Summary: In today’s lesson we see spiritual low point of Saul’s life when he reaches out to the occult for spiritual direction, and we learn from the lesson that God’s faithful people never turn in that direction.
A. The story is told of two brothers, from a small town, who, over the course of many years, cheated, swindled, robbed and generally stole from everyone that they ever did business with.
1. The entire town and surrounding community reviled and despised these two brothers as everyone was aware of just how disreputable and dishonest they were.
2. One day, one of the brothers mysteriously died.
3. Although they had never attended church, the one remaining brother went to the local preacher and offered to contribute to the church vast sums of money if he would come to the funeral and say the appropriate words, AND, a an additional large bonus, if and ONLY if he would - during the course of the eulogy -refer to his brother as “a Saint.”
4. The preacher was troubled by the request, however, it was a very poor church and the church desperately needed repairs.
5. Members of the congregation had heard about the preacher’s dilemma and were curious as to what he would do.
6. The Funeral began, the funeral home was packed, and the preacher started with the usual prayers and followed the customary rites and traditions.
7. As he closed the service, he paused and turned to face the remaining brother, saying, “As you all know, the departed was an awful individual who robbed, cheated, swindled and stole from everyone he ever did business with. However, compared to his brother, who is still with us, he was – ‘a Saint!’”
B. As we will see as our study of the life of David progresses, in comparison to Saul, David was a saint – well, I’m not sure I would go that far – David committed his share of sins.
1. So David certainly was not perfect, but he always had a humble and contrite heart, and turned back to the Lord after he had gone astray.
2. Saul on the other hand was a different story.
C. In our lesson today we will follow the story of 1 Samuel which turns its attention away from what was going on with David to what was going on with Saul.
1. We will be working through 1 Samuel chapter 28.
2. Next week, Lord willing, we will look at the entanglements David has gotten himself into with the Philistines.
3. The narrator forces us to wait to see how the tension between David and the Philistines is resolved by inserting this story about Saul into the middle of the situation.
A. Today’s story begins, “The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. (1 Sam. 28:4-6)
1. Chapter 28 marks the spiritual low point in Saul’s life and records one of the darkest hours of his reign as king.
2. As we have discussed in previous lessons, Saul has made his share of major mistakes.
3. Early on in his reign, he had made the terrible mistake of offering the sacrifice that only priests were allowed to offer. He did so because Samuel’s arrival was delayed, and he and his men were afraid the battle would begin before Samuel got there.