We have been talking about the plan of God. It is sad but there are many Christians who live their lives decade after decade hoping that what they are doing is pleasing to God.
God wants to reveal Himself to us. We have seen in previous posts that God knew us before we were even formed in our mother’s belly (Jeremiah 1:5). It is not up to us to choose what we do with our lives. God has a plan that will always be far greater than anything we could ever think of.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,.
God has a plan that is greater than anything we could plan or ask Him for. I believe that it will be interesting to look back in heaven and see all of the plans that went unfulfilled for one reason or another.
There is one question that I want to focus in on at this point in our discussion. We have seen that God has a plan that was designed for our lives before any of us were born. Is it possible for us to mess up so bad that it will be impossible to ever step into it?
It is hard to get into “what might have been”. This is one of Satan’s tactics. He will beat us up with our mistakes and missed steps if we will let him.
We are going to look at the story of Saul in 1 Samuel 13 picking up just after Saul was anointed to be king. He was just a normal guy who had been out looking for livestock that were lost. He decided to go ask the prophet Samuel for help and ended up being anointed as king!
Samuel received a word from God that the future ruler of Israel was going to show up. He was expecting Saul and had a feast prepared when he arrived.
Saul did not want to be king. God gave him multiple signs of confirmation. These were so miraculous that it was impossible to attribute coincidence to them.
And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.
1 Samuel 10:9
When the anointing came on Saul it changed his heart. Many times the plan of God will not look like something we want to do. If we submit God will change our heart and a passion for the thing to which we have been called will rise up from within.
There is a lot to learn from the life of Saul. We will skip ahead though and pick up in the second year of his reign. In 1 Samuel 13 we’ll find an account involving a Philistine invasion resulting from an earlier attack by Saul against one of their garrisons.
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. 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. 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. 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 13:5-14
The people of Israel were in hiding. They were in a crisis situation. Saul arranged to meet Samuel who would offer a sacrifice of blessing over the armies of Israel. Unfortunately Samuel was delayed.
Saul did wait for seven days. We don’t know if Samuel missed it, Saul missed it, or possibly if the delay was a test that Saul failed. The account does not tell us the “why” of Samuel’s delay but it does make it clear Saul’s reaction to it was wrong.
Saul was under pressure. His kingdom was under attack and his subjects were looking for him for an answer. He overstepped his authority and offered a burnt offering for Israel. This was something reserved for the priests alone.
Samuel showed up just after Saul presented the offering. He confronted Saul over the matter.
Samuel said, “What hast thou done?“
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.“
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.“
It is obvious from Saul’s response that he knew it was wrong for him to offer the sacrifice. He allowed the situation to move him. This revealed a character flaw that is present in many people today.
Think about Saul’s response in light of giving. It seems like most every person understands the need to give into the kingdom of God. They give when times are good but make excuses when facing financial challenges.
A person of integrity follows the plan of God even if doing so will cause them hurt. He or she will be willing to starve if needed to follow the commandments of God relating to giving.
There will always be an excuse of why we cannot obey God. The devil will always accommodate us with excuses if we are the type of person who will be moved from the plan of God by one.
Each one of us must come to a place where we are willing to drive a stake into the ground and make a stand. If we are going to accomplish the plan of God then anything else must become non negotiable!
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