Read 1 Samuel Chapter 13
1Sa 13:7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’S favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 13 “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.
In today’s world, it’s always a good idea to have a “Plan B.” Quite often the best plans of man do not work out, and when that happens it’s good to have an alternate plan to fall back on. That’s very different from the spiritual world. When God has a plan, there is no plan B. In this passage, Samuel had told King Saul to go to Gilgal and wait for him. The plans (actually God’s plans) were for Samuel to come to Gilgal and prepare a sacrificial offering to the Lord prior to going into battle. When Samuel delayed his coming, Saul, in his impatience, turned to plan B. He offered the sacrifice himself. It didn’t work out so well.
In our lives, we too are tempted to resort to plan B. Our Savior has laid out His plans for us and our lives. His word is filled with the instructions listed in His plan A. But we often don’t like plan A and in our impatience we search for another way. Let’s look at an example.
We’ve had an extremely stressful week. It’s now Friday night, and we are distressed, lonely, tired, and we long for some relief. We look around the room, and there sits our computer. Not too far away, in another corner, is our bible. What is God’s plan A? Part of His plan is for us to open His word, start praying and reading. His plan also calls for us to reach out to a trusted Christian friend (assuming that we have one) and pour out our hearts to him or her. God’s plan is for us to continue to stick with this plan until such time as His Spirit brings an adequate measure of comfort into our hearts.
Now, one has to give some credit to Saul, in that he did wait a while, willing to try God’s plan for a time; actually, seven days. Even though he tired of waiting, he did wait for a long time. Unfortunately, many of us don’t even give plan A a moment’s thought. We quite often immediately head off to plan B and open that computer, or worse. The bible remains closed and our trusted friend isn’t called. Even when we reach for the bible, how long do we stay with it? Maybe five minutes? Ten minutes? What if we read and prayed for six hours? Saul waited seven days, willing to suffer for a very long time before reverting to plan B.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God doesn’t have a plan B. We have one though, and I would ask you, “Has it ever turned out well?” Speaking personally, plan B has never ever worked out well in my life, and I have tried it many times in the course of my 73 years. Plan B has always resulted in disaster, disappointment, and/or regret. That will always be the case. Always! On the other hand, plan A always works. The reason we don’t know that is because of our impatience, our society-spoiled nature, and our lack of faith.
It’s time for us to determine that we never again resort to plan B, even if plan A takes longer than the seven days Saul waited. We will never know that His plan works until we throw away our plan B forever. As long as we have our plan in the back of our minds, fully willing to turn to it if God doesn’t come through right away, we are not likely to stick with God’s plan long enough for it to work. It is entirely possible (I’m not sure about this, just thinking) that God may not allow His plan to work until such time as we are thoroughly disgusted with plan B and refuse to turn to it even if God never provides the relief we think we need.
Prayer: Lord, we are even more stubborn and unfaithful than Saul. Mercy, what a horrible truth! Help us Lord! We’re tired of being impatient and messing up. We are weak and spoiled. Forgive us.