• By Pastor Boffey
  • on Sunday, January 28, 2007
1 Samuel 28:3-19 (3) Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. (4) And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. (5) And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. (6) And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. (7) Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. (8) And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, 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, 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, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare 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 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. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. (15) And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore 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 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: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Before us is the incredible account of King Saul going to a witch with a familiar spirit for guidance. The path of sin is indeed downhill. Now fools have made light of this account, apparently even using its details for the 60's sit-com, Bewitched (Endora from Endor, and Samantha apparently a female form of Samuel, etc.), but witchcraft is no laughing matter, ever. It is an ominous time in a nation when its leaders look to the occult for direction as Saul did here and the publicly known superstitious practices of some recent high office-holders of our country (and their wives) should give pause to the godly. Saul had fallen so far from God that he became a practicing heathen. It was said of empires like pagan Babylon that they relied upon enchantments and sorceries (ISA 47:12-13) to acquire hidden knowledge for direction in matters of state and war, even reading the viscera of a disemboweled sacrifice, "...the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver" (EZE 21:21). God had strictly forbidden the O.T. church from such superstition and intercourse with the powers of darkness (EXO 22:18; DEU 18:9-14) and the N.T. church is under similar proscriptions. Witchcraft is an abominable work of the flesh (GAL 5:20), we are warned against a man "...intruding into those things which he hath not seen..." (COL 2:18), and in general we are to "...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (EPH 5:11). That Saul should resort to necromancy against the law of God and even his own decree (v.3) was owing to the fact that "...the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets" (v.6). He apparently reasoned, "Flectero si nequeo superos, Acheronto movebo (If I cannot move heaven, I will solicit hell)." A modern counterpart to Saul's dark effort to get a sneak preview of the yet unrolled scroll of time would be a professing Christian who resorts to a palm-reader, an astrologer or worse: Pat Robertson. Now God has given His Holy Bible as a sufficient source of information of that which is beyond the veil and regardless of what any spirit or wizard might peep or a prophet pretend to reveal, if "...they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (ISA 8:19-20). Saul here consulted with a witch to bring Samuel up from the dead, as if departed spirits can migrate from one world to the other but they can not do so (LUK 16:19-31), and as if Samuel would be more favorable to him from the grave. Sinners should seek the counsel of a man of God while he lives even if they dread what he has to say for his counsel (in principle) will be no more pleasant after: Jesus accused the wicked Jews of His generation of His own murder (MAT 21:33-46; MAT 22:1-7) and His Spirit still does so after His death (JOH 16:13 c/w ACT 5:30; ACT 7:52; 1TH 2:14-15).

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