Saturday, April 11, 2009

Impatient


There are lots of great stories in today's reading of Samuel 13 and 14. Especially the one of how brave Jonathan was, and how he and his armor bearer single handedly turned the tide of war.

However, what has always bothered me is Saul's relationship to God. I think he was a very typical North American. So I am reading about me. And about you.

Impatient.

Saul is in a big battle with the Philistines. 6 -7 "When the Israelites saw that they were way outnumbered and in deep trouble, they ran for cover, hiding in caves and pits, ravines and brambles and cisterns—wherever. They retreated across the Jordan River, refugees fleeing to the country of Gad and Gilead. But Saul held his ground in Gilgal, his soldiers still with him but scared to death.
8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel. Samuel failed to show up at Gilgal, and the soldiers were slipping away, right and left."

The odds are against him. His soldiers are leaving him. He waits SEVEN days. Action is called for. Enough sitting around, waiting. Samuel hasn't come. Just because Samuel is a loser doesn't mean that Saul has to be a loser. What is an insecure, young, newly appointed king to do?

Well - he takes matters into his own hands. We need God's direction, and we need it now. God is like a puppet on a string. A genie in a bottle that you rub and it does what you command. God needs offerings before He will speak? OK. Let's make offerings. 9 -10 "So Saul took charge: "Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!" He went ahead and sacrificed the burnt offering. No sooner had he done it than Samuel showed up! Saul greeted him. "


Hi Sam. How are you doing? What took you so long? Samuel is neither amused nor pleased. 11 -12 "Samuel said, "What on earth are you doing?"

Saul feels no smidge of humility or repentance. No way! "Saul answered, "When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn't come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, I said, 'The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven't yet come before God asking for his help.' So I took things into my own hands, and sacrificed the burnt offering."

Listen Sam. I'm doing the right thing here. Things are desperate and I need to hear from God. He likes offerings, so I did an offering. How is that such a bad thing?

13 -14 "That was a fool thing to do," Samuel said to Saul. "If you had kept the appointment that your God commanded, by now God would have set a firm and lasting foundation under your kingly rule over Israel. As it is, your kingly rule is already falling to pieces. God is out looking for your replacement right now. This time he'll do the choosing. When he finds him, he'll appoint him leader of his people. And all because you didn't keep your appointment with God!"
15 At that, Samuel got up and left Gilgal. "

Saul heard. But he didn't hear. He didn't repent. Didn't ask for direction. Didn't change his course of action. Waiting to God was too hard. Too risky. Action was called for. So... "What army there was left followed Saul into battle. They went into the hills from Gilgal toward Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul looked over and assessed the soldiers still with him—a mere six hundred! "

Round one. Saul is impatient. Although he wants God's direction, and God's blessing, he is not willing to either wait for God (God is WAY too slow!) or do things God's way. Samuel says that God is already looking for someone different to be king instead of Saul.

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