Friday, August 21, 2015
THE ERROR IN THE EXPEDIENT
“And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you.” (I Samuel 13:13a)
The tyranny of the urgent--it never stops screaming at you--something has to be done. "Do something--even if it's wrong!" the voice demands. Inaction when God has spoken is sin. The choice may be hard, the cost may be great, but delayed obedience is disobedience. The expedient is another matter altogether. The expedient may be defined this way: "conducive to advantage or interest, as opposed to right." (dictionary.com) It is the age-old cliche, "The end justifies the means." Saul found out the error in the expedient.
The thirteenth chapter of 1 Samuel describes an urgent situation. Saul's son, Jonathan has stirred up a hornet's nest--attacking a Philistine garrison. Now, the Philistines mobilize an overwhelming force to fight the Israelis. Most of the Jews ran for the hills like scared rabbits. Saul rallied his small contingent, but even they were fearful. To his credit, King Saul understood that with God on their side, victory was assured. Samuel the prophet will come and offer sacrifice, invoking the blessing of God on the battle. For a week they delay--and still Samuel has not come. Meanwhile, their peril grew by the minute.
Something had to be done. The army of Israel was suffering desertion--as the troops were demoralized by what seemed imminent defeat. Saul caves to the expedient, and assumes an authority not granted him. He assumes the position of a priest, and acts in haste, offering a sacrifice himself.
He had no more finished, than Samuel showed up. God is never late--and never early--He is an on-time God! When we don't align our activity with His will, we get in trouble. Repeatedly, the Word of God exhorts, "Wait on the Lord." Saul did not, and his reign would be cut short accordingly. God would raise up another who would wait--would listen and submit--"a man after H is own heart." It seemed like such a small act of disobedience when there was such a lofty end in view. What it revealed was pride and unbelief--deadly sins.
The error in the expedient for the child of God reveals these terrible twins that are birthed in time of crisis. We are proud--thinking we must do something--that God needs our help. We are unbelieving--doubting that God will come through--that He cannot be trusted. When God says go, don't say, "Whoa!" When He says, "Whoa!" you better not go--no matter the circumstances, the counsel from others, the internal pressure--or you, like Saul, may lose your crown!