Summary: Lessons from Saul’s visit to the witch of Endor

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When God is Silent I Sam. 28:3-19

INTRO.: There was a time just after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, when we were unable to communicate with our son in NY and his family. There were a lot of others in the same position. It is terrible to be out of communication with those who are important to you. We had a few days of anxiety even though we knew none of our family should be near the site of the attacks.

Imagine what it would be like to be completely out of touch with God when you need Him. There is an incident during the reign of King Saul that illustrates this well. It involved a woman the Bible describes as a witch or medium. A woman with the reputation of being able to speak with the dead. The story is recorded in the 28th chapter of I Samuel.

I. The silence of God: 3-7

A. Saul, king of Israel, was in deep trouble.

1. He had refused to heed the warnings of the prophet Samuel and God had quit sending him guidance.

2. He was surrounded by his enemies who threatened to destroy his army at any moment. Even David, whom he knew would succeed him on the throne had thrown in with the Philistines.

3. Now Samuel was dead and he couldn’t go to him for guidance from the Lord.

B. God would not speak to him.

1. He tried every way he could think of to communicate with God. God did not answer "by dreams or Urim or prophets."

2. He had another problem: he had done something right and expelled all the witches and mediums from the land. Now, they are unavailable to him.

3. There comes a time for all of us when we are hungry for a word from the Lord. We want and need His help. We are helpless without Him. Saul was in that position.

C. Why does God sometimes seem silent and far away?

1. In Saul’s case, it was the penalty for disobedience. God had determined to take the kingdom away from him just as He had given it.

2. ILLUS.: Story of man and woman in car. He is driving. She says, "Honey, why don’t we ever sit close in the car like we used to. His reply; "I don’t know, I haven’t moved."

3. Sometimes we need to get closer to God. You lose the sense of God’s Presence if you don’t cultivate it.

4. Other times, He is just waiting for the right time or the right request. We need patience

II. Saul’s "solution" 8-11

A. Saul sought to satisfy his need his own way. He wasn’t waiting for God to help.

1. Always a foolish thing to do. We cannot substitute anything for the direction of God in our lives. Our God is a jealous God.

2. Even Christians sometimes turn to such things as horoscopes, palm reading, Ouija boards, etc. They seem innocent, but can easily lure one into trouble.

3. God loves His people and wants to provide the guidance they need if He is allowed.

B. In desperation, he sought to know God’s will "any witch" way.

1. He asked if there were a witch (medium) anywhere around whom he might consult.

2. Remember, he himself had expelled them under threat of death. That was God’s desire. Of course, Saul wasn’t one to do things right, so there was at least one left.

3. The Philistine army had split the nation in half. He was in the south. She was in the north. It was necessary to disguise himself and slip through. Nor did he want to woman to recognize him.

C. Saul finds the woman and manages to convince her to help him.

1. Possibly, he wished for the return of the days when Samuel was there to advise him and wished he were still alive. If he had only listened when Samuel spoke before!

2. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Saul is ready to compromise his own convictions, his integrity, and his God.

3. Compromise was what got Saul in trouble in the first place. It is always dangerous to compromise God’s rules.

III. Samuel’s sentence on Saul: 12-19

A. What actually happened here?

1. Did this woman really have power to bring one back from the grave? I think not. Only God can do that.

2. He did it on the mount of transfiguration in Jesus’ day.

3. I believe God permitted this visitation, vision, mirage, or whatever it was to reinforce His sentence on Saul and give one more chance for repentance.

B. Samuel repeats what he told Saul when he was alive: God’s message doesn’t change.

1. Saul would lose the kingdom to David.

2. Israel would be conquered by the Philistines

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