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From Eternity Past

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    Discouraged by Circumstance

    Day after day Saul tarried, but without encouraging the people and inspiring confidence in God. Before the time appointed by the prophet had fully expired, he allowed himself to be discouraged by the trying circumstances that surrounded him. Instead of seeking to prepare the people for the service that Samuel was coming to perform, he indulged in unbelief. The work of seeking God by sacrifice was a most solemn work; God required that His people search their hearts and repent of their sins, that the offering be made with acceptance, and His blessing attend their efforts to conquer the enemy. But Saul had grown restless; and the people, instead of trusting in God for help, were looking to the king to lead and direct them.EP 448.2

    Yet the Lord still cared for them and did not give them up to disaster. He brought them into close places that they might be convicted of the folly of depending on man and that they might turn to Him as their only help. The time for proving Saul had come. Would he depend on God and patiently wait according to His command as one whom God could trust in trying places as the ruler of His people? Or would he be vacillating and unworthy of the sacred responsibility that had devolved upon him? Would the king listen to the Ruler of all kings? Would he turn the attention of his fainthearted soldiers to the One in whom is everlasting strength and deliverance?EP 448.3

    With growing impatience he awaited the arrival of Samuel and attributed the distress and desertion of his army to the absence of the prophet. The appointed time came, but the man of God did not appear. God's providence had detained His servant. Feeling that something must be done to calm the people, Saul determined to summon an assembly and by sacrifice entreat divine aid. God had directed that only those consecrated to the office should present sacrifices before Him. But Saul commanded, “Bring hither a burnt offering,” and he approached the altar and offered sacrifice.EP 449.1

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