I Samuel 14:15-19 (Good News Bible)
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The featured Scripture is I Samuel 14:15 through 19 from the Good News Bible:
All the Philistines in the countryside were terrified; the raiders and the soldiers in the camp trembled with fear; the earth shook, and there was great panic. Saul's men on watch at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin saw the Philistines running in confusion. So Saul said to his men, “Count the soldiers and find out who is missing.” They did so and found that Jonathan and the young man who carried his weapons were missing. “Bring the ephod here,” Saul said to Ahijah the priest. (On that day Ahijah was carrying it in front of the people of Israel.) As Saul was speaking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp kept getting worse, so Saul said to him, “There's no time to consult the LORD!”
I chose this version because I am currently reading through the Good News for Modern Man Bible. I read through different versions, one every six months (or less), and this is one hundred thirteenth time! I started this discipline years ago when I learned about a man who read through the Bible once for every year he lived. But I was already in my mid twenties, and that meant I had a lot of catching up to do if I was going to read from cover to cover for every year I lived. So I decided to read through a version of the Bible every six months. And I have done this for over 50 years! It is really not that difficult. It takes me about half an hour a day to read some in the Old Testament, one of Psalms and then Proverbs (a total of 181 chapters, which means in six months they are covered), and some in the New Testament. You ought to try it! The benefits are amazing!
But back to our Scripture: Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, was anointed as the first king of Israel. He was not really God’s choice because the LORD was to be the Israelites’ King! But the people wanted a human king! In I Samuel 8:19 and 20, this is what they told Samuel the prophet: “…we will have a king over us that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” They wanted to be like all the nations! But God had called then unto Himself…
- …so they would be different from all the nations, whose people practiced idolatry, witchcraft, child sacrifice, and a host of other sins!
- …so they would reflect to the whole world the holiness, justice, and righteousness of the living God!
But Israel only added to their sins resulting from following their own will and way (read the sorry record in the book of Judges), by insisting on having a king so they could be like all the other nations! So God gave them Saul! And Saul turned out to be a sorry king…….so sorry we are told in I Samuel 15:11 that the LORD said, “Saul has stopped following Me, so I am sorry that I made him king. He is not doing what I tell him.” (Easy-to-Read Version).
It should come as no surprise then what King Saul did when Israel was at war with the Philistines. This enemy tribe had subjugated the Hebrews who, in this particular instance, were greatly outnumbered.
- I Samuel 13:5 – “…the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people [foot soldiers] as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude.”
- I Samuel 13:15 – “Saul numbered the people [soldiers] who were present with him, about six hundred men.” Because…
- I Samuel 13:6 and 7 –
...When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger... then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilgal....
But God stepped in!
- Saul’s son Jonathan, along with his armor-bearer (just the two of them), challenged and defeated an entire 20-man contingent of Philistine soldiers!
- The LORD then caused the earth to tremble, and the whole Philistine army panicked and started running away!
It was then that King Saul did another foolish thing!
- Saul ordered that the priest Ahijah, who was with the army, to come to him at once, bearing the priestly ephod.
✡ Several versions say it was the ark, the covenant box containing the Ten Commandments. But the Sep- tuagint, the second-century BC Greek translation of the Old Testament, has the more probable trans- lation – the ephod. ✡ It was the ephod that contained the two ‘stones’ called “...the Urim and the Thummim...” (Exodus 28:20), by which the will of God could be deter- mined.
- But the moments ticked away as the priest reached for the Urim and the Thummim, and as the panic increased among the Philistine army, Saul barked at the priest, “There’s no time to consult the LORD!” And the king went after the fleeing Philistine army!
“There’s no time to consult the LORD!” That is dangerous! If “There’s no time to consult the LORD…,” something is truly wrong with the management of our time!
Scripture tells us what to do:
- Psalm 77:1 and 2 (English Standard Version) – “I cry…to God…and He will hear me.”
- Proverbs 3:5 and 6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
- Isaiah 55:6 – “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”
- Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”
- Philippians 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God….”
- I Thessalonians 5:17 and 18 – “…pray without ceasing…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
- Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us…come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
…and many other Scriptures!
May it never be,
in your life nor in mine, that
“There’s no time to consult the LORD…”!