It is a hard thing to wait, especially when you are under attack or feel threatened. You wonder why God has not shown up, but you sense God is telling you to wait, to be patient. This is what Saul faced after being appointed king (1 Samuel 10). Saul’s son Jonathan has defeated the Philistine garrison at Geba and the Philistines have assembled to fight back:
Now the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and people like the sand which is on the seashore in abundance; and they came up and camped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven (1 Samuel 13:5, NASB).
The Israelites are scared and hide themselves “in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead (13:6-7).” They fled at the sight of the Phillistines amassing before them. What would you do if you were king?
Samuel had given Saul clear instructions: “And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do (1 Samuel 10:8).” Saul does wait the seven days, but when Samuel doesn’t show on the seventh day, he decided to take things into his own hands. “So Saul said, ‘Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.’ And he offered the burnt offering (13:9).” However, Samuel shows up moments later, on the seventh day as he instructed.
Waiting on God is a hard thing. I often become impatient and want to act on my own, doing what I think should be done. It is especially hard to wait when I see things falling apart. Saul saw the people scattering in fear; he saw the Phillistines assembling against them (13:11); he felt he couldn’t wait any longer. He has barely started his reign as king and he is already acting outside of God’s instructions. Samuel tells Saul he has “acted foolishly” and that his “kingdom will not endure (13). He adds, “The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you (14).”
© 2022, CGThelen
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. – Psalm 51:16-17