In the past several years under extraordinary duress, I made a financial decision that I thought would help me to escape that duress. It led to other decisions and other decisions and even today, I pay that price. Litearlly. Having prayed for several years and not seeing deliverance, I thought I needed to work my own deliverance. The regret has been strong. I should have waited on the Lord’s direction.
Perhaps this is why this Scripture is so hard to hear. Hard to bear.
Saul was a newer king and he gathered troops. He gave 2/3’s for his control and 1/3 for his son. With this, his son went and attacked their enemies and oppressors–the Philistines. Now when the Philistines gathered to gather against Israel, they were “as numerous as the sand on the seashore” (1 Sam 13:5).
The high priest Samuel was supposed to meet Saul and offer the sacrifice to get God’s favor prior to entering into battle. But Samuel was late in coming. Saul was under extreme pressure as the Philistine army built up so much that his own army began to desert him en masse. Literally only down to 600 against the tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of Philistines.
When Samuel didn’t show, Saul decided to offer the sacrifice himself, something only a priest was to do. So he gathered together and made the burn offering and fellowship offering to get God’s favor and direction for the battle.
When Samuel finally did show up, he couldn’t believe what Saul had done.
“Saul answered, “When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didin’t come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, I thought: The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven’t sought the LORD’s favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering” (1 Sam 13:11-12).
Samuel told him that he was foolish, and had he only waited, God would have established his reign. But because he had not followed the Lord, his reign would not endure through the generations but would be cut off.
That’s a hard one to read honestly. Under great duress and when his army was deserting, the enemies were growing, and Samuel wasn’t showing, he made a bad decision.
Who we are and become under great pressure shows what is really in our heart. Do we trust God with our lives? I didn’t several years ago, and I’ve paid for it many times over financially. I’ve repented, again. I just hope I have more of a result like Abraham and not Saul.
Here’s a great video of someone who modeled getting the word of the Lord for a difficult situation and then acting upon it.