Beware: Do Not Play with Fire

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 28:4-7 (NIV)
The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. 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.”

1 Samuel 28:4-7(MSG)
The Philistines had mustered their troops and camped at Shunem. Saul had assembled all Israel and camped at Gilboa. But when Saul saw the Philistine troops, he shook in his boots, scared to death. Saul prayed to God, but God didn’t answer—neither by dream nor by sign nor by prophet. So Saul ordered his officials, “Find me someone who can call up spirits so I may go and seek counsel from those spirits.” His servants said, “There’s a witch at Endor.”
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“The Philistines assembled and came and camped at Shunem; and Saul gathered all the Israelites and they camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid and badly shaken. So Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim [used like lots by the priest to determine the will of God] or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Find for me a woman who is a medium [between the living and the dead], so that I may go to her and ask her advice.” His servants said to him, “There is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.” -AMPLIFIED

We left David in Gath, a kingdom that belonged to the Philistines; enemies of Israel. There, David was under the jurisdiction of Achish. In the opening verses of chapter 28 we find this bit of an update, “In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “Understand for certain that you and your men will go out with me to battle.” David said to Achish, “All right, you shall know what your servant can do.” So Achish said to David, “Therefore I will make you my bodyguard for life.” -1 Samuel 28:1-2 (AMP)

We are reminded that by this point in time Samuel had passed. He was the last of the great judges and apparently there was not even a prophet of God to take his place. Scripture tells us that Saul had long since cleaned out all those who held séances with the dead; which was a good thing, mind you.

Saul heard that the Philistines were rallying their troops against him. His greatest champion, David, was now living in the Philistine kingdom and he had no way of knowing that David was still fighting for Israel behind Achish’s back. Saul gathered his troops together at Gilboa to set up camp and face the enemy, but when he saw the size of the Philistine army he was shaken to the core.

He was so shaken that he called on the Lord, but God did not answer him. Saul had refused to do things God’s way for so long; it makes you wonder why he would even inquire of the Lord at this point. Saul had refused to obey God time and time again. He must have finally hit rock bottom for him to actually set aside his pride and ask for God’s help. The sad thing is that his heart still was not right and God knew that; hence why He did not answer. “Saul asked the Eternal for guidance, but He did not give him an answer, neither in dreams nor by consulting the Urim nor through prophecy.” -(VOICE)

We then find Saul doing something that was very stupid and foolish. As a last resort Saul orders his servants to find him a medium; someone who can give him guidance. He was truly hard up by this time. Samuel was gone, David his champion it appeared had defected, and God would not answer his call; what was he to do? Who could he go to in order to seek counsel? He chose to go to a witch; someone who had been explicitly banned by God.

God’s view point of witchcraft is very strong, “When you enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable (repulsive) practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire [as a sacrifice], one who uses divination and fortune-telling, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a charm or spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or a necromancer [who seeks the dead]. For everyone who does these things is utterly repulsive to the Lord; and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God is driving them out before you.” -Deuteronomy 18:9-12(AMP)

Saul knew what he was doing was wrong, but in sheer panic he continued on with his hair-brain idea. We know that he understood the sinfulness of what he was doing by his actions. “Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes. Then, taking two men with him, he went under the cover of night to the woman and said, “I want you to consult a ghost for me. Call up the person I name.” -1 Samuel 28:8 (MSG)

It is a dangerous thing to dabble in things that God has commanded us to not be a part of. Everything that had any connection with the detestable practices of the nations, the fortune-telling, divination, omens, sorcery, spells, charms, and spiritualists, they are all an abomination, repulsive to God. As children of the Most High we are to stay far away from these things.

Saul needed to do this, “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” -James 4:7 (AMP)

It is a dangerous thing to trifle with sin; especially the sins of witchcraft. Remember, “Everyone who does these things is utterly repulsive to the Lord.” Saul is playing with fire and sadly he is about to get burned. We will look at what happens to him as he encounters the witch of Endor tomorrow. Today, let us take with us the importance of obeying the Lord our God; as well as the need to flee from all evil.

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to remain true to you. I submit to you and your authority over me. Give me the strength to stand firm against the Enemy, to resist him. Lord, when I feel that I cannot stand against him, remind me that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. God, I am holding tight to your hand. Help me to do what is right and bring glory to your Name.

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