Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 13:8 (NIV)
He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.
1 Samuel 13:8 (MSG)
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.
“Now Saul waited seven days, according to the appointed time which Samuel had set, but Samuel had not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering away from Saul.” -AMPLIFIED
The chapter of 1 Samuel 13 opens with some personal information about Saul that actually varies from translation to translation. Many translations tell us, “Saul was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty-two years over Israel.” (AMP) Whereas others tell us this, “Saul was about 30 years old when he became king, and after he ruled for at least two years, Saul chose 3,000 men of Israel: 2,000 stayed with him in the hill country of Bethel…” (VOICE)
The Voice Translation gives us further information in its footnotes, “All Hebrew manuscripts and most Greek manuscripts omit Saul’s age. The entire verse is problematic. Many suggestions have been offered, but none are clearly satisfying. Saul was older than 20 and less than 40 when he began his reign. He ruled at least 2 years and less than 42 years. It is difficult to be more specific.”
Suffice it to say, Saul was old enough to know better when it came to the things of God. We find him in the midst of a revolt in this stage of his reign. Jonathan, his son, had crushed the Philistine regiment at Geba. News of the slaughter had reached the Philistines. In preparation of any and all retaliation from the Philistines Saul ordered that a trumpet be blown throughout Israel to announce their victory to the people. He wanted the people to know of the great victory achieved, but also to be ready for revenge from the sound beating that the Philistines had received.
When all the people of Israel had heard the news of how Saul and Jonathan had defeated the Philistines they were ecstatic! When they found out that the Philistines were filled with hatred toward them, (which was to be expected) they were filled with fear. Saul called the people to come join him at Gilgal and we are told that as everyone made their way there they were extremely nervous and full of trepidation.
Meanwhile, we find the Philistines extremely angry. “The Philistines rallied their forces to fight Israel: three companies of chariots, six companies of cavalry, and so many infantry they looked like sand on the seashore. They went up into the hills and set up camp at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 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.” -1 Samuel 13:5-7 (MSG)
If things were not bad enough, now the people of Israel had become petrified, sacred spit-less, and overcome with horror. (Have you ever been in that spot?) Saul had waited the seven days that Samuel had instructed him to wait, but when Samuel did not show up Saul felt it was time for him to do something about the situation. Saul saw that he was losing the confidence of the people so he decided to do something that he had no business doing. He decided to take charge of the offerings to the Lord in the hopes of restoring the people’s confidence and faith in him. (Notice that he had missed the point, the people should have been looking to God for salvation; not him.)
“So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering [which he was forbidden to do]. As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel finally came; Saul went out to meet and to welcome him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” -1 Samuel 13:9-11 (AMP)
Saul was told to “WAIT”; yet he did not feel comfortable doing that. He rushed into an area where angels feared to tread because he did not trust Samuel and ultimately he did not trust God to come through for him. Because of his unwillingness to wait for God’s perfect timing he chose to disobey God. (How often have we each done that? Be honest! I know I have.) Scripture tells us time and time to “Wait”, “Trust”, and “Have Faith in God”. When will we too learn that lesson?
Because of Saul’s choice to rush ahead and not wait on God he ultimately lost out on God’s plan for himself and his family. His kingdom would not endure.
Saul’s sorry excuse to Samuel was, “The people were deserting me! You didn’t come when you promised, and the Philistines were gathering for war at Michmash. I thought, “The Philistines are going to attack me here in Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked the Eternal One to favor us.” So I took matters into my own hands—I didn’t want to—but I offered the burnt offering myself.” -1 Samuel 13:11-12 (VOICE)
Samuel’s response was, “That was a foolish thing, Saul. You have not kept the commandment that the Eternal, your True God, gave to you. He was willing to establish your kingdom over Israel for all time, but now your kingdom, your dynasty, will not last. He has found a man who seeks His will and has appointed him king over all the people instead of you because you have not kept to what the Eternal One commanded.” -1 Samuel 13:13-14 (VOICE)
Saul messed up. Let us learn to wait on the Lord. The following Scriptures may be helpful in our doing so:
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. -Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)
“The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, to those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word].” -Lamentations 3:25 (AMP)
“Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” -Psalm 27:14 (AMP)
If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people– Charles Spurgeon
Lord, waiting is not my favorite thing to do; you know this. I often see something that needs doing and jump right in to do it without even consulting and your direction; forgive me. Help me to learn to patiently wait on you. Help me to seek your insight and understanding in every situation. I will trust your direction; for ultimately I know that you will always take care of me. Help me, Lord, to wait.