At some point into King Saul’s tenure, things were not looking too good for the Hebrew nation, which, BTW, was nothing new up to that point in their embattled but miraculous history. Come to think of it, it has been typical of their existence ever since.
The good news was that the prophet of the Lord, Samuel, the same guy who had in recent memory anointed Saul as king over God’s nation of Israel, said that his plan was to show up in town seven days hence, and that Saul was to wait for him there. The bad news was that the very powerful enemy (one of several) was now r-e-a-l-l-y ticked off at the still-fledgling nation, and was mustering an army against them. As might be expected, Saul’s men were getting more than a little nervous, and began breaking ranks, slipping away into the hills and surrounding places, which was understandably a bit disconcerting for the king of Israel, (who struggled with his own self-image issues anyway—can anyone relate?)
But wait! There was even worse news! Samuel, whose job it was to offer prayers and sacrifices to the God of Israel and bless them for success in battle, hadn’t shown up like he said he would! He was late, or maybe he just wasn’t coming after all!
God’s sense of timing is not like ours. To quote a good friend, Jon McKinney, “God is rarely early, but He’s never late.” This was a test, this was only a test. Unfortunately, Saul bombed it.
In fact, most of this life is a test as well. In this episode, God was exposing an inherit flaw in Saul’s character—Saul was more concerned about himself, his safety, his victory and honor among the people (remember that old inferiority complex?) than he was about trusting God and honoring Him through patient obedience. If only Saul had remembered his history lesson about his predecessor named Gideon (see earlier blog on that one, or better yet, read it in the Bible, Judges, chapter 7), he would have realized that God does not depend on numbers, but on our faith and His own grace and power.
And how do I respond when my circumstances are telling me that God is somehow late, or worse, that He is breaking His promise? Part of our faith is demonstrated by how we interpret our circumstances in light of our relationship with God. Part of our love for God is revealed by desiring to honor Him through our obedience in the midst of those circumstances. It’s not about “my” victory, but about His ability; not “my” reputation, but His.
Thx for readin’—dawnlizjones