The Heart of Sin
“Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:22–23, CSB)
What’s at the heart of sin? Is it the sinful activity itself? Or maybe it’s the motivation behind the activity? Or both?
The Greek work harmartia means “to miss the mark” – so sin certainly involves the activity in which we miss the target of holiness at which we’re aiming. But any good marksman…or Christian will want to ask themselves: WHY did I miss? How can I improve?
That is at the heart of Samuel’s statement to King Saul. Saul had not committed some grievous sin outside of God’s Law. But he didn’t obey fully. He kept some plunder and offered God a sacrifice. Now, that’s usually a good thing, but God told Saul to wait. Saul’s timing and agenda were different than God’s. Saul grew impatient. He figured God would forgive the slight faux pas.
Saul missed the fact that sin isn’t only the action, but the heart behind it. What Saul considered a minor sin revealed major rebellion in his heart.
In our series “A Faith Worth Fighting For,” Jude will remind us this week: Sin is rebellion against God. Rebellion can be found in the most overt sinners …in God’s own people…even in heaven. And Jude will remind us: rebellion will always be judged.
See you Sunday!