There are religions in the world where sacrifice is better than obedience. You sin and then make up for it by your sacrifice, your prayers, your alms, your fasting, etc. Christianity offers freedom from sin, not a way to pay your way out of sin.
God gave a direction to Saul. Under peer pressure, he justifies disobeying. He’s disobeying for the Lord! How we deceive ourselves!
Hopefully disobeying God to God’s glory sounds ridiculous to you, but that’s what Saul is trying to convince Samuel of, that Saul was only thinking of the Lord when choosing to disobey. He later confesses that he caved to the people asking him to bring back the animals. I guess we don’t know if that’s how it really happened. We know Saul is willing to stretch the truth when making excuses, like how he forced himself to offer a sacrifice.
Again, he’s not honoring God’s sacrifices. Before, he presumptuously offered them himself. This time he’s offering to God things that God abhors, things devoted to destruction. They weren’t supposed to exist. God doesn’t want to see them, let alone receive them as a gift.
But that’s not the lesson here. The lesson is that God desires obedience, not sacrifice. God takes no pleasure in sacrifice. He’s not thinking up ways for you to suffer and sacrifice for Him! He’s not an evil tyrant. He’s a loving father.
He’s loving you at all times. Receive His love. If you are understanding His love for you and receiving His love, you will be obeying His commands because you will do it out of love and out of full knowledge that it’s best for you and for everyone else. You will be surrendered to His will because you will be surrendered to His love.
Sounds good doesn’t it? Surrender to His love. That’s what He’s asking you to do. He’s not asking for suffering and sacrifice. He’s asking you to surrender to His love, to let Him love you, to abide in His love.
There may be physical suffering and sacrifice, but it will be joy to your soul and spirit because it will be in and through and encompassed by the precious love of God. You’ll be enraptured with His love. You’ll know there’s not a better way, because you’ll know His love is perfect and He only acts out of that perfect love.