"The woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hurried and killed it, and took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread. Then she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate."
I Samuel 28: 24, 25, Amplified Bible
" What Evil Looks Like"
"No player hath so many dresses to come in upon the stage with as the devil hath forms of temptation."
Have I ever found myself deceived by something or someone only later to find I had fallen into a trap, lured by a false disguise?
"The devil shapes himself to the fashion of men (and women)."
"The devil often transforms himself into an angel to tempt us."
Augustine of Hippo
Not long ago I read a story about a classroom of children who were asked by their teacher to draw a picture of a person. As the teacher walked around the room, she noted that some pictures were labeled, "mom." Other pictures were identified as "dad" or "brother and sister."
Finally, the teacher came to a young girl who was drawing a picture that was not identified and she inquired, "Who are you drawing?" The young girl quickly informed her teacher, "I'm drawing a picture of God." The teacher responded by saying, "Well, Becky, no one knows what God really looks like." And without hesitation Becky immediately responded, "Oh, but now they will."
I like this story because it is a perfect example of how each one of us comes up with preconceived ideas about how people look and act. Whether it's because of early childhood teachings at home, school, or church, we all have conceptions of the way we think people look. And in the spiritual realm, we may even believe we have a concept of how God looks and even how the devil looks.
Perhaps because of artist's depictions through the years, I know that for awhile, my childish notion of how evil presented itself came down to the vision of a weird-looking creature that had a tail, pointed ears, ghoulish smile and a pitchfork. This was evil or the devil, in my mind.
But as time has passed and I've read the Bible, I've come to recognize that evil frequently doesn't come to us in some frightening portrayal. Evil is much more subtle.
There's no place in Scripture where this point is made as clearly as in Genesis 3: 1 (Amplified Bible) where we are given this descriptive view of "evil:" "Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field." Evil didn't come to Eve in the form of a scary, knife-wielding demon. Evil came in the disguise of an alluring, talking serpent that wooed its potential victim with crafty cleverness.
While we found King Saul engaged his servants to help him hunt down evil -- it was not found in the form of some creepy being. Evil came to Saul as a kindly woman. If we read every word in I Samuel 28, we'll note that Saul was so overwhelmed by the dire situation he found himself in that while at the "medium's" house, he "fell full" upon the earth. This description sounds as though he fainted. And who responded to his needs -- it was the woman of Endor who quickly fixed him a meal and encouraged him to eat.
As I studied what other writers had to say about the woman of Endor, I found great disagreement. One well-known Christian writer painted a picture of a "crone"-like elderly woman who lived in a cave. She painted a picture of a wild-haired crazy woman. But as another writer observed, nowhere in Scripture is this frightening portrayal displayed. While the woman is identified as a medium, most Biblical translations don't even use the word "witch." Let me be clear though, King Saul was on forbidden territory, when in direct disobedience to God's instructions, he sought advice from a "medium" -- an individual God had told His children to stay away from.
Sadly, as King Saul was in the habit of doing, he contradicted God's advice by seeking out someone who would calm his fears and make him feel good. What he got was what he wanted. The devil fulfilled his need for solace by luring him with the kindness of a woman who looked after the distraught Saul.
This story has such a powerful lesson for each of us for in my own life, evil has never walked in my door carrying a pitchfork -- at least not one I could identify immediately! Instead, evil has often disguised itself in ways that lured me in; ways that took me completely off guard; ways that made me feel comfortable and at ease. Before I could figure out I'd been duped, I was caught in a trap that was difficult to escape from.
The reason God told His children to stay away from all that defiled was because He understood that many times evil doesn't attack us where we are the most strong, but instead comes to us where we are weakest. As R. T. Kendall correctly states: "As an angel of light the devil is utterly self-effacing, so that you would never think to charge him with the sudden trouble that has emerged." And for King Saul, the evil that befell him came in the form of a woman in Endor who was kind enough to feed him what he wanted in a moment of despair. Evil arrived with a plate of food. No wonder God said, "Don't mess with evil."
"Fence me about, O Lord,
with the power of Thine
honourable and life-giving
Cross, and preserve me
from every evil."
"Circle me Lord
keep protection near
and danger afar
Circle me Lord
Keep hope within
Keep doubt without
Circle me Lord
Keep light near
and darkness afar
Circle me Lord
Keep peace within
Keep evil out."
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. The book, When A Woman Meets Jesus can be purchased wherever Christian books are sold. They can also be purchased for $8.00 through Paypal at www.transformationgarden.com or by calling our office toll-free at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.