How should you respond to these needs so we can save our children's future so our hope will not be cut off (Prov. 24:14)? God wants to give you a heart test first before you take action. Success will not occur unless your heart is right before God. Are you relying upon your own resources or trusting in God's strength and wisdom? Will you wait upon God to lead instead of charging forward in your own self-determined way? Are you seeking glory for yourself or passionate that God receives all the glory? God was giving his designated leader, Saul, a heart test. He will give you a similar test as well.
Saul chose 3,000 Israelites who attacked and became a stench to the Philistines. They assembled 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen to fight Israel. Once the men of Israel saw they were hard-pressed, the people hid themselves in caves and those who followed Saul trembled (1 Sam. 13:1-7).People have a choice whether to rely on their resources or God’s when the odds are stacked against them.
Saul waited seven days according to the appointed time set by Samuel. The people began leaving Saul when Samuel didn't come. After Saul offered the burnt offering, Samuel came. He asked why Saul didn't wait for Samuel to fulfill his priestly duties. Saul answered that since people were scattering and Philistines were coming against him, he forced himself to offer the burnt offering.
Samuel said to Saul: “You have act foolishly; you have not kept the commandments of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Sam. 13:8-14). Patience in letting God lead and not forcing things allows your kingdom work to succeed.
Saul numbered about 600 men to be present with him in Gibeah while the Philistines camped at Michmash. Raiders came from Philistines in three companies, which turned toward Ophrah, Beth-horon and the border that overlooks the valley of Zeboim (1 Sam. 13:15-18). God turns up the heat to test whether you have a heart after God in following Him.
Israel had no blacksmiths to make swords or spears for battle. As a result, the Hebrews went to the Philistines to sharpen their implements for farming. But on the day of battle, none of the 600 men with Saul had a sword except he and his son, Jonathan (1 Sam. 13:19-23). God will strip you of earthly resources so He will get the glory in kingdom work.
For your own heart test, rate yourself on a continuum from 1 to 10 with "1" being most false and "10" being most true of you:
1. I rely on God's strength instead of my own when I am under pressure.
2. When I have a tough decision to make, the first person I ask for wisdom is God, not a friend.
3. When I'm at the end of my rope, I ask God for patience and perspective before moving forward.
For any low scores, confess your sin, pray to God and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit so you can follow His leadership in your life.