Part 4 of “Saul: The Story of a Man who Forgot His Work’s Purpose!”
Pastor Jerry Ingalls
September 10, 2017
King Saul’s story has tragically moved from humility to pride and we all know that pride comes before the fall. His final decade of leadership is marked by an ever-increasing madness as God gives Saul over to his own choices to make work about himself and his own profit and power, rather than about fulfilling God’s purposes. Saul misses out on the very best of what God had intended for him and through him. Last week we saw the tipping point of Saul’s disobedience where God compared his sin to witchcraft and divination, and at this final and lowest moment, Saul’s sin literally is witchcraft and divination. Saul made a complete 180 degree turn away from God to the dark powers. He stopped hating what God hated and looked to unlawful forbidden things to find direction for his life.
Here is the life lesson from this last chapter of King Saul’s story: When you lose God’s purpose for your work, your work twists!
First Samuel 28 captures this larger truth as Saul’s complete loss of God’s purpose for his work is spun out of control as God gave him over to the twisting of his work and Satan seized the moment. This is one of most eerie and unique stories in the Bible. In fact, this story is a one of a kind in the Bible! This story involves 4 key players: a very lost King Saul, a very dead Prophet Samuel, a very scared Medium (the Witch of Endor), and the Sovereign God.
As we prepare to listen to this story, please remember that one of the ways we best learn from a story is by putting ourselves in the shoes of the different characters of the story. As you listen to Witch of Endor story from First Samuel 28 (starting in verse 1), try to put yourself in each of their shoes. Some of these shoes you don’t want to put on, I know, but listen with those ears. It is important that we read outloud this story from the Bible.
Read First Samuel 28:1-19.
Let me unpack this story for you now that you have heard it:
- King Saul violates God’s laws (and his own laws over the land) and goes to a medium to talk to the very dead prophet Samuel. The Bible (OT and NT) strictly forbids witchcraft, mediums, necromancers, and any participation with demonic spirits. The verses are numerous and explicitly clear.
- Saul swears by God’s name to not punish the medium for channeling. He invokes God’s name to give permission for her to do something that violates God’s law; that is blasphemous and no person (king, priest, spouse, parent, prophet, or pastor) has permission to give another person permission to violate God’s laws.
- When Samuel does communicate to Saul through the veil of death, it is with a sobering message that God has given him and Israel over to their own disobedience. This is a unique story in that it is the only time in the Bible that God allows a dead person to communicate to the living through the chasm between death and life. God allows this in this unique moment for the purpose of proclaiming Saul’s judgment, and he dies the next day. The NT is very clear that upon death you face judgment (Heaven or Hell) and Jesus is very clear in that once you are dead there is no coming back to talk to the living.
- Do you know who the most surprised person in the room is when Samuel appears? The medium! Why? Because such people are either complete frauds or they are used to speaking to what is commonly called a “familiar” spirit. The Bible is very clear that mediums and necromancers are strictly forbidden for God’s people because they are dabbling with evil spirits, demons. To dabble with the occult, witchcraft, Spiritism, necromancers, psychics, and mediums or their tools such as Ouija Boards or their modes of communication such as horoscopes, palm readings, etc. is to open yourself for demon attacks and if you are not saved and sealed for demon possession. To not see a concern with such activity should be enough to raise the alarm.
- Saul’s death is foretold and is remembered for his violation of God’s commandments. Though this is not the only time he disobeyed God’s commandments, this surely is the worst of his offenses. Let us remember that dabbling in witchcraft and occult activities, regardless of how benign it may seem to you and your friends (and our culture at large), is strictly forbidden by God. Why? Because it is opening ourselves to malevolent creatures whose desire is do nothing less than to kill, steal, and destroy you and all that you love. That grieves God’s heart; the work of your life is to bring glory to God; not dabble in that which defames Him and destroys you!
When you lose God’s purpose for your work, your work twists!
This story aligns with the New Testament principle from Romans 1 of how God gives people over to their own twisted desires. This is both a passive and active process! Let me explain. The passive process is called the passive wrath of God when God allows us to experience the consequences of our own twisted motives. He lifts His hedge of protection and allows us to experience what life apart from Him would be like. If that is not enough, when our work twists, it is not just us who is doing the twisting, there is an active force that is seeking to twist the work of God in us. When we lose God’s purpose for our work, Satan seizes that as a foothold for greater demonic activity in our lives. Combine this active opposition with God’s passive wrath (the removal of the hedge of protection that we once enjoyed) and Satan’s efforts take off in us. We spin out of control.
- If you work for money and possessions, then you will soon find that what you own owns you! And Satan twists it even more…until you are out of control!
- If you work for self-esteem, then you will be given over to a life of insecurity of other people’s opinions of you. And Satan twists it even more…until you are out of control!
- If you work to have control in your life, then will be given over to the anxiety your need to control demands. And Satan twists it even more…until you are out of control!
The Bible says that to prevent the fall from humility to pride, we must not only repent of our sin, but we must resist the devil’s work! Listen to James 4:6-7, “‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Last week, Carole Hiatt did an amazing job sharing with us how the Holy Spirit must be the dominant influence over our lives. We cannot live out of flesh or soul; we have new life through the Spirit and when we live out of the Spirit we are submitting our lives to God. The submission process of the flesh and soul to the Spirit is called repentance. It is an active ongoing process! Repentance returns us back into the life of the Spirit; this is a gift of grace to a believer! It is the ability to come home after wondering off… But there is a second part of the process to living in victory and that is called Spiritual Warfare! We must not only repent, but we must resist!
How do we resist Satan in our lives? How do we keep our lives under the control of the Spirit when there is an active enemy opposing this work of God in us?
The Bible calls this putting on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6.
Testimony & Sharing from Tiffany Lee about putting on the Armor of God.
(Go to the audio or video to hear Tiffany’s testimony.)