Read 1 Samuel 13:1-14. The first king of Israel, King Saul, is a very bad example of how we should live. He started out as a very good king but went sharply downhill soon after. Why? He didn’t value obedience.
In this 1 Samuel 13 example, we see him rushing ahead to offer a sacrifice, although he was not authorised to do it. He got strict instructions to wait on Samuel who was a priest but he got impatient when he saw that his army was losing hope. He thought he could do his own thing and still get God’s approval and endorsement. We see a lot of that today. We decide where we are going, whom we are going with and what we are going to do there. All without hearing a word of instruction from God. We must understand however that God does not endorse or approve things He did not institute. Doubt is impatient but faith is patient.
What Saul did was faithless even though it was done unto God. What he did was disobedient and displeasing to God. Anything that does not please God is not faith because faith pleases God. Faith is an obedient response to God and not to the pressure of circumstances or people. Jesus waited three days after Lazarus was dead. Imagine the whispers when he did not make haste to get there. Jesus understood that He must respond to God and not to the pressures of men. If Jesus had disobeyed God and went before, Lazarus would not be raised from the dead because God does not honour disobedience.
Peter was wrong to draw his sword and take off the ear of the soldier although he did it with all sincerity to defend Jesus. Why? Because he failed to know and understand the will of God. It was God’s will for Jesus to be taken and crucified but Peter missed it. We all confess that there is a great deal of work, a great deal of preaching and teaching and visiting, a great deal of machinery, a great deal of earnest effort of every kind; but there are not many manifestations of the power of God in it. Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray, Pg 115.
The story is told of a Chinese Christian who recently visited the United States and toured Churches there. At the end of the trip, he was asked what he thought about American spirituality. He answered, “I am amazed at how much the Church in America can accomplish without the Holy Spirit.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus help me to be obedient rather than merely giving sacrifice and to do Your will and not man's BIG ideas.