Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Impatience is a Thief to Saul

Waiting on God?
Maybe you're waiting for an answer or  for His move.
Maybe it's about your relationship, your career, your ministry.. Just be patient in waiting on what God.
At the end of the day, you will realize that God's answer is worth the wait! :)

Funny how I talked yesterday about waiting on God when I talked about my friendship with Jopel.
Last night, my devotion was all about that.

We read in 1 Samuel 13 how Saul became too impatient to wait for Samuel.
His intentions were somehow agreeable, they were in a battle with the Philistines, who had already surrounded them and had brought them terror. The Philistines were "as numerous as the sand on the seashore". The Israelites trembled and "hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns." That was the situation. They all were devoured by their own fear.

Samuel told him to wait for seven days before doing any kind of action.
When the seventh day come, imagine a troop of fearful Israelites anticipating Samuel, who had the key that would make them victorious against the Philippines.
They were peeking every second, if Samuel was anywhere near.
As every hour passed by, seeing no shadow of Samuel, they became more and more anxious. They were scattered out of fear of what the Philistines could do to them.
Until Saul, their king, decided to stop waiting on Samuel, to stop waiting on what the Lord would say through him.
He decided to bring an offering to the Lord, because he wanted the Lord's favor to be on them in their upcoming battle.

After he had done all these, Samuel arrived and asked him what he just did.
In Saul's reply, we would see how much fear-driven his actions were. His worry was the reason for his hasty decisions.

To this, Samuel responded saying that Saul did a foolish thing. He said to Saul, “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

If you would not probe deeper in this text, you would be confused.
Saul offered to God. He did not wait for Samuel to be there, he offered things they actually prepared for the offering.
Offering to God is good, right?
Then why did Samuel say it was foolish?

It is because God does not look at what is done by the hands and what is uttered by the tongue.
He looks at the heart.
When he looked at Saul's heart, when he offered, He was not pleased.
Saul's offering smelled like a weak faith in God to rescue them from the hands of the Philistines They were fearful, his soldiers were losing heart. That's why he tried to do things his way.

When he was getting tired of the wait, he was losing his confidence in the Lord.
Somehow, his offering were not to bring praise to God or to submit to God's authority.
I see it as bribery. Saul wanted to win, and by offering stuff, he thought that God will be automatically in favor of their army and give them victory. It was as if he was inserting coin into God for an instant win!

He tried to be king over the King of kings.
He was like a boss in a movie, saying to God Himself, "Kill them."
He did not submit to the Lord's command to wait, he wanted God to follow his personal strategy.
Isn't it a prideful attitude? To follow your own strategy because you are kinda losing confidence in God's strategy?

Yes it is very prideful.
However, if you look at yourself, you sometimes are like Saul.
Especially when God wants you to wait.

When the pace is a little slower than how we like it, when things are not as good as you think they would be in the waiting period, you tremble. You become filled with fear. You lose confidence in the One who's in charge. You grab the stirring wheel as if saying, "Ako na nga! Di ka marunong magdrive eh.. 10 kph?!" You forget that it's God you're getting the stirring wheel from.

From simple stuff like getting a Driver's License, we have a hard time waiting.
Fixers in LTO seems very friendly and inviting, when you think of the long wait you would need in getting a Driver's License.
To a lot more serious stuff like getting into a relationship, we have a hard time waiting.
You think that the guy you like could suddenly change his mind when he courted you, that's why you bit the apple too soon.

When we become impatient,
1. We rush decision-making and forget consulting God about it. We do things for the wrong reasons. Even something as beautiful and as sacred as offering to God was used by Saul for selfish reasons. Moreover, his decision, because of overlooking the importance of soaking it in God's commands, did not go too well. The Philistines was given not to Saul's hands, but to his son Jonathan's hands. His soldiers had found him less trustworthy.
2. We try to be the masters of the situation because we think the Master of everything isn't going to do anything about it. We fail to see the great things God was about to make. In this text, Samuel said that the Lord was ready to establish Saul's kingdom over Israel for all time, if he only had a heart willing to wait on Him. In the same way, God has big things in store for us. The thing is, He wants our hearts to be prepared for these things before He gives these to us. He wants us to have a heart that looks up to God as the Lord. A little delay does not mean God forgets to move in your situation.. God is not like human beings who are a little too forgetful! Put your faith in Him!
3. We win little fights but lose in the bigger battle.We amplify the value of less important things while ignoring the more important stuff. You could have finished it earlier and easier, but you have not picked up the lessons that should have gone with the process. Saul could have seen the Philistines fall in the Israelites' hands, but he lost his chance to have the great encounter with God through being a king over Israel. 

What decisions in the past did you make hastily, without consulting God? How did they turn out?
Are you willing to wait?

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