Studying in 1 Samuel 13, the beginnings of Israel's first king, Saul, we read that King Saul disobeyed God's law and though, not a priest,he offers the burnt offering to God himself instead of waiting to Samuel, the priest, (13:12). To King Saul's credit, his back is against the wall, the moment of crisis at hand! The ginormous Philistine army approached the Israelite few. Picture 4000 Israelites versus the Philistines troops that looked like the sand on the seashore (not to mention the 30,000 chariots and 6000 horsemen, 13:5). Outnumbered hardly begins to describe the situation. Further, the Israelite troops are deserting. King Saul has been told to wait at Gilgal seven days and Samuel will come over sacrifice for Israel (10:8), and on day seven the King Saul ceased to wait any longer and took matters into his own hands. Of course, right after King Saul disobeys, Samuel shows up. King Saul waited, but didn't wait long enough. Samuel confronts King Saul's sin and Saul responds by blaming the Israelites for scattering and Samuel for delaying (13:11). Unfortunately for Saul, God takes away his kingship over Israel (13:13-14).
I do not judge Saul; I relate. When I am hard pressed and tempted to sin, I do pray but I don't wait long enough for God's wisdom or strength. Last week, I shared an instance when I didn't know how to parent; I prayed, waited and God gave a solution. I don't usually wait long enough, act prematurely (outside of God's best plan) and then have a mess on my hands and guilt to go with it.
Comfort food for example. The calculating one is pushing all my buttons as we argue and she disobeys. As I prepare a snack for the boisterous one, I am tempted to deal with my stress by turning to food. I pray Matthew 4:4, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Without taking a breath, I repeatedly shove cracker and frosting into my mouth. What's worse is I blame the golden heads for stressing me out. See? I'm just like Saul.
And I'm just like our western culture, in love with superheros. Too often, I expect God to be a superhero, expecting Him to come instantly to my rescue. He can choose to do this, but sometimes He wants to teach me in the waiting.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. 1Thessalonians 5:23-24He will do it: this work of making us holy. I need to learn to wait. I've not met a soul who's said, "I've got all the patience I need." I need this fruit of the Spirit. I have faith God hears my prayers of intercession but, I lack the patience to wait for His response. I read recently, patience can't be learned but through experience.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.Do you relate to King Saul? Do you cry out God, even in the moment of panic, expecting His answer will be to swoop in and save the day as a superhero? What game plan can you develop to "wait patiently for the Lord," as the psalmist David wrote?
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my get upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.