I am reviewing the story of Saul (from a geographical perspective) for one of my classes and am reminded of what disqualified Saul from being the chosen shepherd of Israel: he only wanted God because of what God could give him. He was told to wait seven days for Samuel to sacrifice to God before going into battle so God would give him victory. Samuel was running late on the seventh day and Saul lost all faith that both Samuel and God would come through. Saul took it upon himself to make the sacrifice that God might give him victory. Instead of waiting upon God, trusting God’s love and faithfulness and his good will for Saul as shepherd over God’s people, Saul did what he thought was best and tried to manipulate God into giving him what he wanted – victory.
Saul did not love God; he did not desire relationship. Saul wanted Santa Clause. He wanted a God who would do what he wanted and give him what he thought was best. When God didn’t move quick enough for this impatient man, he took it upon himself to go about the promised victory his own way.
Sound familiar? It does to me. How often I forget to give time and effort into my relationship with God until I want or need something from him. And when I’m looking to him for something I want or need, I’m already self-focused and self-driven instead of God-focused and God-driven.
Saul approached God in a spirit of “give me” when God wanted a spirit of “I trust you. I love you. I need you most.” And Saul was rejected for a lowly shepherd boy who lavished God with love songs, who was outrageously brazen and fearless with trust in God, and who sacrificed much to let God do things according to his plan.
That same shepherd boy named David spoke out of his experience in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
When we put God – relationship with God, love of God, delight in his Word and presence – first, we begin to understand that God is Faithful and True. We begin to understand that his goodness and wisdom far surpasses our own. In his hands, we find abundance. We don’t need to manipulate God into giving us what we think we want or need because we trust him to know what we want and need before we know it ourselves – and that he has already been at work to provide before the want/need arises.
As I think over this story from 1 Samuel 13, I am reminded that in intimate relationship with God lies every answer, every need, every want. Are you chasing God because he is worthy of your love and he is good and faithful, never letting you down? Or are seeking God only when you find need, giving him your lists like children mailing letters to Santa Claus?
I want to be a David not a Saul. Which will you choose to be?