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Bible Pathways 04/10/2003

April 10

Read I Samuel 28 -- 31

In Today's Reading:

David stays in Philistine territory; Saul is troubled over the Philistine army and consults a witch who claims to contact the dead

After Samuel became judge, the Philistines were so badly defeated because of his prayer meeting at Mizpah that they did not venture into Israel's territory again. The LORD's hand was against the Philistines all of Samuel's days (I Samuel 7:13). But, the conflict with the Philistines was fierce all of Saul's days (14:52).

In the final year of Saul's reign, the Philistines brought all their military units together at Aphek (29:1). Saul panicked when he realized the size and power of the Philistine armies that were ready to attack. Could Saul forget that Samuel had said: Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king (15:23)? Out of jealousy, Saul also had attempted to kill David and forced him into exile. Finally, in desperation, Saul inquired of the LORD (28:6). Since he had murdered the priests of God, how could he rightfully expect an answer? How pathetic it is to see Saul riding through the night, frantically seeking counsel from a fortune-teller in Endor. He knew that mediums, spiritualists, witches, and fortune-tellers are detestable to the LORD (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). In fact, earlier Saul had banished them from the land (I Samuel 28:3). This fortune-teller was no help. Instead, his fears increased even more after the appearance of Samuel, who said: The LORD has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you inquiring of me? (28:16). The next day Saul, along with his sons, including Jonathan, was killed in battle. At last, Saul reaped what he had sown.

Saul's worst enemy was himself. He had lived a self-serving life. Power, wealth, popularity, and talents are often great hindrances to a spiritual life. Some seek guidance from psychics, fortune-tellers, palm readers, and other demon-controlled people, rather than crying out to the Lord in times of great distress and relying upon Him.

True success is the result of seeking the Lord's will through reading His word, while at the same time praying to the Lord for guidance. He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity (Psalms 84:11).

Christ Revealed:

Through the Urim (I Samuel 28:6), which was used to determine God's will. Today Christ speaks to us through His Spirit when we read His word. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come (John 16:13).

Prayer Needs:

Country: Vanuatu (189,000) a group of 12 large islands southwest of the Solomons in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: English and French · Religious freedom · 78% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for national revival, for righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34).

Optional Reading: Acts 11

Memory Verse for the Week: I John 2:5

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