“… Thou camest not within the days appointed” (1 Samuel 13:11)
God often appears late. We look at our watch; we pace back and forth, but God is a “no show.” What are we going to do? Thoughts race through our mind. Maybe He is not going to come at all. Maybe we should just do something ourselves.
King Saul had a similar experience. The Philistine army of “thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude” surrounded his band of two thousand men at Michmash. Saul needed the God of Israel to be involved before facing such a huge challenge. But to be assured of that he had to wait for Samuel to arrive and offer sacrifice. At the end of seven days, Samuel was supposed to come, but he didn’t. Saul’s dispirited men began to scatter. The distressed king became weary of waiting and felt pressed that he needed to do something. So, he went ahead and decided to sacrifice on his own. But as is so often the case: “And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came …” (1 Sam. 13:10)
God tests our hearts when He does not come “within the days appointed.” Will we trust Him or will we be moved by fear? Will we become weary in well doing or will we let Him renew our strength while we wait on Him? Will we maintain a meek and quiet spirit or will we be pressed to do something in our own mind and strength? Saul claimed that he was “forced” to do something under the circumstances. (1 Sam. 13:12) Samuel did not buy that. He said, “You have done foolishly. Your kingdom will not continue. You are not the man after God’s heart that He is looking for.”
If we would be a man or woman after the heart of God we cannot allow the pressure of circumstances and even what appears to be God’s lack of response to dictate our actions. We must let Him calm and comfort our hearts at all times, and wait for His arrival. He will come at the very right time. Don’t jump the gun!