February 6, 2023

When Smart People Act Foolishly

“Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God’” 1 Samuel 13:13


We tend to associate foolishness with stupidity or a lack of common sense. But extremely smart people sometimes act foolishly. It might even look like bold, decisive leadership. We veer into foolishness any time we step outside God’s express instructions, as King Saul did. God’s chosen leader used his own judgment rather than waiting on the Lord. And there were consequences.


So, what exactly did Saul do? He sought the favor of the Lord with a burnt offering before going into battle. You might think, “What’s wrong with that?” It even sounds good. Doing this, however, was clearly outside Saul’s role as king, and he knew it. Think about that. He was seeking God’s favor through disobedience. How foolish is that?


You see, the problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge or understanding. Saul knew God’s instructions. But the situation in Israel was getting dire and Samuel was later than expected. Saul got impatient and acted from his own reasoning rather than doing it God’s way. When questioned about what he had done, Saul rationalized his disobedience with excuses (vv8-12).


We still deal with the same two issues that got Saul off track. First, we get impatient, then we do things in a way that seems reasonable to us. How many times do we move forward simply because we have good motives? Don’t act foolishly by relying on your own reasoning, or by taking action before God gives the go ahead.


The consequences of moving ahead on your own vary. In Saul’s case, the price was high. It cost his descendants the throne (v14). If we take one step without God’s direction we get off track; and there will be consequences.


Are you waiting on God for guidance and direction in a particular area? Then wait! God is never late. If He hasn’t opened the door yet, then there’s a good reason. Part of seeking God’s direction is waiting on His timing. God has a plan, even when the situation isn’t unfolding the way you envisioned it. Remember, you cannot genuinely do something in the name of the Lord when your timing and tactics don’t please Him.