And Samuel said: Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22
I had been reading 1 Kings these past few days and I am just amazed at the extravagance of Solomon when he built the Temple. Solomon did not spare any expense in building the Temple. 1 Kings 6:22 tells us, "And there was nothing in the temple that was not covered with gold: the whole altar of the oracle he covered also with gold." Even the floors were covered in gold.
But this did not please God. As Solomon grew old, he allowed his numerous wives to mislead him into building temples for all their gods. According to 1 Kings 11:3, Solomon had 700 wives and he built temples for all of them. Imagine, 700 temples for foreign gods. Because of this, God foretold that the united kingdom will break but the Kingdom of Judah will have a descendant of David sit on the throne.
This is a warning to us. A lot of us may be generous in giving to the Lord. Some give their tithes, some, even more. Yet, through all these, we must remember that giving tithes is not the end of our faith. It does not indicate anything about our relationship with God nor our sanctity. Neither will it guarantee a place in heaven.
As God said through Samuel, the Lord does not desire holocausts or victims. Rather, he desires obedience. The fact most often lost is that God does not need our money. He owns the entire creation! And he can build something without money. So our tithes are not for his benefit.
Our tithes are for our benefit. It reminds us that everything comes from God alone. And giving tithes honors him. However, aside from tithes, the more important, if not most important offering we can give to the Lord is obedience to his word.
Of course we have to be generous to the Lord. He gave us everything and he will continue to give us everything we need. But what pleases him most is obedience to his voice. The best gift we can give to the Lord is our lives.
Lord, open my ears so I can hear your voice and open my heart so I can obey you.