Highlights In Today's Reading:
Saul murders all the priests (22:18) and also is left without Samuel to guide him. The night before his battle with the Philistines in desperation he seeks to consult with the witch of Endor. Why is this wrong? Does he understand the message Samuel gave him? Notice how the Lord keeps David from being involved in this battle and how both Saul and Jonathan are slain.
Saul was panic stricken when the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek (29:1) and encamped against his armies at Mt. Gilboa. When Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not (28:5-6). David, the champion against the Philistines whom Saul was attempting to kill, was somewhere hiding from him; and Samuel, the prophet whom Saul had ignored for years, was dead. How could he forget that he had commanded Doeg to murder all the priests or could Saul forget that Samuel had declared: Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king? (15:23).
Saul offered a hurried prayer to God, who alone controls the destiny of all battles; but he did not receive an answer from God. How could he expect an answer when he had murdered all the priests? He knew that mediums, spiritualists, witches, and fortune-tellers are an abomination unto the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). In fact, earlier Saul had banished them from the land (I Samuel 28:3). However, in desperation, he foolishly decided to get advice from the witch of Endor. Saul traveled on his mule through the night to seek counsel from the witch of Endor, a small village on the northern slope of Little Hermon, about six miles southeast of Nazareth, so that the Philistine camp lay between it and Gilboa where Saul and his armies were positioned. How pathetic to see King Saul on that fearful ride that dark night. He probably kept to the east of Jezreel, crossed the valley, and then went over the shoulder of Little Hermon to Endor. Saul was a man to whom God had given great opportunities by raising him to a powerful position of leadership to reign over the Israelite kingdom and endowing him with special prophetic gifts, but his hardness of heart and self-will now had disqualified him as a recipient of God's grace. Because of Saul's history of stubbornly choosing his own way rather than God's way, Saul was disqualified to receive God's blessing.
As we read God's Word, we recognize the evil of seeking guidance from those who use crystal balls, palm-reading, or fortune-telling, in fact, it is an insult to God. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). The fearful, and unbelieving . . . and sorcerers, and idolaters . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).
Thought for Today:
The Christian must always trust and believe the Word of God above every voice or counselor because this world hates the authority of God.
By David who was betrayed by his countrymen, the Ziphites of Juda (I Samuel 26:1). Jesus was betrayed by His countrymen who cried: We have no king but Caesar (John 19:15).
28:2 keeper of mine head =captain of my bodyguard; 28:7 a familiar spirit =demonic spirit that works through a medium, spiritualist, witch, or fortune-teller (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:9-12); 28:14 mantle =robe; 28:15 sore =deeply; 29:3 fell unto me =came over and joined me; 30:12 his spirit came again to him =he revived; 30:31 wont to haunt =accustomed to stay; 31:2 followed hard upon =overtook him; 31:3 went sore =went badly.
Pray for The Arabic, English, and Spanish International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by M Ora Anderon • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Country: Kyrgyzstan (4.7 million) eastern central Asia • Major languages: Kirghiz and Russian • Religious freedom • 75% Muslim; 20% Russian Orthodox; 5% Other (Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant) • Prayer Suggestion: When discouraged over material or financial loss, praise the Lord for preparing and providing an eternal home (John 14:1-3).
Optional Reading: Acts 11
Memory Verse for the Week: I Samuel 17:47