Have you ever been guilty of trying to bargain with God?
If He would just do this for you, then you would do that for Him?
Have you deliberately done what you have wanted to do even though you knew that God wanted something different?
Let us all just raise our hand here and admit that we have probably been guilty of this at one time or another.
King Saul of Israel gets a dose of what happens when one rushes ahead of God’s instructions and tries to manipulate circumstances in his favor.
1 Samuel 11-13 finds the prophet Samuel moving to the background and King Saul moving to the forefront.
Saul is filled with God’s spirit and is mighty in defeating the enemies of Israel. He is the impressive King that they had asked for and he does not disappoint!
There happens to be a battle with the Philistines that is especially intimidating and leaves the Israeli soldiers “quaking in fear.”
Saul has been waiting for 7 days for Samuel to come and offer a burnt offering to the Lord so that there would be a victory for the Israelites.
When Samuel does not show up at the appointed time, Saul decides that with trembling troops scattering, something must be done and he presumes upon God to offer the sacrifice himself.
Lest we are sympathetic to Saul’s dilemma, we need to understand that Saul has not been authorized by God to be in a position of offering a holy sacrifice.
Saul’s decision to take control of the situation in his own authority, cost him dearly.
He assumed that God wasn’t getting things right and he would have to manipulate the blessing by taking charge of things himself.
The result was that Samuel prophesied to Saul that his kingdom would not endure and God would hand it over to a man after his own heart.
Hhhmmm….wonder who that man will be? Hint: Shepherd boy!
This is a sobering story and it hits too close to home.
I have to ask myself if I patiently wait on God, or too often, take things into my own hands assuming that God needs my help to hurry things along?
Well….ouch! I have been there.
As if this incident with Saul isn’t bad enough, he continues to show a character of working around God and doing things his own way, all the while making excuses as to why he did it.
Oh Lord, may we repent in dust and ashes if we ever try to take charge of you and your plans. May we be a humble people.
May I be.
“Create in me a clean heart, Oh God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10