The Divine Delay

Jon Burgess


“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 Mikmash, 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.”” ‭‭

1 Samuel‬ ‭13:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬


The whole point of the sacrifice is that it flows out of obedience. It's a visceral messy reminder as the life blood flows from the animal offered that we are not in control. It's a shout to the heavens that my life is completely dependent upon God. Thus, not just anyone could perform the sacrifice, it had to be Samuel, who was both priest and prophet. Samuel didn't show up when he said he would. King Saul's troops were scattering. The Philistines were gathering. The logical thing to do since God didn't show up was to do the sacrifice himself. The moment Saul took matters into his own hands was the moment the kingdom was taken from his. God uses the Divine Delay to check our hearts and call us back to dependence upon Him. We short curcuit our Divine Design when circumvent the Divine Delay.


Martha cried out in frustration to Jesus regarding the death of her brother, His friend, Lazarus: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21). We all get to this place. Like Saul, like Martha, we cry out to God "Where were You? You said you would be here!" We look at our circumstances and we buy into the lie that we have been abandoned by God. We take matters into our own hands and trust what we can do by our own strength and by our own timing. If only Saul had trusted God and waited for Samuel to come. God does not lie. If He has said He will be there, He will be there. It won't be on our time but it will be right on time. Samuel came. Jesus came. So, why the delay? As Jesus approached the tomb of Lazarus, two days late by Martha's calculations, He prayed: "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." (John 11:41-42). The Divine Delay turns our tombs into a triumph, turns our dead ends into new beginnings, turns our fears into freedom. I wonder what would have happened if King Saul had waited for Samuel? Would he finally have stepped into his Divine Design? I wonder what would have happened if I would have waited on that relationship, that business decision, that purchase, that time sensitive agreement? How many more victories would I have seen if I hadn't rushed ahead of the Divine Delay?


Obedience is better then sacrifice. It doesn't matter how hard I'm working FOR You Lord, if I have stopped working WITH You. I, like Saul, like Martha, have a tendency to look around at the situation and let fear make my decisions for me. I always have my justifications. It seems like the smart, responsible thing to do. Everyone is waiting for an answer so I'd better give them one even if it's not one from You! Lord, forgive me the arrogance and pride of giving in to the lie that my life doesn't run on Your time table. You told Saul You would come and You did. Just not when he wanted You to. You told Martha You would come and You did. Just not when she wanted You to. You told me You would come into these situations so I'm waiting on. Will I take matters into my own hands or will I continue to trust them in Yours? I won't run away form the Divine Delay because what You have in store is so much more then I can accomplish on my own!

Devotions for April 12

1 Samuel 13
1 Chronicles 2,3
2 Corinthians 12

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