Summary: What does God’s Word say about: Magic, Witches, Mediums, and Ghost?

What the Bible Says About Magic and Ghosts

1 Samuel 28:3-25

Englewood Baptist Church

Sunday Evening, May 18, 2008

In this passage, Saul is coming to the end of his rope. He is self-destructing and the book of 1 Samuel is basically the story of God’s choice to put David on the throne, as well as Saul’s choice to remove himself from God’s protection. So, in a nutshell, 1 Samuel could be described as the rise of David, and the fall of Saul.

I am about to read to you the account of the final straw that breaks Saul’s back. Saul pays a visit to a medium—one who claims to consult with the dead. And while this passage is not focused on the subject of the spirit world, we can certainly learn some things about the subject.

So let me turn to that subject and offer some introductory remarks. It is no secret that a growing number of people are becoming engrossed in various forms of magic, spiritism, astrology, witchcraft, and sorcery. Disney studios, with all its animated cartoons often depicts of the use magic. Growing up, I watched the Smurfs. Do you remember the Smurfs? These miniature blue creatures were hated by the evil sorcerer, Gargamel. He was always looking in his books for some magical potion that would destroy those little tiny critters.

We all know about the Ouija board, a game of communicating with the dark spirit realm. This game has surpassed Monopoly as the top selling board game on the market. I think you can get one at most toy stores. Just look at the video games that your kids are playing. Many of them involve wizards, witches, spells, violence, and evil characters. There is a new television show called “Medium.”

Witches don’t seem to be around much, but that is because they have changed the name on their business cards. Today, they are called “Channelers”, and they act as intermediaries or mediums in the spirit realm. Just blocks from this church, you can stop by and get a quick reading of your tarot card or get your palm read. Astrology is everywhere today. Millions of people follow the teachings of various astrologers. Many will not go to work in the morning unless they have read their horoscope in the morning paper. Tabloids are full of the predictions of various psychics which have a miserable success rate in their predictions of less than 5%. A child could do predict better, yet people continue to go down that road.

Tonight, as we read this account of Saul, he is heading down the wrong road. I would like to teach this passage and then make some general remarks about magic, the demonic world, and what Christians should know.

Before I read, let me set the context. David is still on the run from King Saul, but King Saul’s days are coming to a close. The Philistines, Goliath’s family, are pressing in on Saul, and he is in a state of panic. The Philistines have assembled at Shunem, which Bible scholars tell me was a very flat land. Israelites fought best in the hills because they did not have the advantage of chariots, but this battle was going to happen on smooth terrain and Saul knows that death knocks at his door. This will be a bloody defeat and he is in panic mode. What do people do when they are in panic mode? They get desperate. Watch this man self-destruct…

Read 1 Samuel 25:3-20.

A missionary from Africa tells a story of a follower of Mohammed who became a follower of Jesus. Some of his friends asked him, “Why have you become a Christian?” He answered, “Well, it’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly it forked in two directions, and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one was lying dead and the other standing alive—which one would you ask which way to go?”

In the text that I just read to you, Saul has done the unthinkable. He no longer has the ear of the Living God so he disguises himself and breaks his own law in order to consult with a dead man. And so he goes to see this medium, and he knows this is wrong. The Bible says in v.9 that Saul had cut off the mediums and spiritists, yet he now seeks the advice of one. Now it’s important to notice why he did that. Look what verse 6 says…

Saul had inquired of the Lord. There were three basic ways that God communicated with this people back then. One, he spoke through dreams. Joseph had a dream where God told him that his brothers would one day bow before him. God used visions and dreams. Two, God spoke through Urim. Now, we don’t know exactly what the Urim was but the priest could use it as a tool for discerning the will of God. But Saul didn’t have the Urim because the priest had left him and gone with David. So, no dreams, no Urim. What’s left? Prophets. God spoke through the prophets, but there were no prophets talking to Saul. And he was desperate to hear from God.

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