Summary: There are a lot of strange stories in the Bible. But, like everything else, they are God-breathed and profitable (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What can we learn from the strange story of Saul and the witch of En-Dor?
A. My daughter Grace and I have a love for movies - watching movies is one of our favorite things to share
1. Thankfully- Grace has good taste - watch a lot of good ones
2. She even loves to watch my old favorites - Indiana Jones, Goonies, Princess Bride
3. It's great to get to share those adventures with her - really gets into them
4. This past summer -heard about a new series on Netflix had to watch it - Stranger Things
B. Set in 1983 in a small town in Indiana - where things start happening . . . Stranger Things
1. So much of it has look/feel of the movies I grew up with - at same time appealed to Grace
2. Devoured the series -binge watched it -and long after finished -still talk about it, discuss
3. Bridged our generations -I think it did that in part because we all have this connection
4. We love strange stories - drawn to things that seem twisted, scary or even upside down
5. And it turns out that the Bible is full of those kind of stories
C. There are few stories in the Bible as strange as Saul and the Witch of En-Dor
1. ANNOUNCE TEXT: 1 SAMUEL 28:1-20 (page 250)
2. Honestly I always just read this as a weird story - Halloween story of the Bible
3. Has it all witch/ghost/mad king
4. As I've had to dig through it -see it as much more -story of desperation and failure
5. Story of how far we will sink when we abandon our faith - I'm afraid -could be our story
6. READ: 1 SAMUEL 28:1-7
D. What's happening here? King of Israel needs direction -not go to God -consults a medium
1. Four times in Law - expressly forbidden -Exodus 22:18 KJV -"Thou shalt not suffer..."
2. Knows -wrong -In fact – he’s just tossed all the spiritists out of the land
3. But beyond that -at one time -Saul had prophesied himself -God spoke through him
4. So here's a guy -used to communicate with God -clearly heard voice - doing forbidden
5. What has gone wrong for this man-fall so far? Could we find ourselves on a similar path?
Trans: The first mistake we see here in Saul's life is one that can be way too easy for us to make. That is that:
I. FEAR BECOMES A MOTIVATOR
A. If you watch scary movies you know that fear makes you do stupid things
1. The kids are doing just fine, huddled together in the old abandoned house - "let's split up"
2. Don't do that! Fear makes us do stupid things - keeps us from steps of independence
3. Keeps us in bad relationships for far too long - fear prolongs abuse, neglect
4. And it keeps us from seeing ourselves the way God sees us.
B. You have to pay attention to the setup of this story - understanding why Saul is this desperate
1. Verse 3 - Samuel was dead- prophet/priest/judge - Israel's great unifying leader
2. He had also appointed Saul as king and advised him - now for first time, Saul is alone
3. Facing a powerful enemy - and you notice -verses 1-2 -doesn't begin with Saul - David
4. David is poised to take over the kingdom - but first Saul has to meet his demise.
C. Saul is afraid - his advisor is dead -afraid. Huge army-afraid – God silent – afraid
1. There’s a reason the Bible -expressly prohibits consulting mediums/spiritists
2. They take us away from our reliance on God. We want answers – Go to God….
3. We accept his answers whether we like them or not -sometimes accept his silence
4. And we realize -if we can’t hear God’s leading -problem is usually us – never him
D. We have to admit – far too often we’re motivated by fear – that is so wrong
1. 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
2. Some of you are afraid about the future -election – afraid he will get in/she will get in
3. Perfect love casts out fear – if you’re afraid – have you really understood God’s love yet?
4. Whatever happens Nov 8 -Jesus Christ still Lord on November 9 – Donkey/Elephant/Lamb
5. Saul missed that -and it made him do something . . . so stupid
Trans: You know, in the scary movies when someone’s afraid you’ll see them hiding in the closet or under the bed –that’s usually where the monster is. Fear causes us to hide and we saw that in Saul. His fear led to hypocrisy and: