Highlights:

Philistines declare war, Is David caught on the wrong side (I Sam. 28:1-2)? Saul consults a witch (28:7-20); Saul's death foretold (28:19); Israel is defeated; Saul and his sons die tragically (31:2-6).

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 (Samuel 28:7).

It is truly sad to see how far this man, who was chosen of God to be Israel's first earthly king, had fallen. Samuel had gone to be with God. Saul could not turn to him. He tried to seek counsel with God. However, God would not answer him.

What was Saul's solution to his problem? Would he seek out another prophet of God? Would he repent of his disobedience and continue seeking the face of God? No, none of these were to be his answer. Saul decided to turn to a witch empowered by demons to try to speak to Samuel's ghost.

It had been Saul under the guidance of God who had banned such evil practices (28:9). This did not matter to Saul anymore. His disobedience to God had polluted his reasoning. He wanted guidance and it looks like He had little concern on how he obtained it. He had cut himself off from following God. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isa. 59:2).

Saul was quickly exposed. His sins were revealed to him. There is no escape for any wrong actions in life except through godly repentance. Saul's problem had often been that he sought his direction from himself instead of God. He had a history of following God to a point, but not if it was against what he wanted to do.

If any have a desire to really serve God, they must serve Him completely. There is really no halfway in serving God. You may have heard the phrase that someone might be "riding the fence". There is no fence. It is either God's side or the side of the enemy (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13). Those who serve God serve Him fully. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him (John 4:23).

Many are finding it hard to follow the path of God because they are continually making stops or getting off the road completely. Think about it this way. If you set out on a cross country trip, you would probably have some pretty good directions as to where you were going. What would happen if you just abandoned those directions and just asked any person you came across how to get there? You might catch a break and get good directions, or you might not. That would be a very risky move, especially when you had the map in your hand. Think of the guidance we have. There is the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the counsel of true believers. Forget substitute directions. We have God directions!

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ (II Thes. 3:5).

Thought for Today:

The consequences of disobeying God are always bitter in the end.

Christ Revealed:

Through the Urim (I Sam. 28:6), which was used to determine the will of God. Today Christ speaks to us through His Spirit and when we read His Word. God . . . Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (Heb. 1:1-2). When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come (John 16:13).

Word Studies:

28:2 keeper of mine head, permanent captain of my bodyguard; 28:7 familiar spirit, demonic spirit that works through a medium, spiritualist, witch, or fortune-teller (Lev. 19:31; 20:6,27; Deut. 18:9-12); 28:14 mantle, robe; 28:15 sore, deeply; 28:21 sore, severely; 29:3 fell unto me, joined me; 30:12 his spirit came again to him, he revived; 30:21 saluted, greeted; 30:31 wont to haunt, accustomed to stay; 31:2 followed hard upon, overtook; 31:3 sore, badly.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Ben Wallace • International Broadcasts sponsored by Donna Bell • Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville, TN • Country: Azerbaijan (7.7 million) southern Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia • Major languages: Azeri and Russian • Religious freedom • 65% Shi'a Muslim; 30% Sunni Muslim; 2% Russian Orthodox; 2% Armenian Apostolic; 1% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to work in your life in whatever way pleases Him (Heb. 13:21).

Optional Reading: Acts 11

Memory Verse for the Week: John 11:25