The problem for most folks in living a successful Christian life is not that they don’t know what is the right thing to do, it is more that they don’t do what they already know is the right thing to do. In other words, people suffer more from a lack of obedience than a lack of knowledge.
When I was in elementary school, I remember having a teacher read to the class the famous children’s book called, “Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos.” It was about this mouse that lived in Franklin’s old fur hat – a sort of Ratatouille character – who was really the brains behind the founding father.
Just because we do not have God sitting on our shoulder or whispering in our ear with specifics about every situation of life does not mean that what we have is insufficient. We have a complete revelation from God to give us direction for life, along with the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit living within. We just need to be yielded to this truth.
As we look today at an Old Testament story at the end of King Saul’s life, we see the weak leader of Israel in big trouble. His crutch and connection to God – Samuel – was dead. Saul was in a difficult position. The Philistines were arrayed before him in battle and he did not know what to do. God was silent and there was no prophetic word.
So Saul took matters into his own hands and went to consult with a witch – a medium … a category of people he had previously sought to have eliminated from Israel. He needed Samuel to help him, and this was the only way he knew to get to him. So he disguises himself to get the woman to cooperate without fear.
The woman calls up Saul from the dead, and she is totally surprised herself that it actually worked! This indicates that she was something of a fraud … that what she dabbled in was not a real connection to the dead, but rather to Satanic spirits. Such would be true of similar practitioners today.
Saul delivers the devastating news of pending defeat in battle and the deaths of Saul and his sons the next day. The reason for this had to do with an incident in chapter 15 – how Saul had not obeyed God in the total wipeout of the Amalekites. (Rather than go into this is great detail now, let me simply advertise that you be sure to read our next devotional series on the life of David, where this chapter and topic will be covered on October 8th.)
Being the king in Israel was really not that difficult. God had set up a great system for his people and their leaders – be they priests, prophets, judges, or even the first of the kings, like Saul. Obey God and honor Him and his word, and things would go well and everyone would find that they had plenty of everything that was needed in life. Disobey, and just the opposite would happen. The truth they possessed was sufficient. Simply stated, Saul should’ve known better than to do such a thing.
The truth you possess today in God’s Word is sufficient, especially with the Holy Spirit’s internal residence to enlighten and lead. Yet people today go to their own “Endors” … hoping to find some magical answer from God that is the fruit of their own efforts.
Be found using your energies to grow in your knowledge of God’s Word.
Saul and the Medium at Endor
3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.
4 The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6 He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. 7 Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”
“There is one in Endor,” they said.
8 So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”
9 But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”
10 Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”
11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
“Bring up Samuel,” he said.
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”
13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”
The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”
14 “What does he look like?” he asked.
“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.
Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
“I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”
16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David.18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”