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"When Saul Disobeyed the Lord"


"When Saul Disobeyed the Lord"
1 Sam. 28:3-20

3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land.
4 Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa.
5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.

6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.

7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.”
And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.”
8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”
9 Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?”
10 And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.”
11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!”
13 And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?”
And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”
14 So he said to her, “What is his form?”
And she said, “An old man is coming 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 down.
15 Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore, I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.”
16 Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy?
17 And the Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.

18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.

19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”
20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.

Introduction

One of the saddest events in scripture is in our text written for us today. Saul the King of Israel has finally committed a sin so grievous that his consequences cannot be delayed. Our text today is the kind of text that is sobering and monumental and must not be ignored by the child of God. After reading this passage we should conclude that God says what he means and he means what he says.
To disobey Gods word is to sin against God. To sin against God is to unleash consequences in our lives that cannot be reversed. Sin is sin, and consequences for our sins are the results that come when we ignore the warning given to us by the Spirit of God, the word of God, and the heart of God.
I. Saul’s Problem
3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land.

4 Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa.

5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.

6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
Note:
When we arrive at this portion of the text, we see great trouble brewing in the life of King Saul. The prophet and seer of Israel {Samuel} has died, and there is no longer a spiritual leader left alive in the land!
Secondly, the philistines are on the move again, and this time they have moved their armies into the Israel’s territory to launch an attack against them.
Thirdly, Saul when he sees how massive they are, the bible says that “he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.” And last but not least, Saul tries to pray to the Lord, but the Lord won’t answer his prayers!

Observation

Saul’s problem in this text is that he has lost contact with the man of God, and he is left alone in the time of Crisis, and he can’t get through to God with his own prayers!

He would have been oaky if he cultivated his own relationship with God, but because he had been estranged from God, he has no way of communicating with Him. Saul is all alone in a season of trouble.

Secondly his enemies are on the move, and it looks like his hedge of protection is gone. And because of these two great things happening in his life, fear arrest his heart.

What he does next is a direct result of “what fear will make you do, when you are living a life of disobedience unto God”.

Application

It’s a terrible thing for the child of God to need God, but he doesn't respond to your prayers!

It’s a terrible thing to try to get a word in the time of trouble, but instructions from on high never come your way!

The child of God can learn from Saul today, that when you are in a life style of disobedience, fear of your situation, will cause you to do things that you never thought you would do.

The child of God can learn today that being outside of the will of God is not a good place to be, when you need for God to protect you from the enemy.

The child God can learn today that the consequences of disobedience are always on time, they may not come to you right away but rest assure they are coming.

Saul is getting ready to receive what was coming his way because of his disobedience to God and his word.

Note

The bible says that “when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.”

Saul tried three types of prayers …he tried intercession, he tried to get a dream or a vision and he tried to get a priestly revelation by using the Urim…

The Urim was a revelatory device that could only be used with the assistance of an Aaronic priest (Exodus 28:30; Num 27:21).

But because Saul had killed all of the priest, except the last one that was with David, he could not get any word from the Lord.

Furthermore, the Lord did not answer him by means of “prophets.” Saul did not receive a prophetic word for two reasons: first, because Samuel was dead, and second, he had lost the support of the prophets when Samuel, the leading prophet of Israel in his generation and the leader of a group of prophets (19:20), had declared Saul’s kingship had ended (15:24, 28–29).

Saul's problem was that he had cut himself off from the Lord through personal disobedience, as well as his abuse of both the priestly and prophetic institutions in Israel!

Application

• Can I tell somebody here today, that it is a deadly thing to cut yourself off from Gods people!

• Can I tell somebody that Its a dangerous thing to cut off the word of the Lord being brought to you by the people of the Lord.

• Can I tell somebody that God speaks to the church through the preacher!

• Can I tell somebody that when you cut of the word and you cut off the messenger, you can’t hear when you need to hear!

• Can I tell somebody that when you can’t hear, the next thing you will do in times of trouble is look for a word from the wrong source!
• This too was Saul’s problem, he tried to get a word from the wrong source!

II Saul’s Plan

7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.”

8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”

Note

When we arrive at this portion of the text, we see a disturbing plan from a fearful king, trying to get a word in a desperate time in his life!

Saul is in need of direction from the Lord, but the only way that he thinks he can get it is by going to forbidden practices, satanic mediums to hear from God.
1. He wants to try to contact his old preacher, one more time to hear him deliver a word in his time of need.
2. He thinks that if he could just hear Samuel one more time he will tell him what he needs to do.
3. He thought that because God wouldn't talk with him, maybe God would tell Samuel what Saul needed to know.
4. So Saul’s plan is to try and contact the dead, so that the dead could speak and tell him what the plan and the will of the Lord is for his trouble and His life!

Observation

There are several things wrong with the plan that Saul has.

• Saul has turned to a demonic messenger as an alternative for guidance.
• He ordered “his servants” to find “a woman who was a medium, a witch, so he could “go and inquire of her” (v. 7).
• The problem here is that Saul when he makes this request is yet in Sin, because he has broken the Law one more time!
• The Law forbade for any child of God to have contact with or to practice divination! (cf. Exod 22:18; Lev 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut 18:10–11)

Hear the word of the Lord!

• Ex. 22:18 “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

• Lev. 20:6, And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.

• Deut. 18: 10-11, There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.

Note

According to the word of the Lord Saul was on dangerous ground! His plan consisted of violating the word of the Lord! Secondly, in order to commit this sin, he has to disguise himself.

• He has to take on another form
• He has to become somebody he is not.
• He has to dress the part, search out the place, travel to the location, and deceive others that they may get what he is looking for.

Observation

Saul in order to work his plan, has to get others involved in demonic practices, and cause them to sin against God.

He has to travel to a dark place at a wicked time in the midst of the war with the Philistines, that he might get what he is looking for from God.

The bible says “And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.”

The City of Endor was the place that was situated near the border of the Philistines country. Because Saul had previously banded soothsayers, witches, and divination practices from Israel, no evil doer was allowed to live among them, and if they were discovered to be practicing these forbidden practices, they must be killed because the law of God demanded it to be so.

When his servants discover that the King needs a witch, they report that they know where such a person is in the City of Endor.

• The City Endor is a place of demonic activity.
• The City Endor is a place where people go to violate the word of the Lord.
• The City Endor is a place where evil has rule and rein.
• The City Endor is a place where you can find help to violate the Law of the Lord.
• The City of Endor is a place where Saul can receive help in disobeying the commands of God and to further separate himself from the will of the Lord.

Secondly we see that if Saul is to go to this City he has to go under costume!

• He can’t go to the City of Endor in his royal garments!
• If He goes to The City of Endor, he can’t go by day, he has to go by night!
• If he goes by daylight somebody might recognize him.
• If he goes by daylight somebody might discover why he is there.
• Saul had passed the law declaring in Israel that you can’t practice soothsaying, and if somebody sees him or finds him with a witch, they might discover that the King doesn't keep the law.
• Saul has to sin under the cover of darkness.
• Saul has to go into the enemies’ territory, at night, in costume, under cover, laying his life on line just to try and get a word from the preacher he refused to listen too when he was alive, so that he might know what the Lord wants him to do!

Application

When the child of God has to plan to sin, so that they can get a word with God, something is wrong with the plan

You can’t plan on sinning against God in order to get instruction from God

You can’t violate Gods word in order to be blessed by Gods word

You can’t go against Gods word, in order to get Gods instruction

Sinning against God, doesn't get God to talk to you, when he is silent and saying nothing about your trouble or what you ought to do

Saul’s plan to get God to talk to him, is a big mistake! He has broken the law in several ways and the consequences of his sin will cost him more than he wants to pay.

Part II.

9 Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?”

10 And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.”

11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”

Observation:

According to the text After Saul arrived at the medium’s house safely, Saul asked the woman to “consult a spirit” and to “cause the one whom I say to you to come up to me”.

Saul's plan is to talk to the dead so that he can know what to do about his situation with God and his situation with the philistines.

The text says that at first the woman refused, suspecting that these men were agents from the king who had “set a trap” (v. 9) to kill her.

To calm the woman’s fears, “Saul swore to her by the Lord” that she would not be punished for her activities.

Observation

This is troublesome for the believer because what Saul did by saying this was to say— “By the life of Yahweh, you will not occur a transgression in this matter.”

Saul’s oath invoked the Lord to grant immunity to one who broke the Lord’s command—it turned God against himself.

Such an oath was not only foolish but blasphemous. And his sin against a Holy God keeps on growing and growing, completely separating him for the will of the Lord! Saul’s sinful behavior keeps mounting.

• He has now given the witch the ok to do evil in the face of the Lord.
• He has sanctioned her behavior, even against the Law of the Lord.
• Sin has caused Saul to forget and to ignore the truth of the word
• Sin has caused Saul to disobey what was written for his own safety and do what his wicked heart has deceived him to do.
• Sin has caused him to think he is right when he is dead wrong for his behavior and his actions

Questions:

• Have you ever been there? Have you ever thought you were right, when you were dead wrong?
• Have you ever gotten out of the will of the Lord to do what you thought would bring you closer to God?
• Have you ever sinned against God, and kept on sinning to try to get close to God?

Note

After the medium received this word of assurance from Saul, she proceeded to speak to the dead, Asking the disguised king whom she should “bring up” (v. 11).

Here we find a very disturbing picture in the biblical text!

1. Saul asks the witch to bring up Samuel from the dead!
2. This is disturbing because God had forbidden his people to do this!
3. It’s disturbing because it is Satanic, and evil, and Saul has slipped so far from God that he would turn to the demonic, to try and understand the things of God!

Observation

According to A.D Wilson, Demons frequent the minds of soothsayers, palm readers, and witches who cast spells and those that like to talk with the dead. Demons actually use them to speak with them. It is the underworld whom these people are contacting!

Through these seances, Demons deceive these workers to actually believe that they are making contact with the dead who are living in another world!

This is disturbing because there is no such evidence in the scripture where God gives people permission and allows for them to interact with the dead through demonic spirits!

What we see in this text is not the witch having authority to speak to Samuel, for God would never allow the demonic to disturb the rest of his saints…

But what we do see is the hand of God intervening through His prophet to rebuke Saul…and issue his consequences for Saul's disobedience, one last time!

In verses 12- 14 we find this turn in the narrative!

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!”

13 And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?”

And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.”

14 So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming 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 down.

Note

When we see this portion of the text what we see is a clear picture of what God will allow and does not allow as it relates to talking to the dead!

1.The woman is allowed to see spirits, because of her demonic gift. [it is evident that God allows for demons to speak with humans when humans subject themselves to such activity]
2. What she sees is unlike what she has seen before, because according to the text it frightens her! She Cries Out.

3. This reveals that the underworld has used her in the past to speak with spirits, however, they cannot be the living spirits of people who have died, because God forbids communication with the dead. What these demons do, is imitate, and create false communication through these spiritual sessions or seances, palm readings and forbidden exercises.

4.The woman according to the text never has seen the righteous who sleep in the Lord! Because she is frightened by their appearance.

5. Demons give false information through necromancy, they deceive the living into thinking that they are speaking with the dead.

What we see in this text is how God, Yahweh - breaks through this seance to deal with his sinful servant and to deliver him the consequences of his wicked behavior!

According to a friend in my library, when Yahweh brings Samuel forth we see him do so to deliver the word of the Lord that Saul was looking for!

God does this, not the woman, not the devil, and not Samuel!

God would not allow Satan through the activity of a witch to deliver such a weighty message, nor would the Lord put His approval on a practice that His Word had already condenad.

The witch becomes a mere spectator once Samuel is on the scene.
The second thing we see is that Saul never sees Samuel but is likely that Saul heard Samuel’s words (v. 20) but did not see Samuel’s form (vv. 12–14). Back in 15:35 and 16:1, Samuel’s separation from Saul had been accomplished and the king would see him no more.

Application

The child of God should remember that even in our disobedience God will always speak

The child of God should remember that God never uses Satanic messages or messengers to deliver the word to his children

You can’t get a word from God from those who don't walk with God

You can’t get a glimpse of your future from those who don't know the future

You can’t get demons to say only what the Lord can say

The child of God must not get involved with the demonic in any form or matter to try get understanding for the troubles of life

You can only get true prophecy from true prophets, and true word from true sources

So when you get a word from someplace be sure to check its source!

Conclusion

15 Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore, I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.”

16 Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy?

17 And the Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.

18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.

19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”

20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night.

Note

As we close this narrative, we see one of the saddest things ever written in scripture. The rejection of the Lord for one who was once called of God.

Because Saul’s sinful disobedience he has been rejected in his time of need.
When he hears Samuel speak it’s not what was hoping to hear.
The Prophet delivers one last word of prophecy to the troubled King from eternity.

We can learn six things from Saul’s exchange with Samuel in this message;

1. Because of disobedience, God departed from Saul and wouldn't hear Saul’s prayers [vs.15]
2. Because of disobedience, God had become Saul’s enemy [vs.16]
3. Because of disobedience, God tore the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David [vs. 17]
4. Because of disobedience, and failure to complete the assignment of the Lord Saul lost everything. [vs.18]
5. Because of disobedience, God was going to kill Saul and his sons, and deliver Israel into the enemies’ hands [vs.19]
6. Because of disobedience, God had consequences for Saul, that he was unable to bare, but must endure through human weakness. [vs.20]

Observation

I learn from this passage that God aint playing with his servants. He means what says, and he says what he means. Disobedience to God has consequences.

A friend whispered to me in the study, that he thought it was unbelievable that King Saul, a man chosen by God, could ever participate in such wicked a deed!

Then he said yet the record is true— “let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

The writer suggests that because Saul walked in darkness, and not in light, and because he disguised himself and because he allowed a woman to break the law and because he brought shame and defeat upon his nation, his army, his family, and himself. These were his consequences!

What a tragedy! What a fall from Grace! What a sad way to go out! Let us remember that Sin has consequences, and our consequences are irreversible! The wages of sin is still death!

Saul didn't know it, but God had foreseen his sins before they ever occurred. He knew he would be disobedient. He knew he would be rebellious. He knew he would be a fallen king. He knew he would pay the consequences of his behavior while living on earth.
However, to save him from eternal punishment, God would send his only begotten son, a few thousand years later to cover a debt for Saul, that Saul could not re-pay.

Jesus the only begotten Son of the father, would come to earth through the birth of a virgin girl, to take Saul’s penalty of rebellion and sin against a Holy God, upon himself.

He would die for Saul, to fix his transgression. Out on the cross of Golgotha, Jesus bled and died, to buy our pardon.

After he was crucified, he was buried in a borrowed tomb, and early Sunday morning after satisfying the wrath of God, he was raised back to life by the Father.

Jesus paid it all so that Saul would not have to live in all of eternity in rebellion against God.

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