The “God Game” (1 Samuel 15-17)

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

It’s tempting to play games with God as if we have Him all figured out.  The game goes like this: God, I know you’ll forgive me if I ask you to, so I’m going to do what I want now and then ask for your forgiveness later.

It’s kind of genius, isn’t it?  I get to do what I want, and I’m still in God’s good graces in the end.  The only flaw in the plan is that God isn’t as dumb as we make Him out to be.

When we play the  “God Game” we essentially communicate to God that we know how to work the system.  As long as we present our sacrifices and act sorry when all is said and done, we’re good.  Saul made the same mistake when he believed that God was more interested in the end sacrifice than He was in the immediate obedience.

God’s preference was that the Israelites wouldn’t even need to sacrifice because they were living in step with Him, and He wasn’t fooled when Saul tried to switch the two around.  In the end, Saul suffered dearly because of His abuse of God’s grace.

If you’re not sure if you’re guilty of playing the “God Game”, take a step back and ask yourself some questions.  Are you concerned with pleasing God or satisfying yourself?  Are you living for God’s glory or for your own?  When you answer those, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not you’re just playing the game.

God, please keep me from making my relationship with You simply a game that I play.  Keep me from thinking that I can get away with living however I want as long as I ask for forgiveness in the end.  Help me not to abuse the grace You so generously lavish upon me.  Out of gratitude to You, let me walk in Your ways.

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.