Samuel understood that sacrifices aren’t always sacrificial. He confronted Saul with the sin of going through the motions of sacrifice to avoid doing what God commanded. Saul was like the spoiled child who was ordered to leave the cookies in the jar. Instead, he cleaned out the jar but left one cookie behind, saying, “Well, I didn’t take them all!”
He thought the “surrender” of some of the spoils of victory made up for his blatant disregard for God’s instructions. Samuel made it clear to Saul that God reads people’s intentions just as clearly as their actions. An external sacrifice to God will not cover up willful acts of disobedience.
1 Samuel 15:22 – 22 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.