Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, “What have you done?” – 1 Samuel 13:8-11a.

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done 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 over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart…. – 1 Samuel 13:13-14a.

Recently in South Texas, there was a train derailment, which caused the deaths of three people and large amount of property damage. The cause of this derailment is under investigation. There has also been a train derailed recently in Bangladesh in the Chandpur district. There was no loss of life or major property damage but it was a major inconvenience to those using the train. The cause of this derailment is known. Assistant Station Master Abdul Kashem said that the situation occurred “due to the poor condition of the railway track.” Staying on the rails is a priority for trains because trains are meant to be on rails and not on highways.

Israel was at war with the Philistines in the account of 1 Samuel 13. The Philistines mobilized their army and prepared for a massive confrontation with the Israelites. The Israelites too knew that the battle was coming. Saul knew the battle was coming. It was just a matter of time until the Philistines grew tired of waiting and simply attacked. The army of Israel appears to have been scattering. How much longer could Saul wait? Saul knew he had to wait until the offering was given by the prophet Samuel. What was he to do? Saul waited, and waited, finally deciding that he would give the offering. Saul knew what God wanted but he failed. If only he had waited, just a short amount of time more and the prophet would have come. As a result of Saul’s failure the Kingdom was wrenched away from him and his descendants and given to David. Saul’s life had been derailed.

What caused this derailment of Saul? Most likely, it was a failure to properly maintain the tracks. It appears that there was a lack of faith on the part of Saul. He lacked the faith to believe that if he waited as commanded that the prophet would come and that the Philistine threat would be met. Saul looked at his scattering army and believed that soon it would be too weak to have any success against the Philistines. Saul’s faith was not in God but in his army, in his war machine. Saul apparently was not in constant communication with the Lord God as David the Psalmist would be at a later time.

You can look at the lives of those Christians whose lives have been derailed and you will find something in common. What is that something? There was a failure to properly maintain the tracks.

Are you as a Christian maintaining the tracks? Are continuing to assemble with other believers?* Are you continuing to have a quiet time every day?* Are you continuing to serve your Lord?* These disciplines of the faith are necessary for the maintenance of faith which is necessary to keep your life on the tracks. Please do not wait for your life to be derailed! Do what you must now to keep the tracks in the proper condition for living the life of faith.

(For a great testimony about how church, prayer, and the Bible can help a derailed life to have the faith to get back onto the tracks read Charlyn’s testimony, “Jesus is the Way” at: )

(The urgency of maintaining your spiritual life.)

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