I. Saul’s Problematic Situation Vs. 3-6
A. Samuel Had Died V. 3
1. Samuel had been the prophet to the nation. He brought the messages of God to Israel.
2. Samuel had been a counselor to Saul and David, but Saul had quit listening to Samuel.
3. Now that Samuel has died, Saul doesn’t know where to go for counsel.
B. The Philistines Gathered Against Israel V. 4
1. The Philistines were a constant and regular source of danger for Israel.
2. They gathered against Israel, and Saul gathered his troops to meet them.
C. God Would Not Answer Saul Vs. 5, 6
1. Saul had driven the spiritists out of the land according to God’s commandment.
a. There is no place for the occult among God’s people.
b. People may get desperate for guidance and resort to such things.
c. People may find it entertaining and may trifle with it.
d. But the intention of those who work in the occult is to either deceive you for profit, or supposedly help you through contacting spirits that are not from God.
2. Acts 13:6-11 describes what the occult is all about. 6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”
3. Saul had previously followed God’s ways and had great courage (1 Samuel 11:6-11).
4. Saul began to lose his courage when the Holy Spirit withdrew from him (1 Samuel 16:14), and after Samuel died, Saul felt the terrible loneliness of having no connection with God.
5. Guzik- Why is God silent towards Saul? Won’t God answer everyone who seeks Him? Not always; not when a man is in a place of judgment as Saul is. King Saul has rejected and is currently rejecting God’s previously revealed will. Since Saul doesn’t care to obey God in what he already knows, God will not give him more to know. Saul knew that God did not want him hunting David, hoping to kill him.
D. The Application For Us
1. Old Testament saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but Christians do have the Holy Spirit which indwells them at the point of the conversion.
a. John 14:25, 26 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
2. The Christian doesn’t need a prophet, etc., to have a connection with God. The Holy Spirit can illuminate God’s word to us and give us counsel, direction, & wisdom. But we must become increasingly familiar with the word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to become familiar with God’s voice.
3. It is sad that so many people experience disaster before they develop a prayer life.
a. But once you’re in a storm, it’s terribly late to learn how to sail the boat.
b. Once you’re in a battle, it’s terribly late to learn to use your sword.
4. Saul had lived in his sin as long as it was convenient for him, and now he’s trying to hear from God. That’s not the way for a believer to live.
II. Saul Seeks Out Ungodly Counsel Vs. 7-25
A. Saul Meets The Medium Vs. 7-11
1. V. 7 The Hebrew word for medium is owb, and it has the idea of “mumbling” or speaking with a strange, hollow sound. This woman would conjure or pretend to conjure up the dead in order to communicate with them on behalf of their customer.
a. Guzik- Saul recognized that a medium would likely be a woman. It is a persistent fact that women are more drawn to such occultic arts than men are. There seems to be a spiritual sensitivity that is more acute and higher in women than in men. They are often more sensitive to the Lord than are men. They are also often more easily spiritually deceived than are men.
2. V. 8 Saul brought upon himself a curse from God. He wore a disguise. He knew it was sin
a. Exodus 22:18 “You shall not allow a sorceress to live.”
b. Leviticus 19:31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.’
3. Vs. 9-11 Saul swore in the name of Jehovah that she would be safe. Deep sin from Saul.
4. You will never accomplish God’s will by doing what is an abomination to the Lord.
a. Diviners, witches, tarot cards, Ouija boards, horoscopes, astrology, psychics, etc.
b. There is never a godly reason for a Christian to be involved in any of these things.
c. People put themselves in danger of demonic deception, and of the discipline of God.
B. Samuel Is Revealed Vs. 12-14
1. We don’t know how the medium did her thing, but we don’t need to know.
2. Some psychics are tricksters, others interact with demons who masquerade as people.
3. But when the woman began her black arts, she freaked out because she saw Samuel.
4. This had never happened before – the real guy was arising, coming up from the abode of the dead. How do I know it was the real Samuel? The Scriptures tell us. Vs. 12, 15, 16.
5. NOTE- Samuel really came, but not because the medium called for him.
a. Samuel appeared because God had a special purpose for it.
b. God is using Samuel to rebuke Saul and to tell him that he will soon die.
c. This could have also included an act of mercy from God, so that Saul might prepare himself to die, and to rightly repent before God.
C. Samuel Brings Bad News To Saul Vs. 15-19
1. V. 15 It is interesting that Samuel objects to being disturbed. He was in the place called “the bosom of Abraham” which was the place of the righteous dead.
2. It had been about 15 years since Saul disobeyed God regarding Amalek.
3. Perhaps Saul thought that God might change his mind about the consequences of his disobedience. That was not going to happen. Saul would lose his throne.
4. The fullness of Saul’s sin was finally being felt after 15 years.
a. NOTE- We can think that sin won’t be as bad as it will eventually be.
b. Saul’s sin has come to its ultimate conclusion.
c. Even n ow, we see no repentance in Saul. No confession of sin. Only self-concern.
D. Saul’s Response To Samuel’s Message Vs. 20-25
1. Saul knew the truth – God had forsaken him, and he was going to die tomorrow.
2. His strength left him and he was terrified. His opportunities to repent had passed by.
E. Can A Person Go Too Far?
John 12:37-40 37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”