Samuel rebukes Saul: 'To obey is better than to sacrifice'

An example of a great man, chosen of God, who was disobedient and lost everything of importance is found in the biblical account of Saul, the first king to rule Israel after the time of the judges.

Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the Seventy based his April 1981 general conference address on the topic of obedience and spoke of Saul:"The Lord gave Saul a particular assignment: Destroy the people of Amalek. `Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.' (1 Sam. 15:3.)

"It was a mighty army that Saul took to destroy the Amalekites' 210,000 men.

" `But Saul and the people spared

kingT Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them.' (1 Sam. 15:9.)

"Saul failed," said Elder Brewerton. "Angered by this disobedience, the Lord sent Samuel again to upbraid the king."

When questioned by Samuel, Saul rationalized. He thought he had kept the law by offering the best of the Amalekites' animals as sacrifice. Samuel replied:

"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. . . ." (1 Sam. 15:22.)

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