Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
Did you know that we have a part to play in the fulfillment of God’s plan for our lives. We have spend some time looking discussing this in our series titled “Little Thinkers And A Big God”. In this post we are going to continue on with our study and look at a few more ways that our thinking can limit God the way Israel limited Him.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
As we pursue God and He begins to reveal His plan we must obey His promptings. He will usually only show us one or two steps at a time. He will be limited from leading us further if we do not obey and take those steps.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us. He will guide us through steps designed to lead us into the plan of God. There has not been a single Christian who has been able to move immediately into the full plan of God in one step.
We all have to progress through steps and stages of spiritual growth in our pursuit of the God’s plan. This is for our benefit. The Holy Spirit will not reveal the whole plan because that would make us accountable for it. He knows that if we are unable to obey in the early steps there is no possibility we will in the fullness of the plan. In a sense we can look at each step and stage as a test. A passing grade opens the door for us to move onto the next step.
The steps we move through are revealed as we are able to move into them. This is God’s mercy in one sense. In each step we will be proved and equipped for the next. God leads us this way because He wants us to succeed and knows what it will take for each of us to do so.
I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
God had given the land to Israel. He allowed their enemies to remain in portions to preserve the land. This allowed Israel time to grow and mature as a nation before occupying all of the promised land.
There will be a lot of steps in our journey into God’s plan. If we do not do what He directs us to do along the way, it will stop Him from leading us further.
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land…
There are two parts to eating “the good of the land”. They are willingness and obedience. We can be willing to do what God has asked us to do but still not obey. This will disqualify us from inheriting the promise.
Please understand that outside of Christ none of us are worthy to receive anything from God. We have been made worthy by the blood of Jesus but this does not discount the need to be “willing” and “obedient” to His Word.
Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven.
1 Samuel 15:1-5
Saul was in his third year as king of Israel. His son Jonathan had taken one thousand men and “smitten a garrison of this Philistines”. In turn the Philistines invaded Israel with an army greatly outnumbering Saul’s armies.
When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
1 Samuel 13:6-7
The people were terrified. The prophet Samuel had anointed Saul as king and had been mentoring him. They arranged to meet in Gilgal but Samuel did not arrive on time.
And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
1 Samuel 13:8
Saul was under pressure. The people were terrified and looking to him for answers. He was king and needed to do something. Samuel did not show up when he was scheduled and we can only begin to imagine the pressure that this put on Saul.
Samuel had told Saul to wait seven days in Gilgal but did not show up. Following the plan of God does not mean life will always be easy. We cannot say what we would do in Saul’s shoes but he chose to act and ended up in disobedience.
And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.
1 Samuel 13:9-14
Saul should have waited but instead offered up a sacrifice. He stepped into the role of prophet with being directed to by God. This one act of disobedience cost him and his family the kingdom!
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