Have you faced difficult circumstances, waiting for God to show up, and the minutes keep ticking away until the clock is ready to strike midnight? If so, you’re in good company. As someone said: it seems like God is always nearly late. Not that God is ever late. He’s always exactly on time, but many times it seems like God’s not going to show up.
Why does God wait so long?
Well, when you’re stretched – to breaking point, everyone gets to see what you’re really made of.
We see this powerfully illustrated in the life of King Saul in 1 Samuel 13. Up to this point, God’s people experienced a dizzying sin-cycle through the time of the Judges, ultimately they rejected Samuel’s authority – which was really rejecting God’s authority, and they decided to appoint a king so they could be like everyone else.
God gave the people what they wanted, not what they needed (we need to be careful what we ask for) and Saul was appointed the first king of Israel – and put to the test. The nation was facing its old adversary, the Philistines, and the Israelites were greatly outnumbered. Samuel had earlier told Saul what to do - wait seven days until Samuel came and offered the sacrifice (1 Samuel 10:8) – but the clock was ticking and the people were getting restless.
As a priest and a Levite, Samuel was qualified to perform the sacrifice (1 Chronicles 6), but Saul was not. However, people were starting to drift away in fear of the Philistines, and it looked like this battle was over before it started. Saul was stretched - to breaking point, and he showed what he was really made of. He did what everyone knew he shouldn’t do: he performed the sacrifice.
In the very next verse we read, “…[then] Samuel arrived.”
God had been waiting…, and Saul’s leadership was found wanting.
Why does it seem like God is always nearly late?
To show everyone (including you) what you’re made of.
God rejected Saul, raised up David, and reminded us of the heavenly criteria for godly leadership and spiritual success.
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart!” (1 Samuel 16).
Author and speaker.