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 WHEN GOD IS SILENT!

1st SAMUEL 28:4-7

THE LIFE OF KING SAUL

ONE OF THE GREATEST COSTS OF SIN, PERHAPS THE GREATEST, IS BROKEN COMMUNION WITH THE LORD!

WHEN GOD NO LONGER TALKS!

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

"And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 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."  1st Samuel 28:4-7

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 4 OF OUR TEXT:

"And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa."

They were the perennial enemies of Israel, the Philistines!

The Hebrew noun "pelishtiy" means "immigrants." Its root verb means "to roll." These people represent inhabitants now in the land who were not born there, but had arrived from some distant country. However, their intentions were permanent settlement. The name Philistine has come to mean anyone who is an enemy or anyone who is mediocre or uncouth.

The verb "gathered together" translates "qabatzs" and literally means "to collect," hence "to assemble" as a group. The timing of this specific verb suggests that they just kept on coming and coming too!

"And the Philistines gathered themselves together ..." against Israel, to do battle!

War is imminent!

King Saul has battled these wicked people before now. Twice earlier this same verb structure is used in reference to the Philistine Nation.

In 1st Samuel 13:5 "the Philistines gathered themselves together" to fight with Israel. There the Jews defeated them, at least temporarily. But prior to the actual engagement, Saul became impatient, Samuel having not yet arrived to offer sacrifice before the battle. And the King unwisely acted as do the Priests, shedding blood for the Burnt Offering and Peace Offering! Saul was fearful of going to battle, he said, until he had "made supplication unto the Lord." But Samuel, quoting the Lord, told 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. 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." 1st Samuel 13:13-14

The second such time, beginning in 1st Samuel 17:1, is the familiar account of Goliath the Philistine giant. There Saul, who had already lost his Kingdom, lost his honor! "And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." 1st Samuel 18:7

To "pitch," in Hebrew "chanah," means to "bend down, recline, rest or even dwell. They set up camp ... in order to fight!

"Shunem" is a noun, the name of a city here obviously, that means "double resting place!" It is located within the borders of Issachar, about five miles south of Mount Tabor and nine miles northeast of Megiddo. It's the home town of Abishag, a young woman who attended the dying King David years later. Also Shunem was the dwelling place of a lady and her husband who befriended the Prophet Elisha again and again.

Using the same verb, "qabatzs," Saul "gathered together" the Jewish army too. "All Israel" here means the young men of fighting age. The name "Israel" contains the idea of conflict, and can be translated "God prevails!"

They also "pitched," again "chanah," nearby at Gilboa, turning it into a military post. Gilboa means "a swollen heap" and really was just a mountain. It's located about ten miles southeast of Shunem and is the place where King Saul died.

The battle lines are drawn!

But of course, Israel has fought ... and defeated ... many a foe in her glorious history!

Should this battle be any different?

Apparently so!

For nowhere can the voice of God be heard!

Saul has sinned himself into silence, God no longer communicating to the pathetic King.

A later Prophet, isaiah, well summarizes Saul's plight: "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness." Isaiah 59:1-3

Separation from God may be the worse condition known to mankind!

Avoid it at all costs!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 5:

The Text continues: "And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled." 1st Samuel 28:5

This is so unusual!

The King of Israel need not fear!

Solomon, a future occupant of the very throne of Saul, will write: "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion." Proverbs 28:1

If we only had time to study that word "bold!"

And David, Saul's very successor, was not fearful. At least not when he was right with God!

The word "fearful" here has its root in the Hebrew "yare." It can mean, and here does mean, "scared, dreadful, trembling, astonished!" This is abject paralyzing terror!

More specifically, the Holy Spirit gives us the word "charad," Saul greatly "trembled." It means "to shake, to quiver," horror to that degree!

Saul's professional life followed a trajectory of increasing fear it seems! The more he sinned against God, the more fearful and unsure he became! Back in 1st Samuel 17:11, at the Goliath incident, Saul was "dismayed and greatly afraid."

"Greatly," the adverb here, is spelled "meod" and means exceedingly or abundantly.

What made King Saul so scared?

It happened when he "saw" the Philistines. This verb, "raah," means to gaze upon something with perception, with understanding. Saul knew what was coming. The verb is formed in such a way to indicate that the King couldn't quit looking either! Again and again he scanned the massive "host" of Philistines. "Machaneh" just means an enemy encampment. Four times in the King James Bible it is translated "army" or "armies."

What he SAW made him fearful!

It's too bad he could not have been more like Moses! Instead of looking at the enemy, Pharaoh and his hosts, Moses looked at Someone then invisible! "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Hebrews 11:27

Friends, where do we look when troubled comes?

In contrast to Saul here, listen to David the day he battled Goliath. "David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. " Then directly to Goliath: "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands."

How does one explain this kind of attitude?

It a matter of the Spirit of God!

Paul best explains it in 2nd Timothy 1:7, while teaching a timid young Preacher: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Amen!

The very Name of the Holy Spirit, the One Jesus used for Him so lovingly, "Comforter" carries, at least partly, the idea of boldness! It has a Latin background. The "fort" in Comforter is the Latin noun "fortis." It means fortitude, bravery, stamina, or boldness!

No wonder Daniel and Shadrach and the Disciples after Pentecost and countless other Believers have refused to succumb to slavish fear!

They were filled with the Spirit!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

The King, Saul of Israel, is ready to go to war!

But, especially with his godly Prophet now being dead, he needs a "word" from the Lord. Samuel always seemed to live in communion with Jehovah, and his presence was sorely missed.

Therefore we are told: "And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets." 1st Samuel 28:6

The Holy Spirit here is giving us a "play" on words. The name "Saul" in Hebrew is spelled "shaul" and means "asked" or "desired." And the verb used here for "enquire" is spelled "shaal." See the similarity? These words have the same consonants, the same root, the same stem! To enquire is "to ask, request, beg, desire or borrow!" Four times in the Bible it's even "demand!"

Saul, backslidden and rebellious as he is, knows God must be consulted! His Wisdom is needed. But when the "asker," that's Saul himself, seeks God's help ... no answer comes! The "asker" indeed does  "ask" ... but to no avail! 

This "enquiring" of the Lord is something young David has been doing for years, successfully too! See verses like 1st Samuel 23:2. "Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah." And David is not even King yet!

Saul's iniquities have apparently offended God so deeply that the Almighty has cut off communication!

The verb "answered," which God did NOT do for Saul, is spelled "anah." It means "to respond, to testify, to speak or even to shout!" This verb is built as a "perfect" in Hebrew, meaning that the time action it depicts is "finished or completed!" God did not answer ... nor was He going to do so!

Without doubt the most deserted person on earth is the individual with whom God will not speak!

Even a sinner is promised God's ear upon his repenting and seeking mercy and forgiveness! Of course I realize that the Holy Spirit must have been working in that life. Otherwise the sinner would have no desire to come in the first place.

But still, God will answer!

Not so with Saul.

Many now will disagree with what I am about to say. It is possible for a man or woman to so sin and rebel and reject God ... again and again and again ... until one passes a deadline of grace, even the Grace of God! "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man." Genesis 6:3

Furthermore, a man's own stubbornness and persistence in sin can close the communication gap between him and God. Psalm 66:18 clearly says, "If I regard iniquity in mine heart, the Lord will not hear me."

And the New Testament gives one instance of Jesus refusing to speak to a man, a King nonetheless! Read this account carefully now. Notice the capitalized words. Just before Jesus' Crucifixion this occurred. The Lord was already under arrest and being interrogated. "When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate." Luke 23:6-11

I suspect that Herod, who cruelly murdered John the Baptist, had sinned away any day of Grace in his life.

Jesus answered him nothing!

Today if you are studying here and God is talking to you, through His Holy Spirit and the precious Word of God, shout Hallelujah!

Praise His Good Name!

To live in communion with the Holy Spirit!

To abide with Jesus!

To be a friend of God!

What a blessing!

Thank you, Lord!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The Lord answered not King Saul "neither by dreams" or any other way!

"And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets."

The way 1st Samuel 28:6 is framed dreams apparently were a viable means of revelation in Old Testament days.

Indeed they were.

But still one had to be careful, very careful!

Here's a short list of men who had dreams ... from the Lord mind you ... in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Jacob dreamed, gloriously so! "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." Genesis 28:12

Joseph was famous for his dreams, God often revealing the future through them! "And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more." Genesis 37:5

God even spoke to Pharaoh through dreams, and Abimelech earlier ... both heathen Kings! "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it." Genesis 41:15

In those olden days, before the Word of God was complete, the Lord on occasion chose to speak to His Prophets through dreams. "And He said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." Numbers 12:6

Solomon dreamed too, receiving a promise from God. "In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee." 1st Kings 3:5

Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar's classic dream in Daniel chapter 2 revealed God's broad plan for world government!

Daniel also had prophetic dreams. "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters." Daniel 7:1

Even in early New Testament days Joseph, espoused to Mary the Virgin, dreamed. "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:20

Even Pilate's wife dreamed, although her politician husband ignored the warning. "When Pilate was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." Matthew 27:19

But all dreams are not from God! Many Biblical warnings are issued in their regard. "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." Jude 8

False prophets lie about dreams as well, for example Jeremiah 23:27. "Which think to cause my people to forget My Name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten My Name for Baal." Also the Lord says, "Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD." Jeremiah 23:32

All these people, the good ones anyway ... but not Saul!

He had deeply grieved the Lord. So much so that all lines of communication had now been cut, by God Himself!

Let this quickly be said however. We now dispensationally live in the Age of Grace, the Church Age! We have a completed Bible, 66 Books with 1,189 chapters! Nothing is lacking in the Word of God!

Today God speaks through His precious Word!

And He now guides via the leadership of the Holy Spirit Who, unlike Old Testament times, now indwells every Believer in Christ Jesus!

Dreams are no longer a trustworthy way of communication, not from God to man. They just can't compare to the Third Member of the Godhead who never contradicts, but always guides ... through Scripture!

Simon Peter once told us that the Word of God, its brilliant accounts and inerrant messages, are so clear and powerful that they constitute "a more sure word of prophecy" than even being present with Jesus ... by His side ... when He was on earth! Even including such dramatic events as the Transfiguration! See 2nd Peter 1:19 and its context.

But back to Saul, poor King Saul, his sin had blocked communion with the Lord!

Nothing heard ... not even by dreams!

Sad!

If you've heard from God today, through the Bible and the sweet illumination of the Holy Spirit, get up from your studies right now and shout all over the room! Praise the Lord!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

God was silent!

Saul, King of Israel, could get no divine guidance at all!

"And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets." 1st Samuel 28:6

The word "urim" is spelled "uriym" in Hebrew. It seems to mean "light" and is here expressed in the plural. The root of the noun means "flame." One source says it means "to be luminous."

Of the seven times it's mentioned in Scripture five of those occurrences link the word "Urim" with "Thummim." The last term here means "perfection."

It is believed by most Bible Teachers that these two items were "stones," likely small and smooth, that slipped into a pouch on the back of the High Priest's breastplate. Whereupon, when needing counsel from the Lord, the Priest would draw forth one or the other of the two, thereby indicating "yes" or "no" from the Lord. Obviously the stones would have to be different in some respect, probably in color. Psalm 43:3, a prayer, might be a veiled reference to such a policy of guidance: "O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles." The word "light" indicating the "Urim" and "truth" being the "perfections" or "Thummim" of the pair! Come to think of it, when Jesus spoke of true worship being in "spirit" and in "truth," there again we have "light" and "perfection!"

The first time Aaron is mentioned wearing the breastplate with the enclosed Urim and Thummim, the glorious breastplate is associated with "judgment!" Exodus 28:30 records: "And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD."

When Joshua was ordained as Moses' successor, he was given access to the High Priest with his Urim and Thummim as a normal privilege of his new office. "And he (Joshua) shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation." Numbers 27:21

In Deuteronomy 33:8 Levi is praised and honored for his godly living. There the use of the Urim and Thummim seem to be God's signs of approval on his life! Of course the priests of Israel descended from the tribe of Levi, family of Aaron.

And in Ezra 2:63, questionable priests could not partake in the holy things, their "papers" not being in order, until a priest with the Urim and Thummim could be put into office to decide the issue. "And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim." This is apparently so important that it is recorded again in Nehemiah 7:65.

The point is this. None of these honors and privileges were accorded to King Saul, not now! He was completely "cut off" from God. Even godly Samuel had died according to 1st Samuel 25:1. "And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah."

If is one thing to say God did not speak to Saul by dreams!

It's quite another, he being the King of Israel, to be left unguided by Urim!

Let me say this once.

The price of sin in Saul's life, his rebellion and stubbornness, was cataclysmic!

Deadly!

Over the top!

It cost him his very "communion" with God!

Don't misunderstand. He's still a King! And still an Israelite! And when he died, he went to the same place Samuel did apparently, based on 1st Samuel 28:19. But ... still out of "fellowship" with God!

And in case you feel that is too harsh of the Lord, read Psalm 66:18. That's still in the Bible! "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."

That verse would even be true of you and me, wouldn't it?

Enough has been said.

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

God absolutely refused to communicate with King Saul of Israel, not even by means of His Prophets!

The major Prophet of Saul's day was Samuel. "And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD." So says 1st Samuel 3:20. And both 2nd Chronicles 35:18 and Acts 13:20 simply identify Samuel as a "prophet!" They approvingly mention, "Samuel the prophet."

But Saul's problem lies partly in the fact that Samuel has died. This occurred back in 1st Samuel 25:1. "And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah." His death is even mentioned again in our chapter, 1st Samuel 28:3. "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."

God, by His very Nature, is a Communicator. He originally, in Eden, came down each day and communed with Adam and Eve. "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Genesis 3:8 uses two continuous action verb forms for "heard" and "walking." God came repeatedly!

After man's sin, the Fall of Adam and Eve, God communed through other means. Blood sacrifice was man's way of approaching the Lord. Generally speaking the head of the house in Israel, the man, represented God to his family and his family to God. He was the teacher.

After the giving of the Law the Levites and Priests became the holy men of God. Their foremost task was to teach the things of God to the people He loved. For a while they did so, but eventually lapsed into lethargy and ultimately apostasy!

Then come the Prophets!

Bold men!

Men who rebuked and corrected and threatened ... in the Name of God!

Think Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah!

Dozens of them, if not hundreds!

God called, Spirit led, bold as lions!

Some unnamed, some nearly unknown, a few still prominent to a handful of Christians in our day, Isaiah for example.

By the way, who is your "prophet" hero?

I like Micaiah who so boldly reproved wicked King Ahab!

Anyway, Saul the King had drifted so far from God, light years away spiritually, that God had cut off all communication.

"And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets." 1st Samuel 28:6

I can't immediately think of another Israelite King who could not get a single word from God!

Surprisingly, King Manasseh did!

And Ahab, husband of Jezebel, heard!

Even the weaklings at the end did, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah.

But not Saul!

How destitute he must have been!

"Is God being fair?" the skeptic might ask.

Wait a minute.

The Lord just showed me something.

Saul did have a Bible!

A scroll copied just for him! Or at least he was supposed to have one!

Read these verses. They are important. "When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel." Deuteronomy 17:14-20

See the capitalized words please.

Every King was commanded to keep a copy of the Law, at least the five Books of Moses. Also, by Saul's day, others Books of the Bible were already written or being written.

And the King was to read that Word, learning it and obeying it "all the days of his life!"

True, God did not answer Saul by dreams!

Not by Urim!

And not even a Prophet could be found!

But, the Word!

The precious Word was available!

Perhaps Saul was reaching for something a little more dramatic, a little more multi-media than just a Book!

But God repeatedly has emphasized this fact: if one does not respond to Scripture, he will not listen to anyone or anything else either!

Even to this extent: "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:31

Peter even, when describing the great Transfiguration of Jesus, said that us folks who could not be there that day, still had "a more sure word of prophecy!" Something better than seeing Jesus in Person, than watching Him glow so brightly with the Glory of God, than hearing Him preach? Yes! The precious Word of God. After talking about that manifested Glory of Christ Jesus Peter said: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Obviously by the context here in 2nd Peter 1:19-21 the Bible is in view!

Perhaps if Saul had possessed a higher degree of love and respect for Scripture he could have got some guidance during those dark days.

He even knew David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, who was already writing Holy Ghost inspired Psalms no doubt!

In fact, if Saul had nurtured a deep and abiding love for the Writings of God, the Scriptures, he might never have sinned so rebelliously in the first place!

Long live the Word!

Oh, yes! "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Psalm 119:89

Amen!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 7:

King Saul, frustrated at having received no word from God, sought elsewhere!

If dreams and Urim and Prophets all failed him, surely there was another way!

"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." 1st Samuel 28:7

Saul knew this was a wrong approach to God!

He knew the Law of God, even having his own personal copy ... by command of God! "And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel." Deuteronomy 17:18-20

This Law taught Saul: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18

Even he himself had earlier banned such people from the land. "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." 1st Samuel 28:3

The verb "seek" implies that a "witch" might be hard to find. "Baqash," even in the imperative mood as here, means "to require or to desire or even to beg!" Plus, it's a Piel stem verb in our Passage, certainly indicating great urgency and emotion!

A "familiar spirit" is spelled "ob" in Hebrew, just "ob." It means something like this: "to mumble a name." Or "to call a person from beyond the dead, using a hollow deep voice!" One source says, "a from of ventriloquism, apparently with the belief that the spirit of the dead man would talk!"

Saul is going to hear from God ... whether God wants to speak or not! See the stubbornness in this man? The utter rebellion? The predisposition to witchcraft?

To "enquire" is "darash" and means "to ask or seek," but in this sense, "to go somewhere frequently!" And here the verb's particular sense of action allows that interpretation, going somewhere again and again!

Now notice this.

Saul's "servants," in Hebrew "ebed" or common slaves, knew right where such a woman lived, even though her presence was illegal!  "Ebed" derives from "abad," to work hard!

Does this again at least imply Saul's familiarity with such things?

She lived at Endor, a little hamlet in the territory of Issachar near Jezreel. It was here that Sisera and the Midianite host perished at the hand of Barak and Deborah ... and Jael! See Psalm 83:10.

Endor in Hebrew is spelled "eyn dor." It means the "eye" ("ayin") and "circle or revolution" ("dor") in the sense of a cycle of time, perhaps being a picture of eternity!

Saul went to a place that promised him a view of eternity.

And that's exactly what he got!

By the next day he was dead!

If saved, Saul had certainly committed what John the Apostle would later call "the sin unto death."

If lost, he had fallen into the trap called by Jesus "the unpardonable sin!"

A sad ending to such a once promising life!

All because he did not listen and love and honor and obey the voice of God, the Word of God ... when he had the opportunity!

Folks, if God is not speaking ... no "short-cut" will prove advantageous!

The witch, surprisingly and with God Almighty intervening, did call Samuel back from the grave, at least his spirit!

And here's what Saul heard: "Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? 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: 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. 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." 1st Samuel 28:16-19

In everyday language: tomorrow you die!

Looks like a man, continuing in his utter rebellion, will some day indeed hear God speak!

And it might be words like this: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Jesus told us this in Matthew 25:41.

Are you saved?

Is the Spirit of God "tugging" at your heart right now?

If so, heed the Voice of God!

Again, the words of Jesus. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

Amen!

 

THIS HAS BEEN A SOBERING STUDY ... HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD! IF HE IS TALKING TO YOU DAY BY DAY, THROUGH HIS WORD AND HIS HOLY SPIRIT, PRAISE THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART! ALL SUCH BLESSINGS COME THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS SHED BLOOD ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY!

 

 

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