Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Today's passage:  I Samuel 28
      I am inclined to cry out, like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, "I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks."
      There is so much to learn and absorb from this chapter.  The Philistines are at it again.  They are camping along the hillside across the valley from Israel, ready for war.  Saul is fearful, perhaps because David is now on the side of the Philistines.  Now, he isn't really, but that is what Achish, the Philistine king believes.  He has been harboring David for over a year, so he expects David to fight for them.  David has no intention of doing this, but leads Achish to believe it.  So Saul feels as if he has lost the battle (his best warrior fighting with the enemy) and Achish feels as if he has won.  Saul prays to God, a novel approach for him, and is disconcerted when God doesn't answer.  God would have answered if Saul's heart had been right, but Saul had much to confess to be back in fellowship with Him.  If he had already been repentant, David would have been back at his side in his kingdom.  Instead of searching his heart and repenting of his sin, he seeks out a witch.  He had banished those involved with the occult to leave the land at some point in his reign.  I am guessing that he realized the evil spirit he wrestled with was a direct result from those types of people hanging around the palace.  This was a wise thing to do.  God commanded that his people stay away from any kind of sorcery, wizardry, occult activity. Now, frustrated that God has not answered the moment Saul calls on Him (we've seen his impatience before) he goes after the very people he drove away. 
Saul Sees Samuel While Visiting the Witch at En Dor--Taken from Treasures of the Bible
By Henry Davenport Northrop
International Publishing Company, 1894
     He is told about a woman in Endor who can communicate with the dead.  She is hesitant to help because she thinks this is a trap set by Saul to have her imprisoned or killed for violating the king's law.  Saul is disguised, so she does not realize it is him, until she calls up Samuel from the dead.  There is so much speculation about whether it is really Samuel or not.  Could it really be him?  It could.  God could have surprised them both, and allowed Samuel to reappear.  A demon could have taken on Samuel's form and appeared.  I do not claim to know which it was, but whatever happened, it revealed to the witch that the man who asked for this appearance was Saul, and she saw something she had never seen before.  Samuel (or Samuel's form) tells Saul that if God had departed from him, whatever gave him the notion that he could tell him anything better?  Instead, Samuel gives him even worse news.  He does well to be afraid, because he and his sons will be killed.  Saul is devastated by this news.  He stretches out on the floor, terrified, refusing to eat or even to move.  The witch, not wanting to be responsible for the king's death, especially in her abode, makes a meal for him, and begs him to eat.  He finally does to the witch's great relief.
     I still believe it could have been Samuel that appeared.  But there are a couple things that make me a little skeptical, because only the witch claims to have seen him.  When Saul is talking to the spirit, and I'm not clear if he is talking directly to Samuel or through the witch, it doesn't say that Saul sees Samuel, because he has to ask the witch what the man looks like.  There are many mediums today who claim they can talk with our loved ones who have passed on.  I am not disputing that there are those who can.  The devil is the god of this world and he can manipulate things.  The Bible also says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, so the devil must have many demons to do his bidding and take on many forms.  I also think there are a lot of phonies out there who make a lot of money by telling people what they want to hear.  They have perfected the art of the scam.  I mean, this witch tells Saul she sees an old man in a cloak.  That automatically makes this apparition Samuel?  Is she deceiving Saul?  I don't know.  What I do know is we are inundated with occultist books, shows, music, culture.  It is everywhere.  I find it best to stay away from all of it.  What seems harmless, is Satan's way of sugarcoating things to make it palatable so he can lure us into something more.  Especially because I have young children who have not accepted Christ yet, I do not want them to be subjected to any spirits that are not from God.  I do not want to open my door to Satan in even the slightest way.  This may seem like an extreme position, and maybe it is, but I just don't feel like I can be too careful in this area.  Vampires, witches, goblins, sorcerers, wizards, there are dozens of shows and games that promote these things.  Are they wrong?  They are wrong for my family.  I am not going to pretend to give people a list of what they should or should not participate in.  The Bible is very clear that we should not consult with fortunetellers and palmreaders.  What Saul did was in absolute violation of God's laws.  We shouldn't participate in seances and witch's spells.  So should we watch or listen or read things that have them?  Again, that is for each person to decide on their own.  I want to stay as far away from those things as possible.  Just recently, I upset my son with not allowing him to play an on-line computer game he thought was really fun.  I thought it was just ninja battles, but when taking a closer look, I found it was each participant playing a power card, matching elements against each other.  Now, was this just like a game of rock, paper, scissors where you try to outwit the other player by throwing down the right signal?  Maybe.  But for me, they looked too much like tarot cards.  Am I being extreme?  I mean, I can't shelter my kids from everything.  This is true.  But I have young souls to look after, and I have to answer to God for that.  What may be extreme is my way of trying to keep my boys from following after anything that might blind their eyes to the truth of God's Word.  I explained to my son why I didn't want him to play the game, he understood.  Does that mean he will always understand?  Maybe not.  I try to strike the right balance.  I don't forbid him to play the computer altogether.  He knows that just like there are certain TV shows he is not allowed to watch (there are tons of shows he can) there are certain games he will not be allowed to play.  There will also be certain books I will not allow him to read.  I know, I know, I can hear people saying it.  He will just do those things on the sly or when he is old enough to leave my house.  I can't be responsible for what he does when he leaves.  I have tried to teach him the why of what he can or cannot do and what he does when he is on his own is his choice.  I don't know if I am right.  I am not promoting book burning or unplugging the TV.  I am just trying to be as watchful as I can over the precious souls God has given for me to raise.  I am afraid of all that is out there for their ears and eyes, because "I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks."

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