Message from the Monthly Flyer March 2017
1 Samuel 28:1-7 CEV Samuel had died some time earlier, and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah. Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel. Achish told David, "Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army." David answered, "That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!" "In that case," Achish said, "you and your men will always be my bodyguards." The Philistines went to Shunem and set up camp. Saul called the army of Israel together, and they set up their camp in Gilboa. Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking with fear. So he asked the LORD what to do. But the LORD would not answer, either in a dream or by a priest or a prophet. Then Saul told his officers, "Find me a woman who can talk to the spirits of the dead. I'll go to her and find out what's going to happen." His servants told him, "There's a woman at Endor who can talk to spirits of the dead."
Saul is a backslidden king. God has rejected him long ago. He has not been seeking the face of God any more after prophet Samuel’s last visit and God’s rebuke because of his disobedience in the issue of the war against the Amalekites (See 1 Samuel chapter 15). So now, all of a sudden, Saul decides to try and do something good again. Maybe he has been thinking about his evil doings especially because David spared his life twice, when he had the perfect opportunity to get rid of his father in law who hated him for no reason. At the end of chapter 24 of 1 Samuel, the Bible tells us that Saul cried after David spoke with him and told him that it was unfair to be seeking to kill him. And at the end of chapter 27, we read that David convinces Saul to stop pursuing him because he wants to kill him. So, Saul apparently acknowledges the fact that his attempts to kill David are completely out of order and he goes back home thinking. He ponders over it all and comes to the conclusion that he has not been walking in God’s will and has lost God’s favour. He knows that he has gone completely astray and he decides to do something about it. He thinks about what he could do to please God, so that God will be happy with him again.
There have been some important issues to attend in the land, some important matters that needed king Saul’s attention. The people needed to be redirected and led in God’s ways and ordinances. There were things going on in the country that were against God’s will and the people were abandoned in doing evil because the ruler of their nation was busy hunting an innocent and valiant warrior who was meant to be a great blessing to him and to the whole land. There was idolatry going on in the land. Most of the time, people are only good as their leader is. The people of Israel were practicing necromancy and other abominable sins. Instead of taking care of those serious issues and leading the people in God’s ways, Saul was busy chasing after David who was his best man of war and son in law, the one who had fought a spectacular battle at a very young age against the Philistines and had killed the giant Goliath, though he himself was not a soldier at all at that time, but just a “meaningless” shepherd.
So now all of a sudden, Saul remembers that there is idolatry in the land and people have gone the wrong way. So he decides that if he can do something about it, then he might just gain God’s favour back again. This was actually like trying to bribe God because his heart was not fully turned to God. And this is exactly what the coming events were going to reveal. As we will see, king Saul had not truly repented. He remembered prophet Samuel telling him that to obey is better than to sacrifice. So, he thought that it might be of no use to go ahead and present a sacrifice to God as a sign of “repentance”, and that it would be better to go ahead and do something tangible to show God that he was willing to amend his ways and be friend with Him again. But God knows all the intends of the heart and nothing is hidden before him. And God decided to test the sincerity of Saul to reveal his true motivations. (To be continued) mt
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