Worth Waiting

Recently I read through the book of 1 Samuel and it once again captured my attention. One of the things that stood out to me was God’s responses.

Hannah’s story in chapter 1 seems to set the course for the whole book. In chapter 1 she’s pouring out her heart to God, asking Him for a child and God heard her and gave her Samuel. But not all of God’s responses are what the people wanted to hear…

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations." But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them." 1 Samuel 8:4-9 NASB

Over and over in 1 Samuel we see God hearing and responding to His people—collectively like this passage and individually as we see David repeatedly inquiring of God and receiving answers. God has not changed and in thousands of years between God speaking to Samuel here and us. He still hears His people and He still answers. The Creator of the universe, the One True God who is Holy and just hears us when we pray. Too often I think we forget this or think that He doesn’t hear us because we don’t get an immediate sense that He’s answered. Sometimes we act like spoiled children and demand what we want, what we think best, and sometimes God gives us exactly what we want, knowing it wasn’t His best. It seems that’s what is happening here.

Were they wrong in asking for a king? I don’t think so, because way back in the days of Moses God talked about when they would have a king (Deut. 17:14-20) and even before that, Abraham was promised that kings would be his descendants, but I DO think their motivation for wanting one wasn’t what it should’ve been. Israel was asking for a king to lead them out in battle, like all the nations around them had (1 Samuel 8:19-20). Status quo and security mashed together and led them down a path too early and for the wrong reason. Unbeknownst to Israel the king God had in mind was in training, but they couldn’t wait. They wanted what they wanted and they wanted it right then. So God allowed them to have exactly what they wanted. Saul. A man who looked like a fine king but who didn’t live up to his potential. Throughout the book of 1 Samuel we see that what Israel got wasn’t what they planned on—someone to lead them against their enemies—but it was exactly what Samuel warned them about.

This has me wondering. What have I been asking God for? What’s the motivation behind my asking? Status quo? Security? Greed? Comfort? Maybe there’s nothing wrong with what I’ve been asking for, but maybe it’s not the right time for it. Have I been impatient, refusing to wait and repeatedly asking (pestering!) for something?

My granddaughter was here a little while ago and really wanted an apple off the tree in our yard. She remembered eating them last year and was excited about them again. When she asked me for one I told her no because they weren’t ready yet. After asking a couple more times and getting the same answer she found an apple in her reach when I was inside the house. I came out just in time to see her face when she bit into the apple. Instead of the expected sweetness it was sour and inedible. Yikes! What a reminder.

God hears us when we pray and ask for things and sometimes His answer is Wait. Waiting isn’t fun, but it’s better in the long run.

Father God, please shape and mold my desires so they align with Yours. Help me patiently wait for the things You have planned. You know best and I want Your best because it's so much better than anything I could ever dream up. Thank You for hearing me and caring enough to say No or Wait when it's needed.

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