It may seem that our religion is important to God. However, religion—in the form of ritual worship—was not God’s original intention. God’s original intention was obedience.
When God freed the Israelites out of Egypt, he said this: “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). God’s requirement for well-being was not burnt sacrifices but obedience.
God also tells the Israelites, “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5). Even here, the requirement for God’s blessings is obedience.
Sacrifice does not buy God
We sometimes think we can worship our way into Heaven. We pay for almost everything in the world. So, it seems logical to think we can pay for spiritual things. But nothing we do for God is more important than our obedience to him.
Scripture gives an example of how obedience is more important than sacrifice. The Bible tells us of the prophet Samuel admonishing a disobedient Saul that God cares more about his obedience than sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22). The prophet Samuel let King Saul know that he can’t “bribe” God to overlook sin, disobedience, and wickedness.
Therefore, going to church is okay. Singing and praising God are okay. Giving money to charities and churches is okay. However, none of these acts outweigh our obedience to God.