November 3, 2004 • By Ed Wrather
(Updated from the 2000 Election)
As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. The he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.’ And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ - 1 Samuel 13:7b-11a.
George W. Bush and John Kerry are waiting as are the rest of the people of the United States to find out who won the presidential election. We don’t like it but still we are waiting. Most likely it would not have been so upsetting to the founding fathers of the country because 200 years ago it was not so unusual for the counting of the vote to take some time. But it is upsetting to us because we expect everything to be immediate. We vote and we want to know within a few minutes of the polls closing who won the election. We expect it. We push a button and zap the television comes on, or the radio, or the stereo, or the DVD player, or....
Waiting is not easy now and it was not easy for King Saul. In 1 Samuel we are told of how Saul got in a hurry and it cost him the Kingdom. The Philistines were gathering to attack Israel. They had “thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude (1 Samuel 13:5a).” The people of Israel were “distressed” by what they saw and were hiding “in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits (I Samuel 13:6b).” Saul was still in Gilgal and the people following him were trembling in fear. The pressure was on Saul but instead of waiting for Samuel he went ahead and presented the burnt offering. Saul had been told to wait but the pressure was on him. As a result Samuel tells Saul “But now your kingdom shall not continue (I Samuel 13:14a).”
One of the greatest promises concerning waiting on the Lord is found in Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Before we get in a hurry and lose our “kingdom” let us first wait to receive direction from our Lord. God’s timing is always precise. He is never too late or too early. Trust in His wisdom and wait for Him.