It is easy to forget what God tells us to do when what seems to work is abundantly clear. Saul saw what needed to be done and did it… no matter that God had specifically told him what He wanted done. The cost was forfeiting a greater blessing and use in the hands of God! Today we will discover once again the importance of believing and obeying God. There are career choices that can change life for better or worse. There are academic pursuits that are appealing but the sacrifice of time may be the price to pay. Perhaps the most frustrating dilemma of all is the desire to make something happen now, when God seems to be saying wait.
Key Principle: One of the greatest tests we face in life is the temptation to make things happen according to our desire and schedule.
Four Truths about stepping out without God’s enabling (13:1-7):
1) IMPOSED: Sometimes we are moved by a false deadline: Saul was new to his role and had little experience (13:1). Yet, Saul had experienced God’s move in his heart enabling him to be victorious (11:6 and 11:13); and was warned that when he ascended to the throne to wait on the Lord (12:14; 12:21). This time he was NOT moved, but felt he needed to act.
2) COMPLEX: Without God’s direction, we are self-called saviors: Saul received no prompting by God, but he wanted to fix a problem on his own timing with his own ability. Note: chose “for himself” three thousand. (13:2).
3) LONELY: Because we do it on our own, we must be self-enabled and self powered: He stepped out and executed a plan without a hint of consulting the Lord on the problem (13:3).
4) SHARED: We aren’t the only ones that deal with our rashness, and it is unfair: His actions forced everyone around him into a bind of dealing with the implications of his rashness. 1) They were forced to follow him because of the situation! We open the door to the enemy’s work in the lives of all of those around us: The enemy responded with great force (13:5). 2) We force others off their obedience strides to the Lord! The people became oppressed (nawgas: used of taskmasters in Egypt) when the Philistines responded, and they fled their homes and fields. Though called of God to occupy the land, they left what God told them. 3) We push some from where they were and others from a place of peace inside (13:4-7).
NEXT – Stepping out without a call leads to a trail of “touchstones of disobedience” (13:8-12):
1) We grow more impatient with the response of God and His Word, thinking we must become more proactive (13:8a).
2) We start looking at the mounting problems and decide God will not act if we don’t (13:8b).
3) We do God’s will our way, an outward show of religious faith without an inner peace that we are truly seeking Him (13:9).
4) Because of God’s grace, He sends truth to remind us of the hollow emptiness inside (13:10).
5) We make plausible excuses for our disobedience:
- False Need Excuse: Things were falling apart and someone had to act, so I did! (13:11a).
- God’s Obliviousness Excuse: God (or those whom He was working through) wasn’t getting it together fast enough, so I had to push things along (13:11b).
- Exterior Pressures Excuse: The dangers had increased and it looked as though we were stuck without God’s protection in the situation (13:11b-12a).
- “Best I could do” Excuse: I needed the Lord’s blessing on my plan, so I asked Him to work after I made the situation what it needed to be! (13:12b).
Five REFLECTIVE WARNINGS concerning our stepping out (13:13-14):
1) It is foolish (i.e. self reliant and without God – 13:13a).
2) It is disobedient to the commands of the Lord that you were fully aware of (13:13b).
3) It costs you some of the key future blessings He designed for you (13:13b-14a).
4) It saddens and disappoint God, Who wants someone who is faithful to rely on the relationship with Him (13:14b).
5) It pulls blessing from us to another, who will fall on their relationship with Him (13:14b).
One of the greatest tests we face in life is the temptation to make things happen according to our desire and schedule. When we do, we cast aside leaning on the Lord for direction and enabling.