"Then Saul said to Samuel, 'I did obey the voice of the LORD, and went on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.'
'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.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He has rejected you from being king,' " (II Samuel 15:20--23).
* When confronted by Samuel, Saul tried to justify his disobedience by claiming that the animals were spared as a sacrifice to the Lord, at the insistence of the people. Samuel, however, makes it abundantly clear that the Lord desires inner obedience far more than outward ritual. Our deeds may be good, and our actions admirable, but the Lord who looks on the heart commands an attitude of obedience, as well.
* Upon discovery by Samuel of his disobedience, Saul sought to rationalize his sin by covering his greed with ritual, and blaming the people. Yet, Samuel declares that doing God's will man's way (through sacrifices), has disobedience at its heart. The Lord God of all that is honors only those actions which stem from an attitude of obedience.