Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 9 May 21:
1 Samuel 28:5-7 — “When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ And his servants said to him, ‘Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.’”
Under pressure, consumed by fear, with no ‘special’ revelation from God, Saul again, demonstrates his lack of integrity and disobeys God’s clear commands in order to get ‘answers’ he couldn’t get from God. How well you obey God’s word under pressure when God doesn’t give you a ‘special’ word (a specific answer or revelation through the Holy Spirit) says much about your faith and character – “The teacher is silent during the test.”
- Leviticus 19:31 — Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.
- Leviticus 20:6 — If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
- Leviticus 20:27 — A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.
- Isaiah 8:19 — And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?
God was and is unquestionably clear about His prohibition of sorcery and occult practices – “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-14) Despite God’s forbiddance of mediums, note that under Saul’s rule, his servants had no problem finding one upon Saul’s request, which speaks volumes about what Saul really cared about. Well before Saul consulted a medium, he tolerated them, allowing them to poison the culture with abominable idolatry. Saul wasn’t very interested in listening to God until the Philistine army approached, but then only to save his own skin, not to honor God as God – “God will not be mocked” (Galatians 6:7).
Against God’s Law, Saul sought a medium because “the Lord did not answer him.” This is the same reason people today turn to other sources rather than God for answers. For most people, it’s not a medium they go to but rather world philosophies, other people, “common sense,” etc. They go to others for answers rather than God because they have either never heard from God or no longer hear the voice of God – communication has ceased. However, Jesus said, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…. they will listen to my voice.” (John 10:3-5, 14, 14-16) Do you clearly hear, recognize, understand, and obey the voice of the Good Shepherd, and are you able to discern between His voice and the voice of the thieves that seek to steal the sheep?
- Luke 6:46-49 — “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
- 2 John 1:9 — Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
The Bible explains why God did not answer Saul: “Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord…. the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy (28:18, 16).” His disobedience had separated him from God. In his sin (rejection of God’s clear commands), he could not hear God because God had stopped talking with him. Proverbs tell us, “Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those of blameless ways are his delight (Proverbs 11:20).” Of course, most people with a crooked heart, don’t believe they have a crooked heart – “I’m a good person.” As the old joke goes: “What do all prisoners have in common? They are all innocent.” In their pride, some refuse to acknowledge their sin, repent, and walk by God’s word in humble obedience. Often, the prideful are looking for and imagine an extra-biblical, ‘special,’ or miraculous revelation because God’s clearly written commands are just not satisfying. In frustration, many accept the consequential silence from God as “reality” and turn to other forms of “knowledge” for answers. Often, they deceive themselves into thinking that their emotions and imagination are the voice of God – “God told me to [do the thing I want to do].”
The Apostles would rebuke this kind of “Christian” — “Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:34)…. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6)…. Destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)…. Know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:9)…, the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2, 3)…. Come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4)…. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge (1 Timothy 6:20)’…. “If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26)…. Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:5-11)…. For if, after [you] have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, [you] are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first (2 Peter 2:20)…. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge (1 John 1:20).”
From today’s readings, consider how different David’s life and testimony is from Saul’s: “This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life (Psalm 56:9-13).
Despite his circumstances, David lived life in confidence knowing that God was “for him” because David trusted in God, praised the word of God, and kept his vows before God. He gave thanks to God and “walked before God.” Are you walking before God or men?
Saul’s religion was self-serving idolatry, all about Saul. He outwardly obeyed God when it appeared expedient or profitable, but inwardly, he remained disobedient to the Greatest Commandment of loving God, and when things got hard, Saul revealed his real ‘savior’ which was himself, and Saul proved to be a powerless savior – “…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5)
Again, if you want to hear from God, you must be careful to obey His written word which He has freely provided and which is not hard to understand. Don’t look for a special revelation when you have ignored His general revelation.
- John 14:15 — “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 May 21: When you need to make a decision and you don’t seem to be hearing something specific from God, obey the word He has already given you in the Bible.