Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day seven)
If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
There are times we feel like Saul. Stuck between a rock and a hard place we cry out to God hoping for relief, but all we receive is silence. It is a heartbreaking reality that drove Saul to a witch. A witch is not usually our first option, but just as blindly, we blame God for being silent.
The deafening distance between you and God is not God’s design. God’s design is for the two of you to be inseparable, but the sin in your heart causes you to drift further and further away from God as if the sound of speech can no longer reach.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day six)
“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”-Jesus, Luke 16:31
God’s allowing Samuel to rise from the dead is most definitely curious, surprising even, but the message he delivered to Saul most certainly was not. The message was the same message he had heard several times before, to no avail. These hard words had never led Saul to repentance, nor would they now.
Never take God’s Word for granted; never pass by His voice heard in the Scriptures. You never have to go elsewhere to find the will of God for your life, and though His words can be hard at times, they are meant from your good. So, seek God now; listen to His words today; repent while repentance can be found.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day five)
At the end, Saul’s life is empty, miserable, and meaningless. It is lacking. What is missing?
Trust in God. He chooses to follow his own path over and over rather than follow God’s guidance. It was a trust issue. Saul was always looking for a solution rather than trying to find the Lord Himself.
Satisfaction in God. Saul was never content. Being God’s king was never enough. He was restless to get more wealth and monuments instead of destroying the Amalekites. He was not at peace with being God’s king in the moment, rather he tried to secure his future instead of being fulfilled in his current role as king.
Both of these missing pieces lead us to the ultimate conclusion, Saul did not know God. Regardless of his spiritual fervor, Saul’s lack of trust and satisfaction reveal a heart that is unaware of God’s gracious love and His strength and power.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day four)
Saul has sunken to his lowest point spiritually. When he could not discern a word from the Lord…just as Samuel had told him would happen…he reached out to a Spirit Medium. In Leviticus 19:31 and 20:6, we have one of the strongest and specific prohibitions against consulting a medium. “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.” It was idolatry. At any point along his journey, Saul could have repented before the Lord. Rather than repent though, each time he moved further and further away from the Lord.
Do you need to repent? Is there an area of your life that you have consistently chosen to disobey the Lord? It is never too late to repent. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day three)
Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?
The spiritual side of reality is nothing if not consistent with the material side. Except for being dead, Samuel is his same old self, delivering his same old word to Saul: No. Really, of course, Samuel is alive—just not occupying the same dimensional space as Saul anymore. But the thing that we often get a little fuzzy on is just how much these two sides of reality affect each other. We act as if the life beyond this life is a kind of fancy reset button. Turns out, though, that Jesus really knew what he was talking about: Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven. In other words, this life really matters eternally. Live accordingly.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day two)
Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? vs. 16
There was a time when Samuel had a good word for Saul. A time when the words of the prophet brought comfort to the king, but those days were long past. Saul, so desperate for a word of comfort again, was willing to evoke Samuel’s spirit via a seance. And Samuel, as true to the work of the Lord as ever, was clear: the Lord had departed from Saul. If Samuel had ever spoken peace to Saul, it was at the bidding of the Lord, and if had ever been cold toward the king, that too was from the Lord.
If we don’t hear what we want, how low are we willing to go? Saul cried out to the Lord, and his did not respond. It should have ended there. Are we sometimes so desperate to have our plans vindicated that we will summon the dead? Probably not a good idea.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 28:3-20; 31:1-6 (day one)
“A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.”–Proverbs 29:1
“Be careful how you listen; for whoever has (by means of listening), to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have (by means of not listening), even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”–Jesus (Luke 8:18)
Reflection on Saul’s life and death brings one clear conviction to my heart. I must be careful to listen to God. Must pay attention to what He is saying, not assume that I know, or give equal heed to others. I must treat HIS words with holy respect. His WORDS.
Saul never learned this lesson and the lack of it led him (and his family) to emptiness and destruction.
“My words are Spirit and life” said Jesus. Saul’s story creates urgency and hope in me–in every situation to seek the Lord and listen to Him.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 25:1-34 (day seven)
Nabal claims he does not know who David is:
v.10 But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master.
But surely Nabal knewDavid. The only way Nabal wouldn’t have known David is if he completely ignored everyone around him:
v.15-16 Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep.
Abigail knew who David was:
v.30 And when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel.
Now there is a chance that Nabal was as foolish as his name sounds, and he did not know who David was, but I imagine this was just one more excuse in a life of excuses. Nabal was not going to help anyone because helping another would lower his take. So, he did what we do when we don’t want to do something: come up with an excuse. There is always a reason not to do good when you don’t really want to do it, but beware, even the greatest excuses do not work on God.
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'”-King David, Psalm 14:1
Nabal seems to be an intelligent man. He runs a sizable business; he’s done very well for himself. Not to mention, he clearly knows a good woman when he see one. But for all his wealth and discerning eye, the Scriptures make it abundantly clear that Nabal is a fool through and through. There are many signs that give this away in the story. He is known to behave badly, he doesn’t listen, he’s unreasonable, he’s a drunkard, etc. But the clearest indication of his foolishness is this-he rejects the coming king. He doesn’t just say “no” to the soon-to-be-king’s request, no he goes even further in his foolishness and refuses to acknowledge who David is.
Now, that’s foolishness, rejecting the requests of the coming king and pretending he doesn’t even exist. Let’s not be foolish.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 25:1-34 (day five) I often ask this question to help find meaning and application in scripture, “Is there and example for me to avoid or follow?” In this passage, David provides both. His reaction to Nabal’s insult is highly emotional. David has quickly forgotten the lesson he learned and taught his soldiers in chapter 24 (the provision and sovereignty of God). We should respond not react to unkindness and lack of respect. However, David gets it right just a few verses later. He is willing to listen and learn from Abigail. He is teachable, approachable, and hears the Lord in her humble plea. May we listen for the Lord in the words of others. May we recognize that the Lord will use the counsel and perspective of those around us to help us hear His voice and will.