DEVOTION FOR TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2017
Waiting is Not Passive
Samuel had told King Saul to wait until he arrived at Gilgal to offer sacrifices. The Israelite army had gathered there to fight the Philistines. The purpose of the sacrifices was to seek God’s help in the upcoming battle. Saul waited seven days, but then felt he could wait no longer. His army was “quaking with fear” and some of his men had even fled and hidden. So he offered the sacrifices himself, disobeying Samuel’s instructions. This failure to wait was a key negative turning point in his kingship (see 1 Samuel 13).
Because waiting is about faith, it is also about obedience. Faith does not move forward when God has said hold back; neither does faith hold back when God has said move forward. Saul made the first error. The Israelites in today’s reading made the second. Their “waiting” indicated a lack of faith and shows clearly that waiting on the Lord is not passive. Whether one holds back or moves forward, faith must be active and obedient. Waiting on the Lord in part means waiting for His direction and includes going where He leads.
Godly waiting, then, is an active and courageous orientation, as opposed to being passive, timid, or fearful. Joshua’s question, “How long will you wait?” (v. 3), was a rebuke to the Israelites. One now-dead generation ago, they had “waited” and refused to enter the Promised Land based on the fearful recommendations of ten spies. They had lost forty years and paid a heavy price for their disobedience. Were they going to repeat this tragic error?
This time, Israel got it right. By surveying, mapping, and dividing the land (vv. 4–10) before actually taking possession of it, they demonstrated faith in God’s promises. And by casting lots, they
bowed before God’s sovereignty.
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries