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As an expression of that trust, Samuel has told Saul clearlyÖ to wait for him for 7 days and he would come and offer the sacrifice and officially invoke Godís blessing on them and victory would be assured. But heíd have to wait, with the Philistine army breathing down his neck, with deserters fleeing left and right and the remaining army shaking in their boots.
Every day that passes, every hour, another deserter, and the chances of victory are growing slimmer and slimmer. Saul waited impatiently for 7 days and finally he took charge and said,
ďthatís it, Samuelís not coming, bring me the burnt offerings and letís get on with it already! If we need a priest, here Iíll play Samuel, letís, offer up the sacrifices, sing a few songs, pass an offering plate, sing 5 verses of ďJust As I Am,Ē close in prayer Ė then can we go already?! Iím losing men by the second, come on, come on! Letís go! Timeís a wasting here, folks, if we need holy water sprinkled on us before we go to battle, here, give me the Evian bottleÖ letís GO!!!!!
See a problem right here? A little impatience perhaps? Yes, but the most important thing is what the impatience is pointing to in Saulís heart. Thatís made clear in the next part of the story.
Just as Saul was finishing the burnt offerings, Samuel shows up. He smells cooked lamb and heís a little suspicious. Saul comes trotting out to meet him and bless him and Samuel says,
What on earth are you doing?
And you can just imagine this look on Saulís face: I am so busted! And so Saul stammers out his excuses:
When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadnít come when you said you would (he came on the 7th day like he said), and with the Philistines were poised to come down on me here, and I havenít yet come before God asking for his helpÖ well, I just took matters into my own hands, I guess.Ē
Many things are revealed in these excuses that relate to our own justifications for impatience:
- first we justify impatience for the sake of prudence. ďI was losing my army after all, I just did what any sane person would do.Ē When you think about our own impatience, friends, how many times is it not justified under the same grounds: I was just being prudent. Godís timing isnít very reasonable. SoÖ
o I get that ill-advised loan because we have all these ďneedsĒ that just HAVE to be purchased.
o I quit my job and hamstring my familyís finances because itís not reasonable to endure my boss for any length of time.
o I rush into marriage with this person I donít know really well because Iím lonely and waiting isnít reasonable.
- then, thereís a second set of excuses for impatience that sound even better than prudence, and thatís piety. Saul says, ďI canít go to war before Iíve said my prayers! That would be wrong!Ē Just like that, some of our impatience is excused on spiritual grounds:
o I know God wants to bless me with this or that, so Iím just going to go out and get itÖ I know thatís what God would want
o I need guidance from God in this area, and so Iím just going to lean on my horoscope or consult this mystic, because I need an answer right now, and I know thatís what God would want.
o I have a vision from God to do great things, and Godís not
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