We see in 1 Samuel 13 Saul facing a crucial moment that every believer must eventually confront: a time of crisis when we’re forced to decide whether we’ll wait on God by faith or get impatient and take matters into our own hands.

Saul’s pivotal moment came when ominous clouds of war were gathering over Israel. The Philistines had amassed a huge army of horsemen, iron chariots and legions of soldiers brandishing the latest weapons. By contrast, the Israelites had only two swords in their entire army, one for Saul and one for his son Jonathan. Everyone else had to use makeshift weapons such as wooden spears or crude farm tools.

A week earlier Samuel had warned Saul to wait for him before going into battle. The prophet had said he would arrive after seven days to make the proper sacrifices to the Lord. When the seventh day came and Samuel hadn’t arrived, Saul’s soldiers began to scatter. Worse, the king didn’t have God’s direction for battle.

What approach did Saul take?

Unfortunately, he allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his circumstances, and he ended up manipulating his way around God’s Word. He ordered the priest who was present to make the sacrifices without Samuel and committed a grievous sin against the Lord by doing so (see 1 Samuel 13:11–12).

God is never too late. He is still concerned with whether his people obey this command: “Obey the voice of the Lord, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord” (see 1 Samuel 12:13-15). Even if things look hopeless, we are not to act in fear. Rather, we are to wait patiently on him to deliver us as his Word promises.

Our God sees every detail of your crisis. He sees all the life-problems pressing in on you. And he’s fully aware your situation is getting worse daily. Those who pray and wait on him with calm faith are never in any real danger. Consider these words God has given to his church: “Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6), and “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8).

Unbelief is deadly, its consequences tragic. We face dire consequences if we try to extricate ourselves from our trials instead of trusting God to see us through them.