Don’t force it!
One of the biggest challenges I’ve personally had in my walk with The Lord is waiting upon Him and not forcing things to happen. While this is difficult for most Christians, for those with “Kingly” personalities like myself, its extremely difficult. Us Kings are wired to take charge and lead people to the promise land breaking through any obstacles that might come our way. What I’ve discovered is that we have plenty of historical context related to this topic of “waiting” and resisting the temptation to “take things into our own hands.” Allow me to share one such story.
In 1 Samuel 13, we see a time where King Saul attempted to “force” a word from God. Previously in 1 Samuel 10:8, Saul was instructed by God through the prophet Samuel to lead is army to Gilgal and wait for Samuel to arrive with further instructions. Here’s the verse:
“Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” – 1 Samuel 10:8
As the seventh day came to pass and with pressure mounting within his army, Saul become overwhelmingly anxious. With great responsibility to his people, he began to doubt the previous instructions from Samuel to “wait for further instructions.” Lets read what happens next:
8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 “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 Mikmash, 12 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.”
13 “You have done a foolish thing,” 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. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” – 1 Samuel 13:9-14 NIV
Notice here that Saul was doing what seemed to be a noble thing, offering up a sacrifice to the Lord seeking his favor. So, why such a great consequence of Saul’s being stripped away of his leadership of the kingdom? Simple put, it was that Saul had been disobedient to God. He had been commanded to wait on for Samuel to arrive for further instructions yet fell into the temptation of his character to take things into his own hands forcing them to happen.
Now, my being somewhat like Saul, I think I might get some of the thoughts that might have been going through his head. Things like:
“Did God really say wait on Samuel?”
“Maybe something happened to Samuel!”
“What if Samuel misinterpreted what God said?”
“This could have devastating consequences and I’m losing the faith of my people, I have to do something!”
“What did He really mean by ‘wait’?”
“Surely, it would be pleasing to the Lord to offer a burnt offering even though He’s already been told me to wait.”
Can anyone relate? Again, I know I sure can. Not to minimize Saul’s circumstances; however, if you’re like me, it may be much longer that 7 days you’ve been waiting.
For my readers, you likely know much of our story. Some time ago, God planted a vision within my heart which He’s continued to reinforce time and time again throughout the years. In February 2015, it felt like He was going to deliver upon His promise which we saw come to pass only to be reminded to continue to wait trusting upon the Lord. (See Did God send me an angel? for a bit of this story.) Like Saul, we felt our back was up against the wall and something needed to happen soon. Then, he reminded us of His promise and continued to reinforce our need to trust Him.
Now, like Paul Harvey’s “the rest of the story”, I’ll share that God seems to be at work and the fulfillment of this vision initially planted about 13 years ago may be just around the corner. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share “the rest of the story” within the next couple weeks; however, in the meantime would you continue to pray for myself, my family, and those involved in the decision making process.
One final thought or question I might offer is: “Do you know what it look’s like to sense the leading of the Lord?” Some may be reading today’s message thinking, “I don’t have a prophet like Samuel through whom which God communicates directly to me. So, great story; however, I have no means of relating to what you’re talking about.”
Well, my response would be “sure you do”! If you are a Christ-follower, his name is “Holy Spirit.” In multiple places throughout the New Testament, Jesus speaks of a “Counselor”. One specific scripture is John 14:16 – “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” Yes, friends through Christ and His Spirit, we have the opportunity to be led by God. Much like any relationship, it takes time with one another to develop and I’m still trying to completely understand it myself. However, I want you to know that in the same way The Lord led Saul and Samuel, as well as many other leaders in biblical times, he too will lead you if you’re open to listen. If you’d like to learn more, I might suggest the following post: Hearing Jesus’ Distinct Recognizable Voice
As always, I hope today’s message was thought provoking. I personally looking forward to what lies ahead! And, in the meantime, as the great theologian Paul Harvey would say, “Good Day!”