Precipice of Premature Action

1 Samuel 28:17 “The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David.”

Observation: The reign of Saul would tomorrow come to an end. In taking refuge from Saul by living among Philistines, David was in turn obligated to war against Saul along with his Philistine protectors. Under pressure from his generals, though, the Philistine king told David to return home; David would not be part of the conquering army after all. It seems God wanted both David and Saul to understand that it would be God Himself who would tear the kingdom from Saul. 1 Samuel 28:18 emphasizes the point, “As you [Saul] did not obey the Lord … so the Lord has done this to you today.”

Application: David would indeed become king; of this Saul was now certain. Saul also knew that within twenty-four hours he and his sons would be dead, and that it would be God’s doing, not David’s. God would use the Philistine army to carry out His purposes.

David had made a number of mistakes leading to this moment, and there would be others in the future. At times He had been filled with faith, fresh from gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. He had been sensitive to error in even symbolically striking against Saul in the cave when he dared to cut off a piece of Saul’s robe. Now, though, David was willing to be part of a Philistine expedition against Saul, the purpose of which was to kill the Israelite king. God’s intervention, by causing the Philistine generals to doubt David’s commitment to their cause, kept David from personal responsibility for Saul’s destruction.

Notice how strong is the human tendency to take matters into our own hands. Knowing God’s plan is never the same thing as knowing His timing or His methods. When David found himself at the point of taking action to bring about what he understood to be God’s plan for his life, God intervened to stay David’s hand. The ultimate result would be God’s purposes accomplished God’s way, and in God’s timing.

I am reminded again how little I know my own heart. I may think I do, but there is always a tendency toward self-exaltation, a determination to “make happen” that which is God’s alone to do. Pulled back repeatedly from the precipice of premature action, the results, once they occur, can then be ascribed only to God. He likes that. In His sovereignty, He will brook no shared glory.

Prayer: Lord, I repent of the tendency to get out ahead of You. Forgive me, Lord, for letting my soulish understanding thwart Your best for my life, and for those around me. Cause my heart to become satisfied in the knowledge that You will accomplish Your purposes in Your own way, and in Your own timing. I love You, Lord.


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