When to Wait, When to Act

Saul missed the what-God-wants of his life and generation by failing to wait. While we remember his failure for full obedience with regard to Agag and the Amelekites, Saul’s failure to wait for Samuel reset his whole life and leadership long before this more obvious failure occurred.

Saul’s heart was revealed by his failure to wait. Saul’s heart was further revealed when he failed to act. By the time he got to God’s heart about the Amelekites, Saul’s heart held no secrets. In the end, we see his heart included the witchcraft rebellion of which Samuel spoke.

Saul has a heart problem, so Samuel says, God will now choose someone else to lead His people, a man who has God’s heart.

King Saul failed to wait when God waited and failed to act when God acted. He didn’t have God’s heart. When leaders fail to have God’s heart, they fail to represent God, and people begin to respond to without God’s heart. Good leaders so represent God’s heart that everyone who follows them responds to God’s heart.

Saul also missed it by failing to act. In each case, his failure revealed a fatal flaw in his heart. He remained a leader for decades but he never fulfilled his purpose, and we know this because he didn’t have a son to sit on his throne. Saul’s ultimate failure was his failure to properly father, and that failure cost everyone, not just Saul.

Part of the dismal failure of Saul is traceable back to the people of Israel who demanded a king “like the nations around them.” Not just a king, but a king that functioned like the heathen! Saul seems to be such a king, and the failures of Saul seemed to further explain this predicament – God gives us the leadership we deserve.

In this story, Saul fails to wait for God’s appointed time with Samuel and fails to act in God’s appointed time to bring deliverance through Jonathan.

In each case, it is the people who characterize his responses more than God or his leadership assignment. Saul is the people’s choice and chooses the people over God.

The people become impatient and wander off so Saul responds to their impatience and acts rashly. The people hide in fear and Saul responds by hiding in Migron – which means “fear, on the edge, precipice.”

Saul is the ultimate political spirit leader, and his leadership reinforces the prevailing conditions rather than confronting those conditions with God’s leadership. Still, in these circumstances, God does mighty things.

Saul ends up with only 600 men and surrounds himself with them. Jonathan is left with only one person who can help him carry around his armor, but he attacks with the revelation Saul failed to wait for. A great victory begins with one man and his servant. Before the day is over, Jonathan has rallied the whole army, and those who turned traitor with the enemy came back to Israel. Before the battle is over, the thousands who wandered away are fighting the enemy.

About the time you think you have an army, God will prune it down to those who are ready to fight.

About the time you think God won’t keep His appointment and speak strategy, He will speak.

About the time you think you lack necessary weapons, people, and money to wage war, God will use what you have and give you what was stolen from you.

About the time you think you need more people before you obey God, you will discover that what you need is a releasing word that reveals a strategic point of attack that will release the fear that binds God’s people into the enemy they are afraid of.

When the enemy army are confronted, the fear that holds God’s people becomes the weapon that confuses the enemy. Fear to wait. Fear to act. Fear confuses your heart first, then your mind, then your behavior. Fear has a smell that everyone around you can smell.

Jonathan attacked the raiding party. This was the strategy of Philistia to terrorize the Israelis into fear. So, Jonathan attacked the source of fear in order to release it back upon the enemy. That’s strategy! God reveals the enemy and his strategy, then He reveals His strategy to defeat the spiritual condition, the heart condition, that defeats His people. When God people act like God’s people, they always win!

Saul fed the fear, was a product of the people’s response. This is not kingdom leadership. The problem is clearly both Saul and the people, for neither has God’s heart. God’s method of getting His heart into His people is called “leadership.” Saul failed in producing God’s leadership, but David succeeded.

The battle for the heart of the kingdom is fought in the hearts of its leaders.

4 thoughts on “When to Wait, When to Act

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