“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, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22, NIV 1984).
My Musings – I once had a boss who used to say (only half jokingly), “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.” This is somewhat along the lines of the of the above text. Yes, God will forgive our transgressions (our abuse of grace), but He would much rather we obeyed Him in the first place.
I think of the parable of the prodigal son. While the wayward son was still a long way off, the father saw him, ran to him, and threw his arms around him to welcome him back home. Home, where he belonged all along. Most likely it was the father’s habit to keep watch for his son’s return. Maybe he’ll return today? When he finally returned, there was a warm welcome. But think of the wasted time apart from the father. Delightful fellowship missed out. To have not wandered off, would have been better by far.
My Advice – Hopefully we learn valuable lessons from our wanderings off the “straight and narrow.” But better if we had never needed to learn them. And much better by far the lessons we could learn by remaining at the Master’s side.