Monday, June 27, 2016

The woman of Endor

Our "woman of the week" this time is found in I Samuel. We have already studied a lady from this time period when we studied Michal. This time we will look at a woman that her dad (King Saul) visited!
Let's look at the twenty-eighth chapter . . .
The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.Saul 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.So 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.”But 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?”10 Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”“Bring up Samuel,” he said.12 When 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!”13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”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.15 Samuel 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 departed 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.”16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The 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. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night.21 When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.”But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.24 The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast.25 Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.

Quite a story, no? I think to truly understand it, we need some background!

First of all, let's take a look at the Old Testament and see what God had told the people about mediums, fortune-tellers, divination, and more. Over and over again, God condemned the practices of the occult.
A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:27)
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.  (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
Even in the New Testament, God declares that He has not changed his mind!
But . . .  the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
And it's not just the "doers" that God is talking to. The "hearers" are cautioned, too:
I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people. (Leviticus 20:6)
I truly believe that these verses have a lot to do with some of the so-called "harmless" things and "party games" that folks sometimes dabble in. Fortune-telling? Palm reading and horoscopes fit in there. Divination? Reading tea leaves and Ouija boards fall in that category. Consulting the dead? Some folks still try to hold seances or consult mediums . . .

All of these are "out" as far as God is concerned.
Out meaning "you shouldn't ought to do that."
And Saul should have known better.

We'll continue our study of the woman of Endor next time!

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D0-I-N-G! Best of the best! YES!