Monday, June 15, 2009


[From 6-14-09]

"So Saul said, 'Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the offerings of well-being.' And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished... Samuel arrived... and said, 'What have you done?'"
(1 Samuel 13:9-11a)

Saul is made the first king of Israel. He gathers his troops to face a growing threat by the neighboring Philistines. Saul had 3K soldiers. The Philistines had more than 12x that amount! Seven days he waited with the Israelite troops, per the prophet Samuel's order (see 1 Samuel 10:8). The king started getting nervous. The people started slipping away from Saul's control. He felt intervention was needed. NOW!

So Saul took the role of the priest, and made the necessary burnt offerings required before any battle. He saw the strategic opportunity closing in front of him. The only problem was that he wasn't the priest. Samuel was. And Samuel had specifically told him to WAIT until he came. Wait! But Saul knew he had waited long enough. So he acted...

And in perfect Hollywood fashion, just as he finished the offering, guess who walked in the front door? Yep, Samuel. "What have you done!?!" he asked Saul. No amount of explaining could rectify the damage that was done. It wasn't about tactical advantages or military strategy at all. It was about obeying the priest's word. And patience. And knowing one's place. Saul, as King, had a big role... but not a blank check to do what he wanted. And he paid the price with his throne (not right away, but down the road, it would come to pass).

So what about us? How often do we try to "take matters into our own hands"? How frequently do we want to do something - even if it's not our responsibility (or even within our abilities!)? This story from 1 Samuel reminds us that we have to be aware of who God has called us to be... and who God has NOT called us to be. What God has called us to do, and what God has NOT called us to do. Be patient & wait. If God needs something to happen, He'll make it happen. Our job is to wait. Let's hope we actually follow this advice.

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