In life it seems we are always trying to please someone. It may be our parents, or it may be our children, a spouse, friends, employers, teachers, etc.
When we seek to please someone, it is important that we know what they want. Not knowing what they want can lead to great displeasure in the one we were seeking to please and disappointment in ourselves as we realize too late we made a mistake.
For instance, a husband might try and buy clothes for his wife only to find out too late that his taste is not quite like hers in those areas. It is pretty easy to understand this in dealing with others.
When it comes to spiritual matters, some seem to forget that in order to please God, we must know what he wants. It would be terrible to think all our lives that we are pleasing God in what we do spiritually, only to find out on the Day of Judgment that we had failed to do what God desired.
People failing to please God is not new – it is seen over and over in the Bible that there have been those who did things “for God” based on what they thought rather than giving God what he desired the way he had instructed.
Near the beginning of the Bible, we find that Cain and Able brought sacrifices to God. Of this offering, the writer of Hebrews stated, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4). The offering of Cain was not given in the proper way, and God was not pleased.
Later in Hebrew history after the people had demanded they have an earthly king (1 Samuel 8:5), King Saul was told to destroy the Amalekite nation. He was not to save anything alive, not the people and not the animals.
Saul thought it would be good to save the Amalekite king, and the people wanted to capture and take home the best of the animals, which could be offered for a sacrifice to God. This thing was not pleasing to God, though the people thought it would be the thing to do.
When Samuel met Saul he asked him this question, “And Samuel said, ‘What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’” (1 Samuel 15:14).
The king blamed the problem on the people, but he was the one who had allowed them to disobey God. Samuel told the king something that mankind needs to remember today.
“And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Obedience to God is how to please God, not doing what we think will be pleasing.
When Jesus was upon the earth, there were those who claimed to be religious but failed in following the commands of God. Jesus told them on one occasion, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
These words are just as true today if we are trying to please God then we must look into His word to find out what it is that God desires.
Who are you trying to please? If you are trying to please God, read, study and obey his word.