Thursday, December 18, 2008

SOAP No. 15: Playing both sides

Scripture: Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her."

"There is one in Endor," they said.

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name."

But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?"

Saul swore to her by the Lord, "As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this."

The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?"

The woman said, "I see a spirit coming up out of the ground."

“What does he look like?" he asked.

"An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said.

Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

Samuel said, "Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors -- to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines."
-- 1 Samuel 28:7-10, 13-14, 16-19

Observation: Samuel had died, and Saul was pursuing David, who had already spared the king’s life twice. The Philistine army had gathered and was getting ready to attack, and Saul was scared. He sought out a witch to conjure up Samuel, but the witch was apprehensive, as Saul has expelled all of the witches of the country.

Application: I put in a long passage of Scripture, but I felt all was needed for this. Saul had prayed to the Lord, but when the Lord didn’t answer (because the Lord had departed from Saul), he quickly devised other means to get his answers – so much as to ask a witch to bring up a dead prophet!!! But look at the top, where Saul says, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.” It’s like Saul’s trying to play both sides here – and you can’t do that!

And, again, the whole idea of Saul going to a medium to speak to Samuel is…asinine. Nothing about that makes sense. And then when he does get to speak to Samuel, he doesn’t like what he hears. First, Samuel tells Saul that everything that is coming is nothing that is happening by surprise. All of this had been predicted. And then, the bombshell: “Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.” If that didn’t put a chill down Saul’s spine, nothing would.

Saul was like a child: he wanted his cake and to eat it, too, but how different are we? We’ll go to church on Sunday and Wednesday, but we do whatever we want to do during the rest of the week. We’ll do our Bible reading but quickly forget what the Scripture said when we are confronted. Sometimes, like Saul, we react based on fear. We are fearful of the future, and we don’t hear what the Lord says…but sometimes, like with Saul, He has already spoken. We are His children, and He is with us. Even if sometimes it seems like we can’t hear him, God doesn’t change. He’s the one constant in this universe, and He is the same today as He was yesterday. He keeps His promises. He loves us. All of us.

Prayer: God, sometimes we get so caught up in life and fearful of the future that we cannot hear the still, small voice that is You. Help us to remember – help me to remember – that You are always with Your children. When everything else fails, You are still there. It may seem strange to us to have such a loving and compassionate Savior who never changes, but it’s true. You are the same, and You love us with the same passion You had when You came to Earth so long ago. Thank You so much for holding our future in Your hands.


Beth said...

ouch! that is soo good! I was tearing up as I prayed that pray at the end! whew! thanks so much! really, thank you.

MInTheGap said...

I think you mean that "The Philistine army had gathered and was getting ready to attack, and [Saul] was scared."

In any case, you're perfectly correct. Many time I think it's not that God hasn't answered our prayers, it's that we don't like the answer that we've received. We find reasons to believe that it can't be from Him, or whatever, because we approach Him with our solution rather than looking for His.

How tired God must become of having us come to Him with our solutions and asking Him to bless our plans rather than us coming to Him asking Him to work to accomplish His will in His way. I'll be glad when (someday) our perspective is righted and we see things in His way.

Lois Lane II said...

MIn -- yep, you're right. ;) Thanks!