I have been reading through 1 Samuel lately. When I think of King Saul, I picture the guy who tried to kill David and in general was not really a nice guy. It has been so interesting as I have been paying more attention to see how he started out.
Israel wanted to be like the nations around them and so they asked God for a king to rule them. Basically they were saying they didn’t want to answer to God as their Ruler but wanted a human ruler. God’s prophet Samuel met Saul through an interesting series of events and Samuel told Saul he was to be set apart as Israel’s first king. Samuel also gave Saul several instructions and signs that would show Saul what to do. Saul started out with a heart for God, even prophesying in His name (1 Samuel 10:10). But then, Saul rushed ahead of Samuel and God. Samuel had told him to wait at Gilgal and he would come and make a burnt offering and then give Saul more instructions. Saul grew impatient and made the sacrifice himself. Perhaps it seemed simple to Saul, but it was the beginning of the end for him.
1 Samuel 13:10-14 Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came”.
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.
It is so easy sometimes to rush ahead of God and make our own plans. Yet, God wants our obedience. This means sometimes following His instructions even if they don’t completely make sense. Sometimes it is hard to wait! That has been my stage in life the last few months. I was pretty sure God was calling me to Cambodia once I returned from helping with VBS in August. Yet, I knew that I needed to take the right steps in the right order so that I ended up in the spot the Lord had for me. There were times when I wanted a decision right that minute, but the workers on the field were not ready yet to make that decision. And, in the time of waiting, God has been drawing me closer to Himself, He has been working on the heart of a potential teammate, and He has been confirming core principles that need to be in place for the Cambodian missionaries and workers. Instead of being like Saul and taking things into my own hands, I want to walk in obedience to the Lord and be ready for action when He says “Go!”, rather then when I want to say, “Go!”.