Impatience can hinder our sanctification
|Patience. (Pixabay, Public Domain)|
"He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” (21 Samuel 13:8-11a)
Saul broke the Law. He disobeyed God, because prophets were God's spokesmen. As God said to Samuel earlier when the People wanted a King and not Samuel as Judge, "And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king." (1 Samuel 8:7)
When you reject the LORD's Prophet, you reject the LORD. (When you reject Jesus, you reject God- John 14:6)
In chapter 11 Saul is empowered by the Spirit. By chapter 13, Saul is acting in his own eyes, fearful and impatient. If patience is a mark of the Spirit's fruit, then the opposite, impatience, would be a mark of the devil's fruit. Saul began triumphantly, empowered by the spirit, faithful, obedient, and victorious. He ended faithless, afraid, and seeking wisdom from witches. (1 Samuel 28:7).
It is not wise to take a situation from the Old Testament and directly apply it to today, because there's context, different covenants exist, and there are nuances that are not directly applicable. In this case, the Holy Spirit in the OT came upon men for periods of time, to perform certain purposes, (Exodus 31:3) or He came and stayed as long as people were faithful but withdrew if the faith waned or sin wasn't addressed. (Psalm 51:11). Though Saul was briefly empowered by the Spirit (1 Samuel 11:6), in the OT, the Spirit could and did leave people, as He left Saul. In the NT under the present covenant, He remains in us, He cannot be taken away. We won't lose our salvation.
However there are principles we can extract from Saul's impatience, First, as Galatians says, patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a mark of maturity. We can see Saul's impatience led him not only to break God's law but to be immature when called to account. When Samuel asked, "What have you done?" Saul was full of excuses--
And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you..." (1 Samuel 13:11-13a)
|Public Domain, Pixabay.|
In other words, "But, but, but..." Saul was king, but he did not take it like a man. Compare to King David. After David sinned, Prophet Nathan rebuked King David. David immediately said,
"David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”" (2 Samuel 12:13)
Our patience must be practiced daily. It not only is a fruit of the Spirit, it keeps us in His will. It keeps us wise to see. Detecting false doctrine growing on the tree takes patience. (Matthew 7:16). If we pluck the fruit of the tree before it is ripe we are doing a disservice to ourselves, impugning the reputation of the alleged false teacher, and most of all blaspheme the Spirit, Who's ripening the fruit. Who are we to be impatient?
Impatience is a mark of immaturity, and we would tend to make rash decisions and have a poor witness, as Saul went on to do two more times. And a poor witness puts a stumbling block before the weak ones.
The bible speaks to patience and impatience quite a bit.
Paul prayed the Colossians would have patience, which comes from strength. We need strength to be patient:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (Colossians 1:11)
Love itself is patient!
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Patience brings endurance, and endurance brings you to the end.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit (Ecclesiastes 7:8)
Patience helps us finish well. Saul was impatient. He did not endure. He did not finish well.
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:8)