Dilly-dallying . . . it’s a fun word to say and in the moment it’s even fun to do. The Free Dictionary defines it as — to waste time, especially in indecision; dawdle or vacillate.
When we think back to the Israelites, a word that could aptly describe them is dilly-dallying. First, they dilly-dallied in entering the Promise Land. Then for 40 years, they dilly-dallied in the desert. As a consequence of their unbelief they had no choice but to live and wander in the desert those 40 years (Num 14:20-23). Yet, they did have a choice to not continue to dilly-dally in their faith, obedience and belief during the next 40 years. And yet, they did.
As we wait on His promises, may our epitaph not be as the Israelites — that we too dilly-dallied in our faith, obedience and belief.
King Saul has an epitaph of dilly-dallying in his faith. God gave him a simple order through the prophet Samuel to TOTALLY DESTROY EVERYTHING in their attack of the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3).
Saul’s follow-through on this crystal clear command:
But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. – 1 Sam 15:9
Saul’s explanation to the prophet Samuel of his dilly-dallying obedience:
“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” – 1 Sam 15:20-21
God’s response to Saul’s dilly-dallying obedience through Samuel:
But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Sam 15:22
The Israelites dilly-dallying obedience first cost them 40 years in the desert and not being able to experience the Promised Land. Then as they continued to dilly-dally in the desert, it cost them heartaches, losses and grief.
King Saul’s dilly-dallying obedience cost him his kingdom.
What has your own dilly-dallying obedience cost you?
What will your dilly-dallying obedience cost you in the future?
Author and pastor, Steven Furtick, poignantly speaks to this reality in his article, A 13:13 Moment.
In his song Alrightokuhhuhamen, Rich Mullins also aptly speaks to this struggle as well as a great remedy for it . . . learning to consistently say four words to acts of obedience Father impresses upon our hearts and minds.
The Israelites, King Saul, and we would do well to practice those words on a daily basis.
As Rich sings, “You can argue with your Maker or know the joy of saying yes to, to Him . . . Alrightokuhhuhamen”