04/03/16 The Lord Did Not Listen

READING: 1 Samuel 28-31

Chapter 28 of 1 Samuel is strange indeed. King Saul seeks the assistance of a medium — a forbidden role among the Hebrews — to help him conjure up the spirit of the dead prophet, Samuel, for assistance. To the medium’s surprise, Samuel shows up. Interpreters have debated about whether Samuel’s spirit or a demon disguised as Samuel showed up, but nothing in the story indicates that this was a deceiving spirit. Somehow, the medium was indeed able (though likely to her great surprise) to contact the dead. We must not assume from this single story in the Bible that occultists today can do the same, but it certainly appears that the witch at Endor was able to do what Saul asked in this case. 

What grabs my attention, though, about this story is not the debatable aspects of Samuel’s ghost. What captures me is why Saul turned in that direction in the first place. Twice in this chapter, we read these types of words: “He [Saul] inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets” (1 Sam 28:5); Saul later said, “He [God] no longer answers me, either by prophets or dreams. So I have called on you [Samuel] to tell me what to do” (1 Sam 28:15). When Saul received no answer from God, he sought help elsewhere.

Clearly, our situation is not the same as Saul’s — but I do think we often make hasty, wrong choices when it seems like the Lord is not listening to our prayers. Maybe we don’t turn to mediums, but sometimes we do seek advice from the wrong people (like going only to those people we think will tell us what we want to hear). At other times, we simply rely on ourselves when we need to wait for God’s direction. Like Saul when he faced a battle that frightened him, we let immediate fear keep us from just trusting God and waiting on Him for guidance. 

Most of the time, our impatience when God is silent gets us into trouble. 

ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:

  • Remember a time when you acted too quickly because you thought God wasn’t listening. 
  • Think about an area of your life where God seems to be quiet — and you just have to wait. Pray for the faith to be patient. 

PRAYER: “God, I don’t ever want to live in such a way that You choose not to hear me. Make me obedient, and then make me patient.”    



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