Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Twenty-Eight]: Is it OK to Consult Mediums? In this chapter the Philistines gather against Saul and he consults a medium for advice. In the séance he asks that Samuel appear and speak to him. Did Saul actually conjure up Samuel or a demon masquerading as Samuel? Can the dead be brought up this way? If it is POSSIBLE is it ACCEPTABLE for believers to do such things? What was the result of Saul’s experience? These and other compelling questions are answered in this chapter as we study it.
[1Sa 28:1-25 KJV] 1 And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel. And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men. 2 And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever. 3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. 4 And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. 5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. 6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. 7 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. 8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me [him] up, whom I shall name unto thee.
In the previous chapter David despairs of the situation with Saul changing and as a result repairs to Achish king of the Philistines and becomes a mercenary. In due time the Philistines marshal their armies for a fresh campaign against the nation of Israel. Achish is interested in David fighting with him against Israel because in so doing this would cut David off altogether from his native people and therefore cement David’s employ with Achish as a mercenary. During his time with Achish David fought against the other enemies of Israel such as the Amalekites while at the same time telling Achish that he is running raids into Judah and the king believed it. Therefore when Achish informs David of his plans to go against Israel David assures him that he will be a trustworthy ally against Israel. David is obfuscating. There is a difference between discretion and lying. Just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean you are obligated to answer. Learn to be a gatherer of information and not a dispenser of information. Jesus did this through out His ministry – customarily answering questions with questions when His adversaries attempted to snare Him in His words.
Samuel is dead. His death is first recording in 1 Sam. 25:1 but is mentioned here to show the vacuum of prophetic leadership over the nation of Israel. As a result in a state of fear concerning the Israelites purposes to consult a medium to raise up the spirit of Samuel to speak to him. This is a very controversial passage of scripture that raises many questions. Is it possible to consult with the dead? Did the medium actually conjured up Samuel or was it a demon masquerading as Samuel. If it was Samuel was this something that God allowed just one time or was something else happening? We need to understand that not everything that is spiritual is necessarily godly or arising from God Himself. Saul seeks a medium because he is afraid. Many times people approach the prophetic today because they are insecure or afraid and they expect the prophets to interact with them in the same way a clairvoyant or psychic medium would. One of the primary ways this happens is when a person inquires of the prophet but holds back information or secrets about their life to see if the prophet will divine the secret. This is patent unbelief. 1 Cor. 14:22 says that prophesy is for the believer not the unbeliever. 1 Cor. 14:24,25 says that when secrets are revealed by a prophet it is because of unbelief. We need to grow up in this area. Are you consulting a psychic or a prophet? Do you believe the prophets? Then our interaction with the prophetic must rise above the level of a spiritual parlor trick.
9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? 10 And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. 11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. 12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou [art] Saul. 13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. 14 And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself. 15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. 16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? 17 And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, [even] to David: 18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. 19 Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow [shalt] thou and thy sons [be] with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. 20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.
When this woman conjured up the spirit of Samuel notice that she cries out with a loud voice. That tells me that she is startled by what happened. She had been doing this perhaps for her whole life but this was different and unexpected. Whatever took place was not typical for the usual experience she had in the practice of her necromancy. Therefore Samuel did not come appear because the medium compelled him but because God opened the door to allow Samuel to respond to Saul to reiterate the judgments upon Saul because of his disobedience. Can this happen to us today? If Saul had this experience then is this possible for us? The scriptures always provide precedents for measuring and discerning our own experiences. If Saul is consulting with the dead does that mean we are encouraged to do likewise? Remember the words of Isaiah:
[Isa 8:19 KJV] 19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
Saul attempted to seek the voice of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim to no avail. He sought out the prophets but didn’t receive anything from them. Neither was he having dreams that could be interpreted as coming from God. Because of disobedience Saul had placed himself outside of a relationship with God. Therefore he pushes the boundaries again making exceptions for himself that he did not allow others to have. Saul is a classic narcissist. He interprets everything around him as being about him. He accords himself privileges that he denies others on the threat of death. We don’t need to go to the world or the demonic to hear from God. We have his voice around us and in us by the Holy Spirit.
21 And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. 22 Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. 23 But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. 24 And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded [it], and did bake unleavened bread thereof: 25 And she brought [it] before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.
Saul receives the message from Samuel but he doesn’t feel any better. In all his interactions with Samuel he continually wants God to transact with him on HIS terms. He is a spoiled, narcissistic and selfish man. He is the anti-thesis of David who was a man after God’s own heart. God wants our lives and our persona to be wrapped around Him and rooted in GOD CONSCIOUSNESS not SELF REFERRAL. Saul looked at God as an augmentation to a life of selfishness and indulgence. We cannot “salt” our life with God and go on our way as we see fit. He is not only our SAVIOR but also our LORD. Your Father has this problem – He thinks He is GOD. Let us build our life around Him in honor, deference and humility.
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