1st Samuel 15:22

Wednesday: Saul and the Spoils
Bible Lesson: We should obey God's instruction.
Memory Verse: 1st Samuel 15:22, To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Introduction: Hebrew Poetry
Today's verse is from the book of 1st Samuel, in the Old Testament. Like Monday's verse, it was first written in Hebrew, because that's the language the Israelites knew, but our Bibles have it translated into English for us. Also like Monday's verse, todya's verse was written like a poem in Hebrew.
Hebrew poetry is often written in pairs of lines, where the two lines say basically the same thing, but they say it in a different way. Each part helps you understand the other part better. If you understand the first part, it will give you clues to help you understand the second part.
Explanation: 1st Samuel 15:22
In our verse today, the prophet Samuel was telling King Saul whyu God wasn't happy with him. Who remembers from the Bible lesson what excuse Saul gave when he disobeyed and kept some of the sheep? Saul said he was going to sacrifice them to God - that means he was going to put them on an altar and burn them up as a sacrifice.
Is that a good sacrifice, to give up something you weren't supposed to keep in the first place? Samuel told Saul that there was something more important he should have done instead: he should have obeyed: To obey is better than sacrifice. God would rather have us do what he tells us than give things up to him.
Now that we understand the first part of the verse, we can use that to understand the second part: To heed is better than the fat of rams. Who can figure out what the word heed means? It's similar to a word in the other part of the verse. To heed means to listen, and listening and doing are a lot like obeying.
So, what's the fat of rams? That's the sacrifice part. A ram is a sheep, and when the Israelites made sacrifices, sometimes they burned up the fat on the alter.
Samuel was saying that if Saul would have heeded God - listened to what he said and obeyed - that would have been better than saving sheep to sacrifice to God.
Learning Activity: Divide and Conquer
Pick volunteers to hold the signs for each part of the verse:
  • To obey is
  • better than sacrifice
  • and to heed is better
  • than the fat of rams.
  • 1st Samuel 15:22
Line up the sign-holders across the front, so that everyone can see all five parts of the verse. Have everyone read the verse together as a group, off the signs, once. Now, concentrate on the first part: have everyone read the first card several times, until they can say it with the card turned around. Now, add in the second card, saying the first part from memory and reading the second part, until you can turn the second part around also. Continue with each part until the children can say the whole verse from memory. Say it several times that way for good measure.

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