Faithlife Sermons


Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Alêtheia Christian Fellowship ~ December 30, 2007


1 Samuel 28:3-7 ~ 3Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. (רָמָה  Rǎh-mǎh)

Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.

4The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, (שׁוּנֵם shoo-nām)

while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. (גִּלְבֹּעַ Gil-bōǎ)

5When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim (אוּרִים oo-reheem)

or prophets. 7Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”

“There is one in Endor,” (עֵין־דֹּאר  ā-yn-dōr)

they said.

More than 3,000 years ago…

Samuel was the last of the Judges and had anointed Saul as first King and subsequently David to take his place.


1 Samuel 15:9 ~ But Saul and the people spared the King of the Amalekites and the best of the junk…

20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.

26 But Samuel said to Saul, you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

(אָכִישׁ ac-eheesh) Achish sometimes called Abimelech was the King of Gath (גַּת Gǎth) home of Goliath.

The Philistines were related to the Mycenaeans who had destroyed the Minoan Civilization. Ramesses III had fought them in Gaza in 1178 B.C. (Thera erupted on Santorini Island in 1600 B.C., disabling the Crete society)

Jezreel Valley (יִזְרְעֶאל Yǐz-rǎ-ěl) David was allied with Achish, but not at this battle.

       Samuel Dead

       David Defected

       Saul Unstable

       Saul Rejected by God

A King was a rejection of God

Saul was the perfect king externally

He was more afraid of men than of God and very often made choices that seemed appropriate in the circumstances but they demonstrated a lack of understanding of, and respect for God

The King had been warned repeatedly and yet continued to do the very things that hardened his heart further. 

Saul sees only the external situation – the Philistines mean business – and Saul is afraid. 

When Saul cannot reach God through proper channels he decides that violating God’s clear directives must be okay since it is such an emergency

God reveals to Saul that He desires justice, relationship and obedience more than religion and sacrifice.

One thing Saul had done right in the sight of God was the removal of all mediums and spiritists. 

The Bible is very clear that necromancy and other types of supernatural arts outside of genuinely seeking God were absolutely taboo.  All un-Godly forms of divination or intercession are at their core blasphemy.  People so engaged are implicitly denying God’s sovereignty, providence and ability.  Necromancy and the other dark arts ignore God and instead of accomplishing His will on earth they attempt to achieve their will in heaven.

King Saul was no stranger to emergency situations and had already demonstrated a propensity to suspend the rules in order to deal with things out of the ordinary.   In chapter 13, Saul disobeys God because he lacks faith and is instead fearful that his men will leave and he will be caught off-guard by the Philistines.  It was an unusual situation and Saul made his own decision rather than patiently wait upon the Lord. 

Again, in chapter 15, Saul fails to keep God’s command because the situation is a little different than expected so he thinks he knows better and improvises

In those two cases not only did Saul disobey God, but when confronted by Samuel he made excuses rather than repent

In the book of Leviticus, God says, “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people” (Lev 20.6). 

       Saul is fully aware of God’s command, but it seems he     felt as others who have paraphrased Hippocrates,     “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”


1 Samuel 28:8-12 ~ 8So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” 9But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” 10Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.” 11Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. 12When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

The witch is somewhat guarded with these disguised and suspicious looking strangers and so elicits a promise from Saul that she will not be harmed. 

It is ironic that Saul seals his promise of safety for the outlaw witch with an oath in God’s name

Perhaps even more ironic is the fact that Saul asks the women to summon the spirit of God’s prophet by such unholy and sinful means. 

These verses demonstrate that Saul was either crazy, dumber than dirt, in an extreme state of despair or some combination of all three, but more importantly it shows his insensitivity to God’s character

1 Samuel 28:13-15 ~ 13The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.” 14“What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 15Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”

What the woman saw and heard was ostensibly Samuel

The Bible passes no judgment on the veracity of the claims

It is possible that she was a charlatan or that she summoned a demon who appeared to be Samuel.  

The only other Biblically acceptable possibility is that through divine intervention God actually had Samuel appear to the witch. 

The text makes no absolute claim that it was Samuel

The problems with God intervening:

       1- Saul bows down to the ground and worships and the object of his homage fails to correct him. 

       2- Even if Saul is now able to communicate directly it      does not mean that he is really talking to Samuel. 

       3- Why would God reiterate through a conjured dead      dude that which He has already clearly stated before?    4- God’s will and divine counsel cannot be   discovered by Saul because God has departed from    him – that is the whole reason he has consulted with the      witch. Why, then would God allow Himself to be found for consultation mediated by the departed Samuel by        way of an evil woman? 

       5- The most significant, why would God violate His own       rules about communicating with the deceased and at the same time greatly enhance the prestige of a witch in so   doing? 

God in His divine prescience could have merely allowed the necromancer to dupe Saul or He may have allowed Satanic forces to provide the exchange recorded in this story.

1 Samuel 28:16-19 ~ 16Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? 17The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.”

Now, it seems that Samuel and Saul are having a one-on-one dialogue, but this is most likely a literary simplification.  The author is simply leaving out the middle-man or in this case woman.  

The King is informed that he will die along with his sons and much of his army in the morning.  As bad as that seems the worst part of the story is that God has not only departed from Saul, but that he is now the enemy of God.  The reason cited is Saul’s disobedience regarding Amalek, but that is just one example indicative of Saul’s attitude and behavior over his rule as king.  

1 Samuel 31:6 ~ So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.

26 But Samuel said to Saul, you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

1 Samuel 15: 22&23 ~ 22Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 23“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

He has also rejected you.”

The overarching principle found in this historical narrative is that God desires genuine relationship with His creatures

Compare Saul to David and we see that God is not simply looking for an automaton that will precisely follow every letter of the Law

David makes far greater mistakes and even though he pays a heavy price in the consequences of those errors he always runs back to God with a truly repentant heart

Saul wasn’t rejected by God because he failed to live up to God’s perfect standard – Saul was rejected because God never knew him

Saul had no relationship with God; he never learned how to talk to God on his own.  As a result Saul had no idea what God wanted and did not want.  The desperate King sought the Witch of Endor because he did not know what else to do in order to get God’s help.  People are no different today.  So many people completely disregard God, have no concern for Him at all and certainly no intimate relationship with Him, yet when they are in trouble they seek His divine intervention.

Luke 22:48 ~ But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Luke 22:61 ~ The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”

Matthew 27:5 ~ And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.

John 21:7b ~ So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

It’s not about doing everything right


       It’s about loving Jesus

Related Media
Related Sermons