The Reading: 1 Samuel 13:8-15
“He waited seven days … but …” (v. 8) RSV
King Saul’s patience ran out at the last moment. He had been told by Samuel to wait seven days until he would return and perform the sacrifice. But Saul panicked when his troops started to be restless and to desert. He felt he could wait no longer but must take matters into his own hands. On the seventh day he performed sacrifice himself.
This was breaking the law of God. He was king in charge of the temporal affairs of his kingdom, but Samuel was the prophet and in charge of the spiritual affairs of the nation. The king must not interfere with the religion of his people.
Samuel (who represented God) was horrified: “What have you done?” (v. 11). Such impatience and inability to wait on God’s timing showed that Saul was not worthy to be king. If he had waited he would have become strong, but he blew it. Samuel told him, “But now your kingdom shall not continue;” (v.14).
Patience helps us grow up and grow strong. Only the immature want the ‘waiting taken out of wanting’. Children wantChristmas ‘now’, but life is not like that.
The only way that a narrow boat can continue up the full length of a canal is by passing through locks. Each lock causes the forward progress of the boat to cease; yet the change of water level while it is in the lock is vital if the boat is to move forward again. Our times of no progress and frustration are not wasted if we accept them with patience.
God wants us to trust him. If he says he will do something, then even if he appears to be delayed, we must not try to solve the problem for him. St Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow about his promise … but the day of the Lord will come …” (2 Pet. 3:9-10).
Help me, O Lord, to wait on your timing, for my times are in your hands. Amen.
1 What other disobedience did Saul commit?
1 Samuel 15:1-21
2 Who else couldn’t wait?