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In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Patience is a virtue, but impatience might be a national trait. Timex asked people how long they would wait before taking action; they learned that most would wait thirteen seconds before honking at a car in front of them stopped at a green light, twenty-six seconds before taking the seat of someone who has walked away, thirteen minutes for a table at a restaurant, and twenty minutes for the last person to show up for Thanksgiving dinner before beginning the meal.
In Saul’s case, impatience was more than a personality trait. It was a sin. Saul sent his son Jonathan to attack the Philistine garrison at Geba and summoned the people to assemble at Gilgal for a sacrificial ceremony. The prophet Samuel had commanded Saul to wait at Gilgal when he anointed him to be king (see 1 Sam. 10:8).
Samuel had been emphatic that Saul must wait for his arrival, but Jonathan’s foray against the Philistines provoked such a hostile response that the troops remaining with Saul began to defect (vv. 6–7). Saul waited for seven days, and still Samuel did not appear. He decided that extreme measures were necessary: he began to offer the burnt
offerings and fellowship offerings himself, unlawful since he was not a priest (see Ex. 29:36–46; Lev. 1:5, 7).
Samuel arrived before the king finished the ceremony. He greeted Saul with a blunt question: “What have you done?” Saul tried to shift the blame, saying that the scattering army and Samuel’s apparent delay forced him to make the offering (vv. 11–12). Not only did Saul’s actions display his impetuousness, they reflected an inadequate view of God. By treating the offerings like magic, Saul attempted to get God to do his bidding. But in reality, it was God’s right to command, and it was Saul who should have obeyed.
Apply the Word
We often grow impatient when God does not act according to our timetable. God is faithful to all His promises—but He is not at our beck and call. He will act in His own time and in His own way. Write a list of ways God has acted in your life in the past and spend time thanking Him for His goodness and perfect timing.
Pray with Us
We’d like to support in prayer our students on Moody’s three campuses today. On this Valentine’s Day, let’s pray that they will look to God to find true love, affirmation, and self-esteem, and know that their true identity is found in Christ.