, to listen, to be heard of, to be regarded, to cause to hear, to proclaim, to sound aloud. The verb basically means to hear and in context expresses various connotations of this. The most famous use of this word is to introduce the Shema, “Hear, O, Israel,” followed by the content of what the Israelites are to understand about the Lord their God and how they are to respond to Him…The word takes on the connotation of obedience in certain contexts…The word is used to connote the idea of understanding…

Better: 2896. טוֹב ṭôḇ, טוֹבָה ṭôḇāh, טֹבָה ṭōḇāh: An adjective meaning good, well-pleasing, fruitful, morally correct, proper, convenient. This word is frequently encountered in the Old Testament and is roughly equivalent to the English word good in terms of its function and scope of meaning… The creation narrative of Genesis 1 best embodies all these various elements of meaning when the Lord declares each aspect of His handiwork to be “good.”

Sacrifice: 2077. זֶבַח zeḇaḥ: A masculine noun meaning sacrifice. This word refers to the kind of flesh sacrifice the offerer ate after it was given to God (parts of the flesh went to God and to the priests as well). This practice was ancient and did not solely apply to sacrifices to the true God of Israel…

Heed: 7181. קָשַׁב qāšaḇ: A verb meaning to listen carefully, to pay attention, to give heed, to obey. The basic significance of the term is to denote the activity of paying close attention to something… it denoted the obedience that was expected after the hearing of the Lord’s requirements…

His Delight Defined reveals His desire for His happily ever after love story; and as we dig deeper to learn what pleases Him, we would do well to turn our attention to the following:

  • Does the LORD desire mere observance of a sacrificial system?
    • Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices…? (15:22).
  • Isn’t it this that matters to Him: that we turn our whole attention to His Word?
    • But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,’” (Matthew 4:4).
  • Isn’t it this He desires for us: that we become a people who respond to Him in faith?
    • And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, (Hebrews 11:6).
  • Wouldn’t it please Him if we gained the understanding of what He deems is good?
    • He has told you, O man, what is good;
      And what does the Lord require of you
      But to do justice, to love kindness,
      And to walk humbly with your God?
      (Micah 6:8).
  • Doesn’t He desire that we listen carefully, not to observe a list of do’s and don’ts, but to love Him with all our heart?
    •  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment,” (Matthew 22:36-38).

How do we respond to His Delight Defined?

Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, 18 and the Lord sent you on a mission,… 20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord… 21 But…” (1 Samuel 15:17-18, 21).

Love offers no excuses, no buts… When we recognize His Delight Defined, love leaves no stone unturned in order to delight and please Him.

…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:8-10).

Because of His great mercy, we will live with Him in the ages to come, for all time, for all eternity, in His happily ever after love story.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:4-7).

Let us so love Him, here and now, not waiting for eternity; for we know His Delight Defined. May we be completely informed and transformed by His Word.

Let us pray our desire to Delight Him would grow and consume our every waking moment, filling our thoughts with ideas and ways to please Him, the One we so adore, in everything we are and do.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will, (Romans 12:1-2 NIV).

Let’s Grow Together!

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