Samuel made an appointment to meet King Saul in Gilgal within a specified time period. However, when the Israelites began scattering from him, Saul decided to go ahead and offer the sacrifice himself lest the people continue to abandon him. As priest, Samuel was the appropriate person to offer the sacrifice. The Lord was displeased with Saul’s cowardice and arrogance, and so He decided to replace him as king.
Similarly, some of the shepherds of God’s flock in the late first century A.D. grew weary of waiting on the Lord’s return and sought to prevent the scattering of the flocks upon which they had come to depend. As a result, they took upon themselves activities which were rightfully only the Lord’s. Thus they displeased the Lord and did not inherit the kingdom when it came. Rather, they were relegated to overseeing the sheep who clung to them. Their house was desolate, though they have handed it down from generation to generation. The sheep who would follow only the Lord’s voice heard it when He came and walked away in peace with Him. His sheep still walk with Him today. Sometimes the sheep and goats are side by side, but the Lord has no problem distinguishing them.
When the Lord said that He would return before the entirety of His generation had passed away, all of His shepherds should have believed Him – though not all did. And certainly all of us today should believe that He performed what He promised when He promised it – though not all will. The Lord invites you to be among those who will believe.