I Samuel 28:1-25

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

THE WITCH OF ENDOR

INTRODUCTION:

Spiritually speaking, what you do today will determine where you will be in the future. It will also determine some of what you may go through in this life.

When one determines to do the will of God, he can expect to be blessed by God.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Psalms 1:1-3 - (1) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

When one gives his life to the Lord, stops his conformity to the world, and allows God to reprogram his thinking as a result of his study of the Word of God, he will demonstrate in his life the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2 - (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

When one determines to disobey the will of God, he can expect difficulties in life.

Galatians 6:7-9 - (7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (9) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

When one determines to live a sinful life, he can expect a lot of difficulty in his life.

Proverbs 13:15 - Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

When a believer does not live as he should, he can expect God's chastisement; but when he learns from God's corrective measures, he can be certain that God will make a righteous person out of him.

Hebrews 12:5-11 - 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Israel had demanded a king and had rejected God's best for them.

I Samuel 8:1-7 - 1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. 3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre [i.e. dishonest gain], and took bribes, and perverted judgment [i.e. justice]. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

There were possibilities for Saul. He could have experienced God's blessing in his life. Samuel said to Israel -

I Samuel 12:14-15 - 14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.

So, how did Saul do at following the Lord? Not very well.

There were a number of past failures for Saul.

1. There was a lack of trust displayed.

I Samuel 13:8-10 - (8) And he [i.e. Saul] tarried [i.e. waited] seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed [in I Samuel 10:8 ]: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him [i.e. Saul's troops were gradually deserting him, and Samuel had not yet shown up.]. (9) And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. (10) And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute [i.e. greet] him.

I Samuel 13:13-14 - 13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.

2. There was a rash order regarding eating.

I Samuel 14:24 - And the men of Israel were distressed [i.e. hard pressed] that day: for Saul had adjured the people [i.e. Saul had put the people under an oath], saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.

3. There was incomplete obedience.

I Samuel 15:3 - Now go and smite [i.e. attack] Amalek, and utterly destroy [i.e. totally destroy] all that they have, and spare them not; but slay [i.e. kill;] both man and woman, infant and suckling [i.e. nursing child], ox and sheep, camel and ass [i.e. donkey].

I Samuel 15:7-9 - (7) And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. (8) And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed [i.e. totally destroyed] all the people with the edge of the sword. (9) But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them [i.e. would not totally destroy them]: but every thing that was vile and refuse [i.e. every thing that was despised and worthless], that they destroyed utterly [i.e. that they totally destroyed].

As a result, Saul was rejected as king; and David was anointed to become king.

I Samuel 15:22-23 - (22) And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken [i.e. to heed] than the fat of rams [The fat of rams was the Lord's portion of the sacrifice and would be burned as part of the sacrifice.]. [The Lord isn't looking for ritual. He's looking for obedience and a submissive heart.] (23) For rebellion is as [i.e. is like] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [i.e. insubordination] is as [i.e. is like] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Saul continued his resistance to the will of God in an effort to kill David.

Proverbs 29:1 - He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

I. SAUL IS ABANDONED BY GOD - 28:1-6

I Samuel 28:1-6 - (1) And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men. (2) And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head [i.e. my bodyguard] for ever. (3) Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him [i.e. mourned for him], and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits [i.e. mediums], and the wizards [i.e. spiritists], out of the land. (4) And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched [i.e. encamped] in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched [i.e. encamped] in Gilboa. (5) And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines [i.e. the army of the Philistines], he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. (6) And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not [take note of this statement: when Saul inquired of the Lord - we'll look at again in a little while], the Lord answered him not neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

We are reminded of -

Psalms 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. [The idea is that if I have unconfessed sin in my heart, the Lord will not listen to my prayers.]

II. SAUL CONSULTED THE WITCH OF ENDOR - 28:7-14

The Bible gives strict instructions against delving into the realm of demonic spirits.

Leviticus 19:31 - Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:6-7 - (6) And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. (7) Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:27 - A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 - (10) There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire [i.e. anyone who offers his son or his daughter as a burnt offering], or that useth divination [i.e. uses witchcraft or sorcery - divination is a general term for any method of contacting the spirit world], or an observer of times [i.e. a soothsayer, someone who pretends to foretell future events], or an enchanter [i.e. one who interprets omens], or a witch [i.e. a sorcerer]. (11) Or a charmer [i.e. someone who casts spells], or a consulter with familiar spirits [i.e. mediums], or a wizard [i.e. a spiritist], or a necromancer [NEK ro man cer = someone who calls up the dead]. (12) For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Some who claim to have contact with spirits are frauds, but there are genuine cases where people have had contact with demonic spirits. God is against any form of spiritism, whether it is fraudulent or real.

I Chronicles 10:13-14 - (13) So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; (14) And inquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

Contrast verse 14 and (Saul) inquired not of the Lord with what we have already seen in I Samuel 28:6 ,

I Samuel 28:6 - And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

How is the apparent contradiction between the Hebrew words translated when Saul inquired of the Lord in I Samuel 28:6 and the Hebrew words translated and Saul inquired not of the Lord in I Chronicles 10:14 explained? Since the Scriptures do not contradict themselves, there must be a plausible explanation of this apparent contradiction.

The Hebrew words translated when Saul inquired of the Lord in I Samuel 28:6 mean simply when Saul asked God for guidance.

The Hebrew words and Saul inquired not of the Lord in I Chronicles 10:14 mean Saul did not seek the Lord with care.

These statements are not contradictory because Saul did in fact mouth these words, but he was not serious with the Lord in his saying them.

I Samuel 28:7-14 - (7) Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit [i.e. who is a medium], that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit [i.e. there is a woman who is a medium] at Endor. (8) And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment [i.e. put on ordinary clothes rather than royal robes], and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit [i.e. conduct a seance for me], and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. (9) And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits [i.e. mediums], and the wizards [i.e. spiritists], out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare [i.e. why have you set a trap] for my life, to cause me to die? (10) And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. (11) Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. (12) And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. (13) And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods [i.e. I saw a god, I saw a divine being, or I saw a spirit] ascending out of the earth. (14) And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle [i.e. wrapped in a robe or wearing a robe]. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

The most likely explanation is that the woman expected contact with a demon (posing as Samuel, v. 11) but, to her amazement and terror (v. 12), God actually permitted Samuel to appear to her and give a message of doom to Saul. The text clearly states that it was Samuel (vv. 15-16, 20). No agent of Satan could have given a message so clearly from the LORD as verse 17.

The passage does not say that the woman brought up Samuel from the dead. The incident gives no support to the false contention of spiritists that they can speak with the dead. Mediums do not have access to the dead but communicate with spirits posing as persons who have died; thus these spirits are called lying spirits.

III. SAMUEL DELIVERED A MESSAGE WHICH SAUL DID NOT WANT TO HEAR - 28:15-20

I Samuel 28:15-20 - (15) And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me [i.e. why have you disturbed me?], to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed [i.e. I am greatly distressed or I am deeply distressed]; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. (16) Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? (17) And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent [i.e. the LORD has torn] the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: (18) Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. (19) Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me [i.e. in death]: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. (20) Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth [i.e. full length upon the ground], and was sore afraid [i.e. greatly afraid, very afraid], because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

IV. THE WITCH ATTEMPTED TO BRING COMFORT TO SAUL, BUT IT WAS TOO LATE - 28:21-25

I Samuel 28:21-25 - (21) And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled [i.e. that he was terrified, that he was severely troubled], and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words [i.e. heeded your words, listened to your words] which thou spakest unto me. (22) Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou [i.e. heed, listen] also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread [i.e. a piece of bread] before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. (23) But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice [i.e. he heeded (or listened to) their voice]. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. (24) And the woman had a fat calf [i.e. the woman had a fatted calf or the woman had fattened calf] in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: (25) And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

CONCLUSION:

Saul had many opportunities during his life to do what was right. However, Saul did not take advantage of the opportunities God gave him. Although God's judgment came after a long period of time, it eventually came; and when it came, it came swiftly.

You and I have many opportunities in life to do what is right. Let's take advantage of every one of them and do what is right and receive God's blessing rather than God's judgment.