Thursday, July 8, 2010

How a Psychic Might Teach You to Trust the Gospel

Reading: 1 Samuel 28     

Okay, admittedly an odd title... but it got your attention. The story of Saul and his encounter with the witch of Endor is one of those strange accounts in scripture that can raise a lot of questions. I don't have many answers to the questions usually raised, but there is one thing that is quite clear in the text, and that is the truth that not even death can stop the Word of God from being fulfilled. It is this point that the text is making; not telling us something about mediums.

1In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. ...3Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. 4The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa.
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 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," they said. 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." ...11Then the woman asked, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" "Bring up Samuel," he said. (1 Samuel 28:1-11)
Samuel was dead; Saul was scared. Saul inquired of the Lord but didn't get an answer. It is wise to be careful, if we are seeking to know God's will, not to have the mentality of, “I will do whatever it takes to know what God wants.” Saul would have done well to be content with God's quietness. When the medium, the psychic, if you will, succeeded in bringing Samuel up, which seemed to surprise her more than anyone, here is what happened.
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." 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....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.” (1 Samuel 28:15-19)
Death doesn't stop the Word of God. Samuel may have been dead, but the Word he had spoken in 1 Samuel 15:28 was still alive and coming to pass. Saul didn't need a new word from God, he had a word and not even death could change it.
What about us? Do we have a word from the Lord? Absolutely! The Gospel is God's promise to us that even though we die, yet shall we live! (John 5:24; 11:26) God's promise is that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:39). In the midst of your battles, trust in that word, and don't set yourself to seek a new word. God may use many ways to reinforce that word—words of encouragement may well be included (1 Corinthians 14)—but it is important not to require of God some new word. This demand for a “fresh word” in a moment like this may merely be an expression of doubt in God's once spoken, always true word, the Gospel!
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,