Samuel replied, “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him.”
1 Samuel 15:22 [TLB]
Victor was getting frantic as he glanced at his watch. His report was due by 9.00am. That wasn’t so much the problem – his phone was. It was ringing again, the eighth time in twelve minutes. He felt under pressure and refused to answer it. He was sure it couldn’t be anything important. After ten repeated rings it stopped ringing. He had no sooner regained his line of thoughts than his immediate boss barged through his door. “How come you missed your presentation? I called your office at least eight times and got no answer. I think you just missed your opportunity for a promotion!” Bewildered, Victor glanced at his watch; it had stopped working about forty minutes before. He held his face in his hands. If only he had answered the phone.
While one may feel sorry for Victor, there is no denying the fact that pressure, whether physical, emotional, intellectual, economic or diplomatic, is an unavoidable part of life. Physical pressure is required for a baby to be birthed. Administrative pressure is applied to achieve optimum employee productivity. The spiritual pressure of faith is required to receive blessings from God and keep the devil at bay. One notable artiste even wrote a song a while back about a nation under pressure.
The truth is, one comes under pressure when faced with meeting unavoidable claims or demands. In Africa, it could arise for a newly married lady in relating with her in-laws. For a pastor’s wife, it is likely to arise from identifying what exactly her role is in the church. It is interesting to note that the things that become pressure points are those things we desire or require in life – a fat-salaried job, babies, relationships, successful ministry, sex in marriage, a fast-growing business, greater societal influence, security, etc.
In 1 Samuel 13, we find King Saul experiencing great pressure. The Bible states, “Samuel had told Saul earlier to wait seven days for his arrival, but when he still didn’t come, and Saul’s troops were rapidly slipping away, he decided to sacrifice the burnt offering and the peace offerings himself (1 Samuel 13:8-9 TLB). All that stood in King Saul’s way was the performance of the sacrifice.
For him, maintaining kingship over the kingdom was the demand he felt upon himself, but the prophet said, “You fool!... You have disobeyed the commandment of the Lord your God. He was planning to make you and your descendants kings of Israel forever, but now your dynasty must end; for the Lord wants a man who will obey him. And he has discovered the man he wants and has already appointed him as king over his people; for you have not obeyed the Lord’s commandment” (1 Samuel 13:13-14 TLB). The result unarguably pointed to the fact that he had reacted wrongly to pressure.
Instead of turning that pressure into a stepping stone, it rolled back upon him like a crushing rock! The problem was not the pressure but his reaction. He disobeyed God’s word, and lost the kingdom! When you act rashly under pressure you are likely, not only to disobey God, but to also lose much! The day of sacrifice was supposed to be the day of confirmation of kingship on his descendants forever, but his rash behaviour made it a day of divine rejection! This will not be your case in Jesus name.
The Bible states, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV). When under pressure, run to God. Get into praise and worship. Take time to think and prayerfully re-think your intended course of action. Someone once said, “When under pressure to make a decision, say nothing!” Share your ideas with a trustworthy and mature person or wise confidant. Stay calm. Re-visit past instructions. Do what you must, but whatever you do, DON’T DO THE WRONG THING! OBEY GOD’S WORD.
The question is: do you have a relationship with this God? If not, then it high time you started one. Please pray this prayer:
Father, I come to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, because I have resolved, in my heart, to obey You in every aspect of my life. Today, I receive the grace to walk in the path You have created for me. I thank You for delivering me from the dictates of the world, my environment and the flesh. Amen.