During this season of obedience which has spanned two years for me, I have realized that I have not always been quick to obey. These chilling words from a friend keep echoing in my head: “Slow obedience is just as bad as ignoring the request altogether.” I’m reminded of this nearly every morning as I spend time in scripture reading about the Israelites, God’s chosen people. They straddled the fence of obedience and disobedience continuously after being led out of Egypt. God faithfully showed them favor even when they disobeyed him. Sure, he got angry — very angry in fact, but fervent prayers from his chosen ones eventually rescued them from the precipice of total annihilation. Even when God gave them specific instructions about how they should behave, they continuously disobeyed — thinking that a burnt offering or a guilt offering would make everything ok.
In my opinion, it’s so much easier to do as you’re told in the first place so that you don’t have to apologize for being disobedient later. Depending on who you ask, some think it’s difficult to both follow directions and to apologize. There are times, though, when sorry isn’t enough to mend the relationship you’ve severed. No amount of mea culpas will restore trust in your leadership once you’ve treated your team members unfairly. At some point, your reign will end due to your disobedience (as in the case of King Saul). Your time at the helm will become a distant memory as someone new is appointed to take your place.
As the story of King Saul and David plays out, we learn that David is appointed to succeed King Saul. Everyone, even Samuel, is surprised by the chosen one. After all, Jesse has several sons to choose from — all strong and able to serve, but God chose David — the least of these. Even Samuel scratched his head when he met the shepherd boy who would one day become king.
The lesson in this is two-fold. First, only God has the power to promote and appoint. Second, never underestimate a guy with five stones and a sling. We may question God’s appointments at times because we can’t see his blueprint for our lives, and even if we could, we’re ill-equipped to understand these plans. We may even question our own appointment — feeling wholly unqualified for the role we’ve been asked to assume. You may not have any idea what you’re doing, but rest assured, the Master has it all figured out.