Full text of senior pastor Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermon titled: ‘The Consequences of Impatience’.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Dr. Charles Stanley – Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta
When you observe someone being very, very impatient, how does it make you feel?
Well, how do you suppose other people feel when you and I become very, very impatient with them?
Well, probably all of us become impatient about some things in life, and probably most of them are rather insignificant. For example, you’re in a hurry and you can’t find your car keys anywhere. You know exactly where you laid them down, but somehow they’re not there.
Or you’re having lunch and 25 minutes have gone by and they still haven’t shown up. Or you’ve said to your children: ‘in the bed by 09:00; I mean it!’ And what happens is you walk in there three times, they’re still in the bed frolicking and having a good time, totally ignored you. Then you take some other action, probably.
So the issue is What Happens When We Become Impatient, And How Do We Feel? And how do we feel when other people become impatient with us?
Well, we could talk about insignificant things, but in this message I want us to talk about those very significant times, those forks in the road, when you and I come to that place in life, and we want to move, we don’t have God’s yes about it, and we move anyway.
So this is a part of a series, The Power of Patience. And oftentimes we sort of joke about patience. Well, you know, I’m not impatient, or I am patient. The truth is not a joke in matter, because it affects every single area of our life.
Now I want you to turn, if you will to the 13th chapter of 1 Samuel, because I want us to look at the Consequences of Impatience in the lives of two men. Two different total situations. That one of these two is going to grab every single one of us and make us stop to think. Well, Lord, this could happen to me. Or it has happened to me, because of my impatience.
First Samuel, Chapter 13.
So let me give you a little idea of what’s happening before we come to the verse.
The nation of Israel has been under great distress because of the Philistines, and so Jonathan, King Saul’s son, has just wiped out a garrison of the Philistines. They’ve heard about it, and now they’re arming for war, and they’re far outnumbering the nation of Israel.
Well, what happened back over in the 10th chapter and the 8th verse, the prophet Samuel… remember now, the prophet is the ultimate spiritual leader of the whole nation of Israel. He’s the one who hears from God and passes on the word to the king and to the people of Israel.
He said to King Saul, he said to Saul here, before he’s king, he says, ‘and you shall go down before me to Gilgal and behold, I will come down to you to offer burn offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days, until I come to you and show you what you should do.’
So that was his word to him.
Now, so with that in mind, here’s what I want you to see what happens.
Beginning chapter 13, 1 Samuel now, look, if you will, in verse 8, Samuel the Prophet just gave him the word from God. ‘Wait.’
Now verse 8. Now he waited seven days according to the appointed time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal and the people were scattering from him.
So Saul said, ‘Bring to me the burnt offerings, and the peace offerings.’ And he offered the burnt offerings. As soon as he finished… ‘as soon as he finished offering the burnt offerings, behold, Samuel came, and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. But Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ And Saul said, ‘Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, because they were afraid of what was happening, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash.’
You see he had a reason.
‘Therefore I said, now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal and I have not asked the favor of the LORD. So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offerings.’
Just couldn’t help it. I forced myself to do it.
Samuel said to Saul, ‘You’ve acted foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom of Israel forever, but now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart. And the LORD has appointed him as a ruler over His people because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.’
Here’s what I want you to see. Notice it didn’t say that Samuel showed up later. It says that as soon as he had completed that offering, Samuel showed up.
Now let me show you what’s important about this offering. There was no law that said a king, for example, could not offer burnt offerings, any kind. But there was a law that no one could offer this particular offering, burnt offering, sacrifices to God before war except the prophet himself be present at that sacrificial offering. He had to be present. That was the issue.
So he said, Wait seven days.
Well, when in these seven days? More than likely, Samuel must have shown up probably toward the end of that 7th day. Because as soon as Saul offered the offering, disobeyed God, Samuel shows up.
It was the command of God. You must not do that. Only the prophet can do it.
He knew that. He knew what the rule was. He knew what the law was.
But he said, if you’ll notice, well, the enemy was coming and people began to scatter. So I forced myself to do it. Which means he knew he should not have. He knew the law of God. He knew the command of God. He remembered what the prophet who was the ultimate final leader, spiritual leader in Israel, he knew what he said, and he said, I forced myself to do it.
He said, ‘you violated the law of God’, and here’s what I want you to see now. Watch this.
There were consequences to this act of disobedience. It was a very, very specific command, because God’s idea was that the prophet who represented God was to be there to offer that offering when they went to battle, because God intended for His people to win the battles, because the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people through whom the Messiah was to come. And He intended to send a message throughout all of history: these are My people, and the Messiah is coming through them. It was their responsibility to teach the world of their day monotheism that there is one God, and His name is Jehovah.
This is very important in the eyes of God. It may not have been important to the eyes of some… very important to the eyes of God, that that sacrifice not be offered except in the presence of the prophet. Here [Saul] did it, anyway.
Here’s what I want you to see. There were consequences in his life. There are always consequences in our life when we violate the law of God. When we choose to step ahead of God, whatever our reasoning may be. Well, you know what? If I hadn’t, I would have lost that. You know what if? If, if if, if if…
And what do we do? We force ourselves, we say or what we do is we rationalize the Scripture. We explain it all away, and we just go right ahead and do it anyway, ahead of God’s timing. There are always consequences.
I want you to watch what happens. Listen, this set in motion, once he violated that principle, and he said to him, you know what? You’ve lost the kingdom. It would not have been a Davidic kingdom, but a Saul kingdom. You’ve lost it.
So what happens? Here’s what he’s doing.
He disobeys God.
He loses the kingdom.
Now he wants to kill his son.
Now he’s disobeyed Samuel again about the Amalekites.
And then what happens?
He’s trying to kill David. He tries to kill David, who’s Jonathan’s best friend. Now he’s trying to kill him. He does everything; you remember, he threw a spear, did his best to pin him to the wall, and he missed. He tried to kill David.
And then when things don’t work out right, listen, the Bible says that he tried to pray and ask God for guidance, and God wasn’t speaking to him.
So listen this, instead of repenting and waiting upon God, what does he do? He goes and finds a spirit medium, and he dresses up like someone else, and he goes to this medium to find some direction. And when the woman found out it was King Saul, she just [liked to die] right there on the spot.
Listen. Now, here’s a man who was chosen by God, and now he’s secretly sneaking around to a fortune teller trying to find out what to do next. And eventually he and his son both are killed in battle.
Listen carefully to me, I’m going to say it again and again and again. Please do not miss this. All of us stand at those forks in the road, and sometimes we think they’re important, and sometimes we don’t realize how important they are in the eyes of the living God. And because we want it now, we move ahead.
Listen carefully. Sometimes some of those forks, when you move down that pathway, listen carefully, you won’t ever get back to where you were. Very significant that we obey Him, that we are patient with God. Listen, [being] patient with God about His schedule, His timing, and His plan for our life. We don’t have to be afraid of…
Listen, you don’t have to be afraid of losing anything God has planned for you. Not a thing.
Well, there’s a second person in Scripture; I want you to turn all the way to Luke, chapter 15.
Luke, chapter 15 is a familiar passage that most of us know, because it’s the story of the Prodigal Son. And this would probably be more down where you and I are living than back in Saul’s day and being king and so forth.
You know the story of the Prodigal Son. I’ll just read a few verses, then I want to show you again: What Are The Consequences Of Getting Ahead Of God, Being Impatient?
(Luke 15) Verse 11.
And He said, (Jesus speaking) ‘A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the youngest son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country. And there he squandered his estate with loose living.
Now, when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in the country and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough to eat enough bread? But I’m dying here with hunger. I’ll get up and go to my father and I will say to him, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.’
And of course, we know the story that he got up and he went, and you know the story about his father meeting him.
Here’s what I want you to see. Somebody says, well, he was his father’s son and he had an estate coming to him. Watch this carefully.
The issue here is not that he said, give me my part of the estate.
The issue here is this. He said, ‘Give it to me now.’
Now, listen carefully. There are times in our life when God has something for us, but there are times in our life when what He has for us, we’re not ready for it. We’re not mature enough to handle it. It is not the right timing.
God is in the process of preparing us, getting us ready, maturing us. How many times has God said or tried to say to you and to me, ‘Yes, that’s My will, but not now. Yes, that’s in My plan, but not now. Yes, that is My purpose, but not now.’
And we decide we have to have it now. Instantaneous. That’s what we want in this life. Everything instant, gratification now. Now, now, now… God does not work on our schedule. He has His own.
Listen carefully. When you and I choose to get what we want according to our schedule, instead of His schedule, we are going to make a big, horrible mess of our life.
The most important thing in your life is obedience to the living God.
You say, I don’t believe all that Bible stuff, you know what, do you think God is going to change His mind, change His principle, because you don’t believe Him. No, He’s not.
I’m simply saying that to you to say, look, stop and think what you have and who the world thinks you are. That’s not the issues in life. None of that’s going to make you happy, none of that’s going to give you peace, and none of that, listen, is going to do when you’re dying.
When you come to the end of life, your money is not going to count. Your fame and fortune, prominence and prestige and all that stuff is not going to make one bit of difference whatsoever. Because you’re getting ready to meet the living God whom you’ve neglected, ignored, rejected and against whom you have rebelled all of your life, to have it your way in your timing.
And you know what’s going to happen? You’re getting ready for an eternal disappointment that lasts for all eternity.
What are the consequences in this young man’s life as a result of saying, ‘I want it now’?
Jot them down. Listen to Him. And I want to say, listen, if you’re a father or maybe a single mom and you don’t have a dad that’ll do this, you should write down these points, and at some point you need to sit down with your son or your daughter. I don’t care if they’re teenagers and they think they’ve already learned everything, a college kid, whatever it is.
Look, God put principles in the word of God for us to learn and to apply to our heart. I want you to see what happened to this young man because he couldn’t wait for the father’s timing. And here’s what happens when we can’t wait for the father’s timing.
Look at the consequences of his disobedience.
Number one, he brought sorrow on the part of his family. They knew. His father knew he was not ready for that, but he demanded it and he gave it to him.
The second thing is this: he was separated from his family, walked away from him. Goodbye. I’m going. He’d heard about the far country. He was excited about the far country. That’s what he thought he wanted. And what I want you to see is, listen to this. Everything he already had, he lost. And everything he thought he was going to gain, he already had it. That’s one of Satan’s deceptive lies.
Now watch this. Separated from his family, brought them sorrow.
Third thing is this: poverty. He squand… listen, he squandered his inheritance. He wasted his inheritance. He was a wealthy young man at home. When he did it his way, he lost it all.
Another thing is immorality. Listen. Immorality. He sinned against his own body, wasted it with riotous, loose living. And that is the implication of that. Wasted it, loose living.
And what happens to him? Then the Scripture says next thing he knows, there’s a famine in the land. He’s lost it all. Now he’s hungry.
In fact, the Scripture says he was dying with hunger. Dying with hunger, trying to just eke out a living.
And then what happens? He gets sent by the man who hired him into the most… listen, the most dishonorable occupation possible. A Jewish, a Hebrew young man doing what? Feeding swine, which God forbid them to eat or have anything to do with them. And now he is out there feeding them.
And not only that, he’s not only feeding them, but listen, he says, looking for something, and no one. That’s what the Scripture says, no one would help him. Now his life is full of loneliness.
When he had his family back there, everything he had, he lost. He’s lonely, he’s impoverished now.
And then what happens? He’s full of guilt. What does he say? I’ve wasted it all. Living with guilt. Impoverished, having wasted it all, having lost everything. Why? Because he said he had to have it now.
And then the remorse that was in his life, full of anguish caused by his guilt, writhing in inner pain, because look what had happened. And then, of course, the feelings of unworthiness he had. He said, I’m unworthy to go back, but I’m going, and say, just make me a servant, make me a slave in your household.
And then, of course, he wasted the years of his life. Wasted years of his life. Here’s what I want you to listen very carefully. If you’re listening, say Amen.
When that young man went back home, he went back home in dire poverty with nothing. He left, the only friends he had was hogs in the hog pen and he had to sort of wrestle with them to get some food that they were eating.
Now he’s on his way home. Dirty, smelly, rotten, at the core was his life. He experienced, not enjoyed. He experienced all those things that he dreamed would bring him joy and happiness and completeness in life.
What’s his father’s response? His father’s response is when he saw him coming. This is the most beautiful example picture of the love of God and where to be found in the Bible besides the Cross. His father went running to him, threw his arms around him, hugged him. And while this young man is trying to confess his sin, his dad is just rejoicing and praising God, ‘his lost son has come home, calling for a big party, going to have a robe and shoes and sandals and a ring and everything.
And what is he doing? He is in dire straits because he knows what kind of life he’s lived.
So does he get forgiven? Yes.
Restored to the family? Yes.
But here’s what I want you to never forget. Because he was impatient, refused to wait for his father’s timing, which would have been the right timing, because his father was a matured man, because he was unwilling to wait, he lost it all.
Listen, and even though the father forgave him and restored him as a son, it did not erase the consequences of his impatience. That’s what we don’t want to remember.
Well you know, God will forgive me, everything will be right. God will forgive you. But you know what? That doesn’t erase all that wasted living, wasted years, immoral living.
And you see, the father didn’t go to his second son say, well, look, I’m going to have to divide this thing again. No, he didn’t do that.
The son lived with him the rest of his life, caused conflict between him and his brother because his brother said, you know, I’ve been with you all the time. I’ve been with you the whole time. And you’ve accepted him back.
But it didn’t erase the consequences.
Listen carefully before you step ahead of God, ask yourself the question: am I being impatient? Am I demanding something that’s my plan, my goals and my timing? Am I wanting something that I’m not ready for or the other person is not ready for if someone else is involved?
And ask yourself the question: what will be the consequence if I step ahead of God to have it my way and my timing?
If you will stop and think carefully of what the consequences are, and if you will listen to God, now satan will say to you: ‘there’re no consequences.’ The devil’s lie.
God’s answer is the consequences you will not like: the consequences of pain, disappointment, loss, heartache, heartbreak, broken relationships, wasted life. And none of us want to pay that kind of price for disobedience.
I want to encourage you to remember that patience is not something to joke about; patience is a vital part of every one of our lives, and especially in our relationship to the Heavenly Father.
And I trust that if you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, I want to encourage you to trust Him, to ask Him to forgive you of your sins and just acknowledge God, I’ve been wanting in my way all of my life. I’m asking You to forgive me, cleanse me, save me. I am willing to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, the Lord, Master of my life. God, I want you to have the rest of my life. Would you pick up the pieces, the broken pieces of my life and put it back together?
And the answer is yes. And only God knows how far down the line you are and how many consequences are involved. But one thing I can tell you it doesn’t make a difference how far down you are. It’s always better to come back, acknowledge it, repent of it, turn from it. Place your life in the hands of a loving Father and watch what He does in your life.
And I want to encourage you today, if you’ve never been saved, to make that decision. Maybe you just turn this program on for the first time. Don’t miss the next time or the next time, or the next time or the next time. Why?
Because every single time you learn a principle that will help protect you from messing up your life, destroying your life, setting you on a course that will only lead to disappointment, when you learn the principles and you begin to walk in them,
God’s very best is awaiting you.
Resources for Further Reading:
- 1973 Prophecy – The Vision by David Wilkerson (Transcript)
- Martin Luther King’s Sermon: The Drum Major Instinct (Transcript)
- C. S. Lewis: The World’s Last Night (Transcript)
- Derek Prince Sermon: ‘Pressures, Tests & Challenges’ (Transcript)
- Zac Poonen Sermon: Enter Into God’s Rest (Transcript)