Why does Saul not hear the message of God?
Once more David runs to the land of his old enemy the Philistines in order to escape from Saul. Achish, king of Gath, protects David, his family, and his men, even giving them the village of Ziklag. David in return fought against the enemies of Achish. Inevitably, the Philistines attack Israel and Saul, taking David and his forces to fight alongside them.
Saul, terrified at the sight of the Philistine army, urgently wants to hear a word from the Lord, but the Lord will not answer him. Why not? Is God a faithless, unreliable God? No. His mercy endures forever. Saul gets no reply from God because Saul will not do what it takes to listen. He will not repent, humble himself, and obey.
But Saul is so desperate to have God on his side (but on Saul’s own terms) that he does the unthinkable. Violating the Lord’s own law which Saul himself had previously enforced, Saul goes to a medium and has her call up the spirit of Samuel from the dead. Samuel’s news for Saul is not good. God has become Saul’s enemy, taken the kingdom from him, and given defeat to Israel in the next day’s battle. What’s more, Saul and his sons will be dead like Samuel the next day.
Saul faints at the news but is revived by the meal prepared for him by the medium. This proves to be his last meal, like that of a condemned prisoner. He leaves that place and goes to meet his just punishment.
God who speaks, may we hear your voice and not in desperation listen to other voices.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.