You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you.
Ouch. It seemed as though Saul was doing the right thing–he waited the seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. Driven by urgency, impulse, desperation, fear, who knows, he took matters into his own hands. Wouldn’t any leader? Even though his offering was to the Lord, he was not consulting or seeking the Lord. And this would be telling sign of his leadership.
8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”1 Samuel 13:8-14, ESV, emphasis added
I looked up the significance of a burnt offering in Old Testament times, and a resource states: The biggest difference between the burnt offering and other offerings is that to make a burnt offering the entire animal was burned on the altar, symbolizing total commitment or surrender to God.
Lord, I sit with this Scripture today and think on my habits. I want to steward my responsibilities wisely and to bring you glory. Thank you for the reminder to seek you first and to wait on you.