Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Beginning Of The Kings- King Saul (Part 16)

While David was saving his town from bandits, Saul was preparing for the very battle David was sent home by the Philistines from.
1 Samuel 28:3-6-  Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.  And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
Saul gathered his army together like he knew he had to, but he was so afraid. There were so many Philistines! Saul had tried to do what he thought Samuel wanted. He put all the wizards and witches out of his kingdom.
Saul wanted to know what to do about the battle. He wanted counsel. But, Samuel was dead, and God wasn't talking to him. You see, his sin and pride had come between him and God. And he wasn't going to humble himself enough to ask for forgiveness; so God wasn't going to answer him.
I Samuel 28:7-8- Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
Since Saul couldn't get an answer from God, he decided to turn to witchcraft. He asked his servants to find him a witch. And they knew just where one was.
He put on a disguise and went to see her. He asked her to bring up a spirit.
I Samuel 28:9-11- And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
The witch knew that she could be killed for practicing magic. But, Saul swore that nothing would happen to her. She believed him and asked him who he wanted to talk to. Saul wanted to talk to Samuel.
I Samuel 28:12- And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
Do you know why the woman screamed? Because she was use to speaking to a devil and deceiving the people who came to her. She would talk to a devil who would pretend to be the person's loved one, but really it wasn't. God allowed her to bring up the actual spirit of Samuel, and this scared her!
I Samuel 28:13-14- And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
The witch thought that it was a god, but it wasn't. The Lord allowed Samuel to come speak to Saul. This is the only time in the Bible where God used a witch or wizard. But, the consequences of using witchcraft were steep, as Saul would find out.
When Saul found out that she had actually called Samuel up, he was happy. He knew he would get an answer now.
I Samuel 28:15-19- And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
Samuel said that Saul had disobeyed God so much that God had become his enemy. What a scary thought! That we could be so disobedient that God would work things out for the worst in our lives!
Samuel told Saul that he and his sons would die in this battle for his sin.
I Samuel 28:20-25- Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.
Saul didn't want to eat. He was so afraid that he didn't want to go face his fate. The witch and his servants begged him to eat, and he finally gave in. After they had eaten, they went back to the battlefield.
The next day, Samuel's words came true.
I Samuel 31:1-2- Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul's sons.
As Saul fought, he watched his people start to die. Some of them ran away from the battle. Then he saw 3 of his sons killed. And then, he was wounded.
I Samuel 31:3-5- And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.
Saul knew that if he didn't die, the Philistines would torture him to death. He asked his armor bearer to kill him, but the boy was too afraid. So, Saul took out his sword and killed himself. When his armor bearer saw that he was dead, he killed himself, also.
What a terrible ending for a life that once had so much potential!
I Samuel 31:6 - So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.
What a shame!
I Samuel 31:7-10-  And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan.
As the Israelite army was dying, the people in the cities around the battlefield ran away. The Philistines took over those cities and lived there.
They took the bodies of Saul and his sons and put them in their false god's temple to give their idol the praise and worship for their enemy's death.
There were some brave, good men left in Israel, and they didn't want Saul's family used to give a false god worship.
I Samuel 31:11-13- And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
These brave men went and took their bodies and buried them.
I Chronicles 10:13-  So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;
God will not allow his worship to go to someone else. Once Saul stooped to using witchcraft he sealed his fate. We, too, need to be careful. There's so much in our world that is on the brink of witchcraft that if we aren't watching out we will be guilty of giving God's worship to something unholy.