Scripture Reading: I Samuel 13:1-15

“So Saul said, ‘Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.’ And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, ‘What have you done?'” (I Samuel 13:9-11a)

The Philistines had rallied their forces and threatened the Hebrews (v. 5). The Hebrews acted like cowards (vs. 6,7) and began to scatter. Those who were with Saul trembled in fear. And thus Saul took matters into his own hands. He acted out of expediency when he disobeyed God and offered the burnt offering.

Samuel had given Saul clear instructions — “Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming 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” (10:8).

Saul set aside the clear command of God and acted expeditiously. When Samuel was delayed, Saul took it upon himself to offer sacrifices. This was strictly forbidden by God’s law. Saul did it anyway.

When Samuel arrived, he rebuked Saul and told him the consequences of his actions — “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over His people, because you have not kept what he Lord commanded you” (v. 14).

Saul made excuses for his actions — “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against us at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering” (vs. 11,12).

Saul willfully disobeyed a plain command of God. He acted out of human expediency rather than trusting God and obeying Him. It is so easy for us to compromise and do the same thing. Obeying God and waiting on Him may be difficult at times, but these are always the right things to do.

Lord God, forgive me when I take matters into my own hands and act out of expediency rather than waiting on You. I am a fixer and want to take charge and get things done. Teach me the virtue of patience and give me a heart that desires to obey You.


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