Point University Homily: Matthew 8:23-27
This scripture from the Gospel of Matthew reminds me of an Old Testament story from the book of 1 Samuel, 15th Chapter... where God’s Word tells us: “To OBEY is BETTER than sacrifice.”
Israel longed for a KING... so God relented and allowed Samuel to anoint Saul as the King. But Saul was never a good King.
In fact, God commanded Saul to obey... to go to battle and completely destroy the Amalekites - the Amalekites had ambushed the Israelites when they were making they’re way up from Egypt... and God’s judgement was that they be destroyed... totally - from the king of the Amalekites to the livestock. Nothing was to be saved.
But Saul thought it better, to keep the best of the spoils of war, while destroying everything that was of no value.
When confronted by Samuel, Saul said that he had DISOBEYED God’s Word and SPARED the best of the spoils of war, in order to make a sacrifice to God.
But God declared though Samuel, that “to obey is better than sacrifice”... for rebellion is sin... and arrogance idolatry... and because (Saul) had rejected the Word (the command) of God (choosing his own way instead of carrying out God’s Will)... God rejected Saul as king.
So why does this lesson for today remind me of this harsh story from the OT? One word: OBEY.
“To obey is better than Sacrifice...”
When God declares His Word, he calls us to obey. Always has, always will. It’s a theme that’s repeated throughout the pages of scripture. We even sing about it: one of the old standard hymns of the church is called “Trust & Obey.”
In the face of a storm on the lake, that was swamping the boat... and filling the disciples with fear... God’s Word calmed the winds and the waves... And the disciples were amazed, and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
The wind and waves recognize the authority of God’s Word... and would never dare disobey. KINGS may disobey... we (you and I) might disobey. But at our own peril.
So what does all this have to do with communion and what we do here on Monday mornings? ONE WORD: obey.
Jesus commands us... “Do this in remembrance of me.” But we often think better. This is too simple, too easy. Surely God would be better satisfied if I did something grand, something huge... some sacrifice that would be worthy of God’s glory and demonstrative of my sacrifice.
But the sacrifice has already been made. We’re called to follow in faithful obedience... simply trusting that God will lead us to where we need to be to serve him.
For us, to obey is better than sacrifice. Trust & obey.