Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 13:8-15
“He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings” And he offered the burnt offering.” (1 Samuel 13:8-9)
Being impatient, Saul thought that it was better for him to offer his sacrifices to God by himself than to wait for Samuel. However, Saul was not a priest, and he knew that only priests were allowed to offer sacrifices to God. Thus, although Saul appeared religious and asked for God’s help through sacrifice, his heart was far from obeying God.
Saul wanted to obey God in his own time and own way. This is not obedience. Who are we to decide God’s time and way? Yet, a lot of the time, our obedience is like Saul’s. We do not want to do what God tells us to do now, and we do God’s commands reserved for later. We choose which of God’s commandments suit us best and only follow the ones we like.
As this shows in Saul’s life, it shows in our life an ingrained pride. We want to control everything that happens, and we do not want God to be in charge. Saul did not want to wait for Samuel because he wanted to defend against the Philistines with his own military strength. Inside he wanted to prove to others and himself that he was capable of winning wars and being king by his own might. This is a deadly pride that will lead to a downfall.
It is similar in our Christian life. We think we can prove to God, others and ourselves that we are obedient Christians. But, our fault is that we obey the commands that seem pleasing to us, and we obey them when we want. It is not true obedience if we do not obey God in the time when He calls us to do it. For example, it is easy to be caught up with the idea that we must evangelise and put all our efforts to reach out to others. By no means must we slack off in our evangelistic efforts. However, too focused on our ministries, we fool ourselves into thinking we are living for God when we are still slacking off in our studies, fighting and hating our brothers and sisters and, keeping hidden sins in our hearts that we secretly enjoy.
Yes, there will be a time when God will use us as His instrument for His kingdom if that is indeed His will. But we don’t get there instantly. Firstly, God will call us to devote our whole lives to Him. He will refine and purify His servants before using them. He will call us to repent and obey in the aspects of our life we find most comfortable. He will wash us clean of our idols. It is these things that we easily ignore to obey. But, these are the things that God is calling us to do now. Have we been responsible for our studies now? Have we loved our relationships with our family and friends? Have we put to death secret sins which we secretly enjoy?
Although life is short, we are called to obey God in His time. He has a plan for us, and He reveals His will to us at the moment through His Word. What happened in the past and what will happen in the future is in God’s hands. To follow and walk with God means to trust God with the things that are still uncertain and wait for His appointed time. In the meantime, we are called to obey Him with the things in our grasp that He calls us to do in the present.
Lord, please help us to obey You in Your time. Show us through Your Word what Your will for us is today. Help us to walk each day in obedience to You. Teach us to trust that You are in control of our lives and have planned out what is best in Your time. Forgive us when we want to take control of our own lives and deem things good in our own time. You are good and unlimited in wisdom. Teach us to follow You. In Jesus’ name, amen.