Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wait, My Soul, Upon the Lord

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

There’s a great story in I Samuel 13 about waiting. And the story shows us there are dire consequences in NOT waiting on God and His timing for us - we are called to be patient.

In this story, Saul is King and has assembled a great army. His army has defeated one group of the Philistines and now they (Israel) are “odious” (offensive and detestable) to the Philistines (v4). So the Philistines gathered up their forces (30,000 of them, 100 times more than Saul’s complete army of 3,000!) and started to move to where Saul was. Saul had also summoned the 1,000 men in his army who weren’t with him, and they were on the way. In the meantime, the men who were with Saul saw that they were in a strait because of the approaching Philistines and started hiding in caves, thickets, cliffs and in pits (v6). How would you feel if you were Saul? Your men are all in hiding and an army 100 times the size of yours is approaching, and your reinforcements aren’t on the scene yet! Yikes!

Now Saul had a directive from Samuel, that he was to wait seven days and until Samuel got there so that Samuel could offer sacrifices to God and show Saul what to do. Here Samuel says to Saul,

"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." I Samuel 10:8

But, Saul got impatient. It was the 7th day and Samuel hadn’t yet arrived – where was he anyway? Saul’s people were scattered and he didn’t want to lose his opportunity so he said,

"Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering. (I Samuel 13:9)

Well, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as he had offered the sacrifice, Samuel shows up! And as you can imagine, Samuel was not happy.

Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. But Samuel said, "What have you done?" (v10,11)

And here comes Saul with the excuses.

"Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.' So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering."
(v11-12)

If I were Samuel, I would have said, “You FORCED yourself? Hmm, really?” But Samuel wasn’t sarcastic. Instead, he chastised Saul, saying

"You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. 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." (v13-14)

Read that again and make sure you catch exactly what Samuel was saying. Saul did not keep God’s commandment and as a result, he forfeited the chance to have his kingdom established over Israel forever. He didn’t wait. He was impatient. Now his kingdom will not endure, Samuel says. (And as we know from another story when Saul was disobedient, His kingship was removed from him.)

Can you imagine how Saul must have felt? He lost his chance because he couldn’t wait a few more minutes for Samuel to get there. The Lord was going to establish Saul’s kingdom over Israel FOREVER. FOREVER. And he blew it – he didn’t see the big picture and he thought only of his current circumstances.

It’s really easy for us to look at this story and say “Oh Saul, how shortsighted of you.” But if we’re (and I’m included at the top of this list) totally honest, there are many times we do this same thing. We don’t wait on God, and instead we take matters into our own hands. Are there times you’ve been mere minutes away from being delivered by God when you decided to fix it yourself? We’ll never know what God had planned for us and our future if we act ourselves instead of waiting on Him.

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3

Wait, My Soul, Upon the Lord
Words by William F. Lloyd

Wait, my soul, upon the Lord,
To His gracious promise flee,
Laying hold upon His Word,
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

If the sorrows of thy case
Seem peculiar still to thee,
God has promised needful grace:
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

Days of trial, days of grief,
In succession thou mayst see;
This is still thy sweet relief:
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

Rock of Ages, I'm secure,
With Thy promise, full and free,
Faithful, positive, and sure,
“As Thy days thy strength shall be.”

2 comments:

Heather@Mommymonk said...

If we sidestep God's purposes in our haste, we may be denying ourselves of great blessing. A good Biblical story of impatience to remind us the value of waiting. Thanks for sharing.

amanda said...

"We’ll never know what God had planned for us and our future if we act ourselves instead of waiting on Him."

So true, so true. But knowing this is true and actually practicing it are totally different!

Thanks for being part of the CoB this week!