How many of us try hard to make good decisions and do what is right? I am betting that almost everyone will raise their hand and say, “I am!” What if the choices that we make are what “we” consider to be right, instead of what the Lord considers right? I have to admit, some of the time my choices might look like, “that is good enough,” because I get impatient. Patience is not my best friend, and I will settle for less than perfect, instead of taking the time to make things right. If I am talking about an art project, or even a blog post, then good enough might be alright. But, if I am talking about a commandment from the Lord, then I had better get it as close to perfect as I can.
I have been reading about the life of King Saul. As much as I would like to think otherwise, I can see some of me in his life. Saul was chosen to become the first king of the Israelites. He was loved by God and if he had obeyed the Lord, his entire life would have been different.
Even though the Lord did not want the Israelites to have a king, He relented and chose Saul who was tall, handsome, and affluent. Poor Saul became king when everything was in turmoil and I am sure that he was in over his head. He was not trained to be a ruler or a leader, however, all he had to do was obey God and the Lord would have taken care of everything.
1 Samuel 10:8
8 Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”
This sounds like a commandment that would be easy to obey. Go here…wait for me…I’ll show you what to do. Wow! How easy, so why did Saul mess this up? This might be the part where patience would be a virtue.
1 Samuel 13:8-10
8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.
Do you know what it is like to fail on your first test? Can’t you hear Saul whining to Samuel, “where were you? You didn’t show up on time, so I went ahead and did it myself.” Saul was blaming everything on Samuel, instead of understanding that he had not obeyed. This is pretty much a theme in Saul’s life, he hears, but he does it with a twist toward what Saul thinks is best.
1 Samuel 15:3
3 Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”
The Lord spoke to the prophet Samuel and told him to tell Saul the instructions for winning the war against the Amalekite nation. It was simple instructions, “kill everything, don’t let anything live.” These instructions sound harsh to me, but there is a saying that goes like this, “stomp your snakes.” It means that if you spare something, it will not be grateful for being spared, but it will hate you for what was taken from them and seek revenge.
Saul failed miserably. I am not sure what his thoughts were since the instructions were clear. I can only surmise that he decided that “he” knew best and that the Lord didn’t really mean “everything.”
1 Samuel 15:7-9
7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
The problem with Saul is that he didn’t obey FULLY. He chose to do parts of what the Lord said, instead of doing exactly what the Lord commanded. The Lord forgives when we truly repent, and when we confess our sins. The Lord forgave King David over and over again. David committed adultery, he had someone killed to cover up his sin, and multiple other sins.
I think the difference between Saul and David was their hearts. The Lord knows what is in our hearts, and Saul’s heart wasn’t for the Lord. Many times you will hear David referred to as a man after the Lord’s heart.
It is important to remember to seek the Lord’s instruction and be willing to follow his words. We might not understand what the Lord has in store for us, but we still need to be willing to obey, and then wait on His timing.
The next time that I feel myself getting impatient, I am going to try and remember the story of Saul. His patience cost him a kingdom on earth and in Heaven, and that is not a cost that I am willing to pay.
Have A Blessed Day!