Read: 1 Samuel 14
She stared at me with the stubbornness of an ornery mule reflecting in her big blue eyes. Although only five years old, my Shiloh-girl had the heart of a fighter and an iron will to match it. She had no intention of cleaning her room and her dimpled hand resting on her hip dared me to try and make her.
I breathed a heavy sigh. What should I do? Without pausing, without praying, without asking God for direction – I grabbed a trash bag from the kitchen.
“You have five minutes to clean up your mess or every single toy on the floor will be placed inside this trash bag and donated.”
I walked away from her room triumphantly. What a brilliant and bold move! Five minutes later, I returned to Shiloh’s room to find it spotless. Shoulders back, head held high, chest puffed up with pride, I turned to leave…and that is when I saw it. The trash bag I had left behind was hanging from the back of her door filled to the brim with Shiloh’s things.
“Shiloh, why did you put all of the things from your floor into this trash bag?”
“Because, Mama, if you get rid of them I won’t have to clean up anymore.”
Here is what I have learned over the years: It may look like a good idea, smell like a good idea, and sound like a good idea – but a good idea will never bear the fruit that God-idea will. That is why, like Jonathan, I have to learn to slow down and wait for God to lead me. 1 Samuel 14 tells us that Jonathan waited for confirmation from the Lord before He attacked the enemy. He didn’t rush into battle. He didn’t throw Himself into the fight until He had God’s plan. He waited. He watched. He listened. Over the years, I have discovered that when I wait for God’s timing and I do it in God’s way, I move forward with God’s anointing and I get God results! But when I go out on my own – my “trash bag” of ideas – even if they seem like good ones - never produce the fruit that I was hoping for.
1 Samuel 14:24 begins under this title: “Saul’s Rash Vow.” In the Webster’s Dictionary, “rash” is defined as, “proceeding from a lack of careful consideration of the possible consequences.” It is found linked to words such as “reckless, premature, and hotheaded.” In short, “rash” is the very opposite of waiting.
When we make rash vows, we must accept that they can come with a high cost. Saul’s definitely did. His ‘premature’ actions led to serious consequences – an army too fatigued to fight and a death sentence for his son. No good fruit came from it. No good fruit ever does.
Jonathan sees the hunger, the fatigue, the weariness of the people and comments, “If my father had let them eat, our victory would have been greater against the enemy.” Have you ever looked back upon a situation and felt the same way?
“If only I had waited on God! If only I had listened! If only I had prayed before I responded!”
As women of God, we must learn the skills of waiting and listening. We must carve out time in our schedules to “be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).” We must step back before moving forward and ask, “God, what would you have me do?” Jonathan’s willingness to wait led to victory. Saul’s rash decision came at a high cost. The choice is ours.
· Do I spend time with God every day? How much/often?
· Do I spend time listening for His voice? How much/often?
· Do I carve out time to seek Him for His wisdom on a matter before lunging forward? Why or why not?
· Do I tend to be someone who wants to just “make things happen?”
· Do I have a hard time waiting on God? Why or why not?
· Write about a time that you listened for God, obeyed what He said and saw fruit.
· Write about a time you ran ahead of God and made a mess of things.