“To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice”

For about 7 years, while I was on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU), I had the privilege of teaching a 2 credit graduate class on the Life of David at the Institute of Biblical Studies twice, and sometimes three times a year. It was an honor and a thrill. I think the smallest class was probably about 90 students, the largest about 300. My students helped me hone the class over the years and taught me much through their papers, interaction, and questions. I estimate 2000-2500 students over the years were exposed to the Life of David, a Sometimes Great King.

At the center of the class was the text (1 Samuel 15:20-23, esp, 22) that is at the center of Keith Green’s song “To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice”.  I suspect that the echos of Keith’s song were filling my head as I prepared materials for the class. I had been singing his song since 1978 when the LP was first released. He came to San Bernardino around 1980 or ’81 while I was living there. He died the year before I taught the class for the first time in 1983. 

It is a song of conviction sung with conviction. And it is a song whose message the modern church needs to hear.

To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice

[Verse 1]
To obey is better than sacrifice
I don’t need your money, I want your life
And I hear you say that I’m coming back soon
But you act like I’ll never return

[Verse 2]
Well, you speak of grace and My love so sweet
How you thrive on milk, but reject My meat
And I can’t help weeping at how it will be
If you keep on ignoring My words

Well, you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can’t feed

[Verse 3]
To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sundays and Wednesday nights
‘Cause if you can’t come to Me every day
Then don’t bother coming at all

[Chorus 2]
La-la-la-la-la, la-la
La-la-la-la-la, la-la

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want hearts of fire, not your prayers of ice
And I’m coming quickly to give back to you
According to what you have done
According to what you have done
According to what you have done

Malachi prophisied (Malachi 1:10):

“Oh that there was one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.”  Jesus, the Faithful and True, echoes Malachi and Samuel with these words in Revelation 3:15, 16:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” 

God is not interested in our compromised, tepid faith. He wants us to have NO COMPROMISE. It’s either Him or the world. We can’t have both. To obey is better than sacrifice. Let’s live our lives with hot passion for the glory of God.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.