What do we do in our hour of extremity? Do we hold on to our conviction, honesty and integrity or do we resort to our days of depravity when we didn’t know the Lord? It’s in the hour of extremity when the genuineness of our faith, conviction and conversion comes out.
I. King Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land.
A. “Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land” (1 Samuel 28:3).
B. “The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death” (1 Samuel 28:9)?
C. Why had he done so is not given. But the Scripture clearly warns against resorting to sorcerers, mediums, necromancers, fortunetellers and those who inquire of the dead:
1. “You shall not permit a sorceress to live” (Exodus 22:18).
2. “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:31).
3. “A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:27).
4. “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead… “ (Deuteronomy 18:10, 11).
How many of God’s people turn to these even today, bringing dishonour and disgrace to their holy God!
II. King Saul inquired of the LORD but received no reply. God had turned against him and become his enemy.
A. The Philistines had gathered to make war. “The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa.
B. King Saul was afraid and trembled greatly. “When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly” (1 Samuel 28:4,5).
C. He inquired of the LORD but received no answer. “And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6).
D. The LORD had turned against him and become his enemy. “And Samuel said, ‘Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy” (1 Samuel 28:16).
III. King Saul was in great distress.
A. Samuel was dead. “Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city” (1 Samuel 28:3).
B. God was not answering him. King Saul was in great distress. “Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do” (1 Samuel 28:15).
C. Rather than humbling and correcting himself before the Lord, he resorted to what he had first destroyed. He turned to a medium in his extremity. “Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor” (1 Samuel 28:7).
IV. King Saul received a message far from one of comfort and assurance.
A. “And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy?
B. “The LORD has done to you as he spoke by me, for the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.
C. “Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day.
D. “Moreover, the LORD will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me.
E. “The LORD will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines” (1 Samuel 28:16-19).
Even then, King Saul did not repent but went to his destruction. He was afraid yet unrepentant. How many of us are the same!
Was it really Samuel‘s spirit or some other satanic spirit has been the point of much discussion among God’s people. It could have been Samuel himself whom the Lord graciously allowed to come or some other spirit whom the Lord sovereignly used to warn King Saul.
What do we do in our hour of extremity? Do we go back to our old life-style or do we cling to the Lord in repentance and faith?
(Rev. Richard Masih, New Delhi).