Every one of us have faced times when we had to choose whether we were willing to wait for our Father to act, or (due to our impatience) we decided to take matters into our own hands. Bad move, my friend. Abraham did it, and do you know what happened? He ended up Ishmael, who became “. . . a wild donkey of a man; his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and lived in hostility toward ” all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).
King Saul faced the same “Valley of Decision.” You find that story in I Samuel 13. When you begin to read this chapter, you see the ominous clouds of war gathering over Israel. The Philistines had amassed a huge army with the latest weapons. By contrast, the Israelites had only two swords in their entire army — one for Saul and one for his son, Jonathan. Obviously, they were not a very formidable army. Everyone else had to use makeshift weapons, like wooden spears or crude farm tools.
Just a week before this, Samuel the prophet had warned Saul to wait for him at Gilgal before going into battle. Samuel told Saul that he would arrive after seven days to make the proper sacrifices to the Lord. I want you to notice that Samuel gave Saul the exact time he would arrive. Many times when we are waiting for the Lord to answer us, we are rarely given the exact day it will be fulfilled. “Rarely?” Okay, seldom (if ever). That’s where our faith comes in.
But with Saul, when the seventh day came and Samuel hadn’t arrived . . . well, Saul’s soldiers began to scatter. That’s not good. Worse, Saul had no directions from the Lord how to fight the battle. Not a good situation. But still, Samuel said, “Seven days,” and it was day seven . . . what now?
What was Saul supposed to do? Did he stand firm, declaring, “I don’t care if it takes Samuel eight days to arrive, I’m going to stand on God’s Word to me! Live or die, I will obey his command”? Ooh, wouldn’t that have been cool? But no — Saul panicked. He allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his circumstances. He decided to manipulate his way around God’s Word. He ordered the priest who was present to make the sacrifices without Samuel. He figured, “Well Sam didn’t make it, and we should honor the Lord . . . so this will do.” The problem is, once he made that decision, he committed a BIG sin against the Lord (see I Samuel 13:11–12).
I assure you that when you are faced with this type of situation— or a situation like Abraham’s, where you have a promise from the Lord that seems to be taking too long . . . don’t try to “figure it out,” or “rationalize” your way around the Word of God. It is what it is . . . and He is never late.
In Saul’s case, the Lord knew each step Samuel was taking on his way to Gilgal. Think of Samuel being set on a “Heavenly navigation system,” that was pinpointing his arrival to the very second. Samuel would be there by day seven, even if it was one minute before midnight!
No, we don’t like to hear things like that, but our Father hasn’t changed throughout the ages. He is still concerned with whether his people obey . . . or go their own way: “Obey the voice of the Lord, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord” (I Samuel 12:15, paraphrased). You see, it doesn’t matter if your life is spinning out of control — you are to walk with complete confidence in the Lord. Even if things look hopeless, do not act in fear. Instead, wait patiently for Him to deliver you, as His Word promises.
Now, before I go too far, allow me to clarify one thing. I am presuming you have received definitive directions from the Lord. If you are unsure of His directions, then during your time of waiting, discussed the situation with Him. Know, without hesitation or confusion, what He has directed you to do . . . then stand. “Having done all the crisis demands—stand!” (Ephesians 6:13). Just like in Saul’s case, the Lord stood right beside him as the massive Philistine army pressed in. Yahweh was fully aware of the crisis Saul was in and his eye was on every detail.
In your situation, your Father sees every detail of your crisis. He sees all the “realities of life” pressing in on you. He is fully aware our situation is getting worse every day. He is not shocked or surprised—He is aware of every detail—and he is on your side. To quote my favorite line from the movie “The Blind Side,” He’s got your back!
If you will take some time to commune and fellowship with your Father, and wait on with calm faith, you will never be in any real danger. Not only that, He knows all about your panicky thoughts: “I don’t see how I can ever repay this debt . . . I don’t have any hope for my marriage . . . I don’t know how I can keep my job . . . I don’t know what the Dr. will say . . . I am worried about this procedure . . .” Let those worries go. His instructions to you still hold true: “Don’t panic or get ahead of me. You are to do nothing but pray—and rely on me. I honor everyone who puts his trust in me.”
I encourage you the meditate on these words I put together specifically for you:
“Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).
“You who fear him, trust in the LORD—He is your help and shield” (Psalm 115:11).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Be at peace, my friends, and know that our Lord “has your back!”
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