Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on March 3, 2015, is written by Andy Kim who is an associate pastor at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. Andy is a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Lord, Give Me Patience . . . Now!”
1 Samuel 13:8-14
He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince[a] over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
We live in a world where patience is losing its value. Remember when the Internet was first introduced, and you could hear the sound of the AOL dial up struggling to make that connection – only to hear your mom picking up the phone and that entire precious waiting wasted in a second? Today, we complain about lagging YouTube videos or long lines. We have entered into an era of instant gratification, and sadly this mindset is plaguing our spiritual lives as well. In many cases, waiting means losing, and we must do whatever it takes to win as self-sufficient people.
However, impatience is not a recent pandemic, but one that can be found in our historical roots, in the life of King Saul. Here in this passage we see that Saul is hiding in caves with his enemies surrounding him, his fellow soldiers abandoning him, and his heart wavering at the thought of death. After waiting seven days, he focuses on the situation and takes matters into his own hands. But when Samuel returns and rebukes Saul’s disobedience, Saul makes excuses, blaming the circumstances.
It’s easy to recognize Saul’s mistake and judge him for it, but I do want to give him some credit for some of his waiting – I certainly wouldn’t have lasted that long. Technically, he did partially obey the commands, but here we see that partial obedience is not obedience. One of the greatest tactics the enemy uses is for us to partially obey and think it is enough. Charles Spurgeon writes that because of impatience, “We have missed most privileges, and have wasted many opportunities in which we might have honored God, might have been an outstanding example of Christianity, and might have greatly benefited our own souls. Affliction has been the fire which would have removed our imperfections, but impatience has robbed us of its purification. Impatience is unprofitable, dishonorable, and damaging; it has never brought us reward or any good, and never will.” In Romans 5, we see that patience builds our character and leads us to an enduring hope of glory.
In the context of Saul’s mistakes, we learn that a man after God’s own heart is one who keeps God’s commands by trusting in His faithfulness and protection, despite the circumstances. Saul’s mistake was that his impatience led to faith in himself rather than God. This does not mean we are to only wait and not put in any effort; but we are to remind ourselves that God is in control. Patience is more than about just waiting; it is an act of worship.
Take a moment and reflect on areas in your life where you find yourself lacking patience or faith in Him. Whatever or whoever the situation may be, instead of creating a world of excuses, let us repent and have a heart of surrender and worship. There is something so sweet and intimate that develops when we wait and cling onto our Savior in the midst of trials and tribulations. I pray that we all may have a heart after God’s heart.
Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to really see what it means to believe in a God of patience. Help me to be patient with others as You have been so patient with me all these years. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 54-55