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Bible Pathways 04/10/2002

April 10

Read 1 Samuel 28 -- 31

In Today's Reading:

David is living in Philistine territory when the Philistines and Israel are at war l Some Philistines believe David will join them in battle against the Israelites. But other Philistine leaders refuse to include him l David is dismissed by the Philistines l Saul is troubled over the Philistine army gathering for battle and seeks the advice of a woman who has a familiar spirit (a witch who claims to contact the dead).

Verse for Today:

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 (1 Samuel 28:7).

The Philistines had conquered the Israelites when Eli was judge. But, after Samuel became judge, the Philistines were badly defeated when they attempted to attack Israel during Samuel's prayer meeting at Mizpeh; and, as a result, they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel (1 Samuel 7:13).

Early in Saul's reign, the Lord saved Israel by a great victory over the Philistines (14:5-31); but Saul was not faithful to the Lord. Consequently, there was [fierce] war against the Philistines all the days of Saul (14:52).

In the 40th and final year of Saul's reign, the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites [encamped] by a fountain which is in Jezreel (29:1). Saul was panic stricken when he realized the size and power of the Philistine armies that were ready to attack. Could Saul forget that he had murdered all the Lord's priests. The prophet Samuel was dead, and, out of jealousy, Saul had forced David, the champion over Goliath, into Philistine territory.

Now, Saul was desperate and enquired of the Lord (28:6); but how could he expect an answer when the Lord had become [his] enemy (28:16)? How pathetic it is to see Saul riding through the night, frantically seeking counsel from a woman in Endor who had a familiar spirit. He knew that mediums, spiritualists, witches, and fortune-tellers were an abomination [to] the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Much earlier in his reign he had banished them from the land (1 Samuel 28:3). The fortune-teller was no help to Saul (nor to anyone today), instead his fears increased even more. The next day, Saul, the Crown Prince Jonathan, and his brothers were all killed in battle. In God's time, Saul reaped what he had sown.

Saul did not worship false gods; yet, he was obedient to the Lord only to the extent that it agreed with his own desires.

Saul's worst enemy was not the Philistines, but himself. He had lived a self-serving life with no hint of repentance for past evil actions. Power, wealth, popularity, and talents often become a hindrance to our spiritual lives. True success is the result of seeking the Lord's will, and that is done by reading all the Word of God while at the same time praying for guidance.

Like Saul, some have turned from God to psychics, fortune-tellers, palm readers, and other demon-controlled deceivers. But true peace of mind and assurance is achieved by praying to the Lord in times of great distress, then unconditionally relying upon Him.

We are the property of God, not only because He created us, but because, as Christians, we have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. We, as well as our possessions, gifts, and talents, belong to Him. We are to be managers of His assets which He has entrusted to us, not merely for self-serving purposes, but always to glorify Him.

What a peace of mind it provides to daily pray and read His Word with confidence that the Holy Spirit will direct our thoughts to make right decisions. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalms 84:11).

Christ Revealed:

Through the Urim (1 Samuel 28:6), which was used to determine God's will. Today Christ speaks to us through His Spirit when we read His Word. God . . . [has] in these last days spoken [to] us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). Howbeit 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 [show] you things to come (John 16:13).

Word Studies:

28:2 keeper of mine head = captain of my bodyguard; 28:7 a familiar spirit = demonic spirit that works through 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.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Belarus (10 million) northeastern Europe · Major languages: Belarussian and Russian · Religious freedom · 48% Russian Orthodox; 22% Roman Catholic; 1% Protestant; 1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Praise God for His mercy (Psalms 136:2).

Optional Reading: Acts 11

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 John 2:5

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