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Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
“What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
“You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:7-14
Saul felt his logic was impeccable. He’d been sitting there for seven days waiting for Samuel to arrive. He had an army full of men who were panicking. The Philistines were gathering to attack. Even though Samuel had said he’d be at Gilgal in seven days, when Saul woke up, Samuel wasn’t there. Saul’s logic said that it was obvious that God wanted Saul to take matters into his own hands. That’s why Samuel was delayed, right? After all, Saul was the leader of his people. He had to be strong. He had to make his own decisions. He had to keep the army together. Everything depended on what he did, right?
All your life, you had specific dreams about what your family life would be like when you finally married. You were so intent on what you wanted that you even made a list of qualities and characteristics you were looking for in a spouse, in a home, in your job, in your children. But time passed, and that person you were so intent on didn’t come along. All of your friends married, had children and beautiful homes. And still you were single. You prayed and prayed and prayed for that person to come along, but nothing happened. You had a good job. You served in your church. You spent daily time with the Lord in prayer and studying the Word. You dedicated your life to serving God in every way possible, but still nothing.
So you decided to take matters into your own hands, and you began an active search for a mate. Taking what seemed to be the most obvious route, you signed up with one of those “matchmaker” services on the Internet. And within a short period, you met someone who almost fit the bill. Almost. Sure, there were a few things missing, a few rusty spots in that person’s character. But, after all, no one is perfect. Of course, your friends and your pastor tried to counsel you that you were making a poor choice and that you should wait for the Lord to send the right person. But that couldn’t be right. You had waited for a long time. Maybe you had set your goals too high. Maybe you’d been asking for the impossible. Maybe this was the person God wanted for you so your character could grow through dealing with his or her failings. So you married… and your life went downhill from there.
Even though it often seems that God is slow to answer prayers, no matter whether it’s about a mate, or a job, or our children, or our finances, or our health, or anything else, we have to remember that God doesn’t wear a watch. Nor does he look at our human calendars. He sees with eternal eyes. He operates on an eternal timetable, according to His plan and His schedule. If God seems to be running late, don’t get impatient and run ahead of him. Wait for the Lord’s timing in everything. Remember, His timing is perfect. Yours is not.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;…Psalm 37:4-7a
Bonnie Ricks is a certified Christian counselor, speaker and writer. She and her husband are former Christian radio talk show hosts and founders of their online ministry, Dogwood Ministries. Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DogwoodMinistries and become a Fan!